How To Maximize Your A/C Efficiency

Posted Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

ways to maximize your A/C's efficiency and save money on your energy bill

Michigan is HOT! With temperatures reaching the upper 90s and humidity still at Spring levels, we’re all reaching for the thermostat and cranking up the A/C. While nobody’s missing those sub-zero winter temperatures, we all need a bit of relief from the heat outside – without emptying our wallets! With that in mind, here are a few ways to maximize your A/C efficiency this summer and save money on your energy bill.

Remove the hot air first
Especially when you’re cooking, venting the hot air from your home will keep your air conditioner from working overtime to cool things down. Before turning on your A/C, open a few windows and position fans so they blow air out rather than in. That way, the hot air starts flowing out before the cooled air begins filtering into your home.

Pay attention to your supply vents
One of the biggest blockages of air flow happens to be one of the biggest things in your home: your sofa! Furniture that sits on top of or in front of air vents blocks cool air from circulating freely. Which would you rather cool down: The back of a recliner or your home’s air? Same with anything conductive that sits in front of air vents: Laundry, books, kids’ toys, etc. Keep your vents clear!

Change your A/C filter
Your A/C filter is your first line of defense against dust and debris from circulating around your home’s air and ductwork. Over time, however, it will get clogged up with accumulated dirt, which will restrict airflow. Change your filter every 3 months to keep your air flowing freely and your air conditioner happy.

Close the blinds
While we all love natural light, it has the unfortunate side effect of bringing even more heat into your home on an already hot day. Keeping the blinds closed will help keep some of that heat out, and drawing the curtains will provide another layer of insulation between the cool air of your home and the hot air outside!

Use your dehumidifier
Let’s face it, Michigan is a humid state! It’s safe to say that 90 degrees in Michigan feels much more oppressive than 90 degrees in a drier place (like Arizona, for instance), and it’s due to all the moisture in the air. If you keep the excess water out of your home’s air, you can set the thermostat higher and it will still feel like a lower temperature! Plus, your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard to keep you feeling the same level of cool.

Check your ductwork
Your ductwork is the system that your conditioned air uses to travel throughout your home, and if there’s something blocking the air’s passage or absorbing the cold air, then it’s not functioning efficiently! In our 45+ years of air duct cleaning, we’ve seen all kinds of things blocking up air ducts: toys, plastic bags, bird nests, and even the occasional dead varmint! Needless to say, a blocked duct isn’t pushing cold air through into your home.
The most common thing found in air ducts, however, is dust, and it will absolutely cripple your air conditioner’s efficiency. Dust, debris, and pet hair will soak up cool air on a hot day, meaning you’re paying extra to cool down all the junk inside your ducts instead of your home! Dirty air ducts can cost you hundreds in a single summer in additional energy costs!

Those are just a few ways to maximize your A/C efficiency. Follow these tips to help “chill” your energy bill and stay frosty this summer!

Modernistic has been keeping Michigan cool with expert air duct cleaning for over 45 years! Contact us today if you want to maximize your A/C efficiency and stay comfortable this summer


Tips for Flood Proofing Your Basement

Posted Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

There are many reasons your basement could end up looking like a bowl of soup (especially during Michigan’s rainy season). But don’t panic! There are definitely a few easy things you can do proactively to prevent your basement from flooding; a few simple tips for flood proofing your basement before you’ve got a wet mess on your hands and the lower section of your house looks like grandma’s minestrone!    

Where Did That Water Come From!?

A weak foundation is more often than not one of the primary causes of water finding its way into your basement. We know when people hear “Foundation Issues”, many homeowners want to throw your hands up in the air and start looking for a new home. You should have a foundation specialist out to your home to work on any cracks or slivers in the concrete that might let in water.

Professionals aside, there are safeguards you can take on your own to help to protect your basement. One of the easiest things you can address on your own is the framing around windows at the main level. These windows can often be the main cause of rain water leaking in to the basement. With a quick trip to the hardware store, you can pick up some basic caulking to apply to any slight openings or gaps to limit the odds of any flooding.

One fail safe way to help protect your basement from troublesome basement windows is to seal them completely. Many basements will have small windows resting just above ground level, which don’t really provide much of a view or light to begin with. In these cases you may want to seal these windows from the outside. Some basic masonry work should do the trick, covering them with properly-sealed bricks over the window openings.

As always, if you don’t feel comfortable doing any of these projects yourself, consult a professional!

