4 Things That Will Instantly Improve A/C Performance

Learn how to save you money and energy in both the short and long-term by being proactive with air conditioning maintenance. By following these 4 easy steps, you’ll be able to improve a/c performance, increase comfort, and save money on your utility bills… Promise!

A/C performance tips

How to Improve A/C Performance

1. Change Your Air Conditioner Filter

Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on when to change your air conditioner filter to keep it clean and running smoothly. If gone unchanged, the filter builds up excess dirt and grime, which reduces airflow, slows your unit down, and worsens indoor air quality. The harder it has to work, the shorter its lifespan is. How often you should change your filter depends on the type of filter you have, which is why you should follow the manufacture’s guidelines. However, checking your filter every 30 days a good routine to adopt.

Tips: Write the date of your filter change on the filter itself so you know exactly how long it has been since its last replacement. Set calendar and phone reminders on the first of the month to check your air filter. Pull out the filter and if no light can shine through it, it needs to be replaced.

Watch our Boulden Brothers Answer Man video to find out about the different types of a/c filters and which one is right for you:

2. Use Shade Strategically

Can shading your outdoor heat pump (air conditioner) help you save energy and improve a/c performance? Short answer, yes! Just be careful that you are not putting any unnecessary strain on your unit by restricting airflow. Barriers, bushes, and other plants should be trimmed and kept at least 24 inches away from the unit. If you have a dog, consider blocking your a/c unit with some kind of barrier since dog urine is highly acidic and will eat away your air conditioner.

Tips: When strategically planning out how to shade your a/c unit, the most important thing to remember is to allow your condensing unit enough room to breathe (24 inches all the way around). Don’t do what this homeowner did:

improve a/c performance by shading strategically

Source: energyvanguard.com

Although the unit has proper airflow now, in just a short time, those bushes will begin to encroach on the unit, causing big problems down the road.

Instead, you can try using a trellis, fence, and plants to both mask and shade your outdoor heat pump/air conditioner.

improve a/c performance by hiding outdoor heat pump

Source: blog.drummondhouseplans.com

3. Keep Your Vents and Registers Open and Clear

It’s tempting to hide unattractive vents in your home, but your air conditioner has to work harder when the vents aren’t clear, resulting in higher electricity bills. You may have also heard the idea that if you close off vents in little-used rooms, you can save money on your heating and cooling bill. This is a false belief that is causing many homeowner’s HVAC systems to underperform.

Your HVAC system, including all the ductwork, had been specifically designed for your home. No matter how many vents and registers are open or closed, the same amount of warm or cold air will be pushed through your air ducts. By blocking or closing off vents, you are increasing the amount of pressure in your system, which can cause system breakdowns as well as force air leaks in your ductwork.

Tips: Keep all furniture, curtains, and any other other items away from the vents for better efficiency. Go around your home and make sure that all vents and registers are fully open.

don't close or cover hvac a/c vents and registers

Source: energyvanguard.com

4. Clean Your A/C Condenser

Over time, dirt, debris, twigs, lawn clippings, and other junk gets stuck around your a/c condenser. To improve a/c performance, you should clean your condenser unit twice a year at least. Make sure that before you do anything, turn off power to your unit at the breaker/fuse box. Next, remove any branches and other large objects. Then, hose down the outside of the unit. Watch this video to learn how to clean your a/c condenser:

Tips: Instead of using a flathead screwdriver to smooth out your a/c condenser fins, we recommend purchasing a quality fin comb. The best way to clean and maintain your a/c condenser is to have it professionally cleaned. Boulden Brothers will use a safe cleaning solution made especially for HVAC equipment and straighten out all of your condenser fins in addition to giving your whole system and overall tune-up.

Professional Air Conditioning Maintenance

Call B0ulden Brothers for a professional air conditioning tune-up where we will conduct a thorough cleaning and maintenance of your a/c condenser. Any potential problems will be detected and fixed. Choose Boulden Brothers Heating and Air Conditioning for all of your Wilmington & Dover area HVAC needs for superior customer service.

Watch this video for more A/C Performance Tips:

For more information on maintaining your air conditioner, propane, plumbing, or electrical systems visit Boulden Brothers online or call us at (302) 368-3848.

All of our home services are backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

See more answers to common heating and air conditioning questions in our answer man video library.

Have a question you’d like Dan the Answer Man to answer? Send it to us right here.

Don’t forget to keep in touch with us through our websiteFacebook, Twitter, and Google+.

How to Deal With Annoying Clogs

Drain clogs are a nuisance that no homeowner wants to deal with. Once they occur, it’s common for people to make the mistake of using a chemical drain cleaner even if it can potentially make the problem worse. Here’s why you should think twice before using a chemical cleaner, along with some better options.