Just In Case

Sump pump, sump pump, sump pump…. It’s so much fun to say! Really we could say it over and over again and still not have said it enough. Chances are good you already have a sump pump in your basement. If not, you should look into getting one; with all our rivers, lakes, and wetlands, every home in Michigan should probably have a sump pump! Even if you already have one, you’re not quite done yet. Since it’s out of sight and out of mind, it’s easy to forget about your sump pump. But you should be checking up on it at least every 3-6 months to make sure it is operating in tip top shape – otherwise, you may walk downstairs to do some laundry and discover a lot more may need cleaning!

Backup and Detection

Having backup plans are a good thing for anyone. Basement floods, particularly, would be a perfect thing for which to have a backup plan. We’ve already gone over sump pumps, but what about a back up for your sump pump? Having a second battery-powered sump pump backup should be required for anyone living in a flood zone, or if you frequently suffer power outages. A failed sump pump due to a power outage is another incredibly common issue that can make you wish water didn’t exist. Installing a backup for your sump pump can be crucial to avoiding a major financial burden.

Another thing you can do to help to detect the moment you might have a problem on your hands is to purchase a smart water leak detector for your home. There are many products on the market now that can alert you to water leaks in your home so you can take action before things get too crazy. Many of these new devices even have apps that can connect to the detector and alert you wherever you are on your smartphone.

Armed with these simple tips for flood proofing your basement, you can be confident that you’ve done everything you can to prevent your basement from ending up like the one in the picture at the top of this article. While this isn’t an exhaustive list, you should be much better prepared for avoiding the most common basement flooding problems.

It’s impossible to cover every flooding scenario of course, so if you ever do have a flood in your home, just know that the water damage experts at Modernistic are just a phone call away! 24/7/365, we’ll be there for your basement flooding emergencies.


Simple & Quick Ways To Limit Construction Dust

Posted Thursday, May 31st, 2018

how to limit construction dust in your home after remodeling

Finishing a home renovation project is one of the most satisfying moments of a homeowner’s life. But like my father always said, “the job isn’t done until you’ve cleaned up after yourself”. If you’ve ever worked with drywall or wood, then you know that’s no easy task! Drywall dust and sawdust seem to get everywhere, even in rooms you weren’t working. If the proper steps aren’t taken to limit construction dust prior to your renovations, you can end up with extensive labor to get your house looking new.

Building a new home or renovating your current one can certainly take lots of work and time but even after the work itself there’s always lots of cleanup. So how do you limit the amount of dust and debris traveling through your home?

Cover It Up

When renovating your current home the first step is to prepare each room where work is being done. Remove what you can from the room and anything that is too heavy to move cover with plastic to prevent it from being covered with dust. Cover each doorway into the area with plastic, cut a slit down the plastic, and install a zipper along the cut for easy access that contains any debris.

Secure Your Vents

Any kind of construction, especially when installing or removing drywall, can send tiny particulates into the air that your duct system will keep recirculating through your home. You can limit construction dust like this by making sure all the vents in the room you are working are closed. Simply cut an appropriate length of plastic and tape it around the vents (use painter’s tape for easy removal). This way, none of the dust gets sucked into your HVAC system and distributed in other areas of your home.

One Final Clean

Even if you follow all these steps, once the renovations are complete there will undoubtedly still be construction dust throughout your home. After removing the plastic coverings from your newly remodeled room, make sure to wipe down all horizontal surfaces. Take your time and look around; there are plenty of surfaces so it’s easy to miss some, like the tops of doorways.

Don’t Forget The HVAC System!

After that is done you will want to replace your furnace filter and have your ductwork professionally cleaned to remove any particulate from your air. Otherwise dust and debris can continue to circulate through your home, causing you to dust more often than ever before.

Renovating your home can be a stressful process but with just a little care to limit construction dust before and after, you can make it a much easier task.

Modernistic has been helping Michigan DIY-ers clean up after renovation projects for over 45 years! If you have questions about air duct cleaning, call us or visit our air duct cleaning page to learn more.


4 Steps To Make Your HVAC System More Efficient

Posted Friday, May 25th, 2018

Michigan is a very fickle state, weather-wise. Bitterly cold winters give way to hot, humid summers (sometimes within the same week!), and all the while we’re spending a small fortune on heating and cooling our homes. Since the weather isn’t going anywhere, here are a few easy steps to make your HVAC system more efficient and save you money on your energy bills.

Change The Furnace Filter

The first (and easiest) steps you can do to make your HVAC system run more efficiently is to routinely change the furnace filter.

The primary job of the filter is to catch dust, dander, allergens, and other airborne pollutants and keep them from circulating throughout your home or business. If your furnace filter gets clogged up with all these contaminants, it will have to work harder and run longer to maintain a steady temperature.

It’s recommended that you change your furnace filter every 2-3 months but this could vary depending on factors like the size of the filter or how many pets you have in your home.

Seal Your Seams

The second step to help make your HVAC system more efficient is to make sure all the seams along your air ducts are sealed with mastic sealant or metal tape.

A report from energystar.com stats that approximately 20-30% of air that moves through a typical duct system is lost due to leaks, holes, or poorly connected ducts.

It goes without saying that if your ductwork is leaky, your furnace isn’t able to properly distribute conditioned air. This means it is less efficient and has to run longer in order to maintain a steady temperature.

A properly sealed duct system can make your HVAC system run more efficiently and your home or business more comfortable – not to mention your wallet!

Use A Programmable Thermostat

Along with the first two steps, installing a programmable thermostat is another way you can help make your HVAC system more efficient.

On average, installing a programmable thermostat can save your up to 15% on your energy bill.

That means if you pay $250 a month on electricity, you will save $450 annually! That’s more than enough to offset the cost of purchasing a new thermostat.

Swapping out an old thermostat for a programmable one is a relatively easy DIY project, and well worth it.

Once you program in your custom schedule, your furnace will run only when you need it to, keeping your energy bill lower, reducing wear and tear, and extending the life of your system.

Clean Your Air Ducts

The last step to making your HVAC system more efficient is to have your air ducts professionally cleaned.

Over time, dust and dirt can build up on the sides of your air ducts, decreasing air flow to your vents and making it harder for your furnace to pull the necessary air through the air duct system to properly heat/cool your home or business.

Air duct cleaning from a NADCA-certified professional will eliminate any buildup in your air ducts, increasing air flow to your furnace, and allowing it to run much more efficiently.

As an added benefit, air duct cleaning will also help indoor air quality by reducing dust, dander, and other particulate, which, according to the EPA, can be 2 to 5 time higher than outdoor air! Keeping your HVAC system clean and clear of dust and debris will go a long way toward making your furnace and air conditioner run as efficiently as possible, saving you money and extending the usable life of your system.

Modernistic knows that a clean HVAC system is a happy HVAC system. That’s why we use a truck-mounted push-pull vacuum system – designed and engineered to be the most thorough and most powerful air duct cleaning possible. If you want the pros to help your furnace run more efficiently, call or click today!     


What’s the Big Deal With LED Bulbs?

Posted Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

What Makes LED Bulbs Better?

It’s a simple fact: LED lights can save you money on your electric bill. But why? What makes LED bulbs better than the ones you already have in your home?

Not all lights are created equal. You may need to ditch the old incandescent bulbs and upgrade to the future to help get the best lighting in every room of your home.

Enter the LED bulb.

Unlike its ugly brother the incandescent bulb, which produces light by heating up a filament until it is white hot, a LED, or light emitting diode, bulb creates light by sending electricity through a microchip that illuminates a set of small lights.

Enough of the science talk though, let’s get real here. LED light bulbs will save you money.

How Do LED Bulbs Save Money?

Since these bulbs are designed to light up your home more efficiently, LED bulbs use almost 75% less energy than a standard incandescent bulb, and as an added bonus, they typically last 25 times longer.

That means you get to save money on your energy bill and not replace that pain-in-the-butt chandelier light as often.

If it’s too hard to believe just check out this chart from energy.gov.

But don’t worry, you still get the same brightness out of your fancy new LEDs that you would from your old incandescents. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission requires all LED manufacturers to put information like lumens(brightness), energy cost, and life on all packaging so you can make sure you’re selecting the right bulb for your home’s needs.

It’s all wrapped up for you in a nice shiny (pun intended) package.

The Latest Tech

And finally for all you techies out there, many manufacturers are creating LED bulbs that you can control through mobile devices like your smartphone or tablet.

This means the next time when your kids, who like to use your home as the world’s light source, forget to turn off the lights, you can do it from the comfort of your favorite chair. Necessary? Not really. Awesomely high tech? You bet!

Before you show off your new LED lighting to all your family and friends, make sure your home is in tip-top shape. Let your carpet and upholstery shine by scheduling thorough cleaning from the professionals at Modernistic, Michigan’s #1 trusted choice for over 45 years!