One of the biggest concerns about using a chemical drain cleaner is the damage that it’s causing by sitting in the pipe. The extremely acidic chemicals in drain cleaners are meant to eat right through the obstruction. The problem is, these chemicals are also eating through the pipe and causing damage prior to being flushed out. It doesn’t end there—there’s a detrimental environmental impact as well. After the drain cleaner leaves the pipe, it’s either being sent to your municipal water treatment facility or right into your drain field.

We’re also extremely concerned for the safety of our plumbers. They need to be made aware of any dangerous chemical cleaners that might have been put into the drain. Our plumbers will have to be properly protected from the chemicals before doing any work on the plumbing system.

Instead of using chemical drain cleaners, here are a few safer alternatives:

  • Plungers: You can use a plunger on sink or toilet drains to try and open them up. They create a vacuum seal that breaks up and/or removes the blockage.
  • Wet/dry vac: More powerful than a plunger, these can be used to get the material to come back up from the area. Make sure to follow all safety and usage instructions.
  • P-trap removal: For kitchen or bathroom sink drains, you can try to remove the P-trap (located under the sink). It’s likely the source of clogs in many cases. Be sure to place a bucket under the area because there will be some water that comes out during the removal process. Adjustable pliers make the job much easier. They are a handy way to push/pull the obstructing material.
  • Drain snakes: There are two different kinds of drain snakes: power snakes and manual snakes. The manual snake is a much safer option. Regardless of which kind you use, these tools need to be used very carefully. Again, always read all instructions and safety indications before using a drain snake.

You can determine the severity of the clog is by how isolated the problem is. If a single drain is obstructed while everything else in the home is working properly, that’s usually a good indication that flow to the street, septic tank, or drain field is unobstructed. When you have a problem that affects all the drains in the home, that’s usually a good indicator that there are either roots or some other material clogging the pipe that delivers all the waste out of the house.

Of course, you can always give Boulden Brothers a call to come over and address your clog no matter how large or small the issue is. The first thing we’re going to do is restore flow to the problem area. From there, we can start to diagnose the underlying cause. If the whole house isn’t draining properly, we’ll restore flow to the main sewer line as opposed to the individual area. Once we get the water out of the pipe, we’ll run a camera down so we can see what’s causing the obstruction.

We’ve seen some pretty interesting causes of clogs over the years, including stuffed animals, toys, shoes, and pieces of clothing. When we believe that there’s something that’s been flushed down the system, we’re never quite sure what’s going to come out.

In older homes, it’s often roots or the pipe itself that has collapsed. Pipes used to be made out of a clay material many decades ago. Unfortunately, the clay would gradually deteriorate over time causing the line to collapse. There were also many cases where metal piping was used, but they also tended to deteriorate inside of the ground. We’re now using PVC piping for everything thanks to its durability and reliability.

Remember, we’re always glad to make a visit to your home if you have a clog that’s giving you trouble. Just contact us online or give us a call today.

How to Beat the Heat | 7 Ways to Keep Your Cool This Summer

As the summer temperatures continue to climb, people are looking for any ways they can to save energy and beat the heat this summer. Here are some cooling tips you can do yourself to keep your energy bills down and your comfort up.

beat the heat

Did you know that you can save 20-50% on your energy bills by switching to a high-efficiency air conditioner and taking other actions to lower your home cooling costs?

7 DIY Tips to Beat the Heat

1. Use Shade to Cut Cooling Costs

About 40% of your home’s unwanted heat absorption comes through your windows (nrel.gov). When the sun is out, close all of your shades, drapes, and blinds. For added solar heat protection, consider purchasing solar screens for your windows, which claims to block up to 90% of the sun’s heat and glare.

Other shading devices and techniques include awnings, shutters, shrubbery, trees, and climbing vines. Check out this landscaping for shade guide by energy.gov for some low-tech, natural ways to save on your cooling costs. Remember, you have control over how much sun you allow into your home.

2. Use Thermostat Settings for Maximum A/C Savings

We recommend setting your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher while at home and about 85 degrees while away. We do not recommend turning off your air conditioner entirely since you will use more energy getting the temperature back down when you come back home. Also, lowering the thermostat to its lowest setting will not cool your home any faster. It will only cause your system to run for a longer period of time. If you forget to raise the temperature back up, you could be wasting a lot of money and energy, so just don’t do it at all!

A programmable thermostat will allow you to lower the temperature back to 78 degrees before you arrive so you don’t have to wait in the heat while your home cools down. Don’t forget to use ceiling fans and cold food and drink to help supplement the efforts of your air conditioner. By following these thermostat tips, you could lower your energy costs by about 15-25%.

3. Maintain Your Air Conditioner

  • Check and clean your outside heat pump’s evaporator coil.
  • If you notice bent coils, you can use a “fin comb” to straighten them out.
  • If you have a window unit, inspect the seal around it to keep the cool air in and hot air out.
  • Replace your air conditioner filter every 30 days or so. Set calendar and phone reminders so you don’t forget. This is probably the most important homeowner maintenance task you can do to keep you HVAC system running efficiently.
  • Having your outdoor heat pump in the shade can reduce your cooling costs by about 5-10%.
  • At least once a year, schedule professional HVAC maintenance. This can double the lifespan of your system and ensure that all your warranties remain in effect.

4. Seal Up Any Air Leaks

Go around your home with an incense stick or thing piece of toilet paper and inspect your home for air leaks.

Use weatherproof caulk and weatherstripping around your doors and windows where cracks and gaps are less than 1/4 inch. Use expandable foam spray for any gaps larger than this.

Use this home map from energy.gov to test your home for airtightness:

beat the heat tips

5. Take Cold Showers

Rather than showering in the morning, wait until the afternoon or night to take a cold shower when your body needs to cool down the most. This will also help reinvigorate you in the middle of a hot, energy-sucking day.

6. Use Energy-Saving Cooking Methods

Instead of using your oven, try using the microwave or toaster oven, or better yet, grill outdoors.

Try to cook hot meals at night or the early morning. You can cook things like pasta and potato salad and then stick them in the fridge for a nice, cool meal.

7. Schedule Professional Air Conditioning Maintenance Once a Year (at least)

You probably think it is completely normal to take your car or truck in for maintenance at least once a year, and the same goes for your HVAC system.

Scheduling professional air conditioning maintenance will ensure that your manufacturer’s warranty remains in effect.

Professional maintenance can also double the lifespan of your system and reduce cooling costs by up to 40%. Potential problems will be found and corrected before they become actual problems. Small repairs are made on the spot and free home cooling and efficiency advice is given during every visit.

Call Boulden Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning for professional HVAC maintenance you can trust.

For more tips to beat the heat, read our other blog articles on the topic:

Your complete satisfaction with our heating and air conditioning services is 100% guaranteed. Our on-time guarantee is the best in the country, and backed by heating and air technicians that are trained, skilled and ready to exceed your expectations and needs.

Give us a call at (302) 368-3848 for any of your home service needs — plumbing, electrical, HVAC, propane, and more! We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer any questions you might have.

If you want to know more about maintaining a safe and efficient home, follow us on websiteFacebookTwitter, and Google+.

Should You Get an Automatic Backup Generator?

Boulden Brothers Electric is concerned with providing homeowners peace of mind. That’s why we think it might good idea to install an automatic backup generator. Whenever there’s a power outage, a backup generator is able to kick in immediately and keep all the home’s important devices powered up.

We’ve observed more widespread adoption of backup generators in areas where the power grid is less reliable. If you live in a municipality or metropolitan area with relatively few power outages, generators probably aren’t even on your radar. If you’re in a rural area that has more frequent outages, then you’ll obviously be concerned about the options available to you.

The generators that we install for homeowners are operated with either propane or natural gas. They detect outages and provide power to the circuits that the homeowner has chosen. In other words, the appliances that the homeowner needs to stay powered (such as the refrigerator/freezer, well pump, sump pump, or security equipment) will continue to run after an outage occurs. Of course, If you want to run everything in your home without skipping a beat, it’s still possible. It’s just a little bit more complicated and expensive because it involves the installation of a larger generator.

Automatic backup generators are fundamentally different from the small mobile generators that most people are familiar with. Mobile generators are usually stored in the garage. Once they are needed, they are taken outside, plugged in, and started by pulling a cord similar to the one you’d find on a lawnmower. Our clients are usually uncomfortable with using these small generators because they have to be taken outside during the rain.

By contrast, automatic backup generators don’t need to be moved or started manually. Even if you’re not home when a power outage occurs, they’ll kick in without any user intervention. They also don’t require refueling or running an extension cord into an existing outlet. Automatic generators exercise themselves once a week, meaning that the unit will turn on and run for a short period just to make sure that it is working properly. If it has a problem while going through the test cycle, it will sound an alarm to let you know.

When was the last time a mobile generator sitting in the garage was serviced? Can you really be confident that it would work reliably if it was ever needed? That’s one of the main issues that an automatic backup generator doesn’t face. Homeowners don’t have to take the inconvenient step of starting up the generator periodically to make sure it still works.

In municipal areas, power outages are usually a minor inconvenience. You can probably still use your toilet, sink, or shower. In rural areas that rely on electric well pumps for water, a power outage means that you also lose access to water. Additionally, if you’re in an area that’s prone to flooding or you have a wet basement, power outages will mean that the sump pump stops functioning. Without a backup generator, simple outages can lead to a spiraling effect of problems.

We highly suggest looking into installing an automatic backup generator if your home relies on electricity for critical components. If you already have a Generac or Honeywell generator in your home that needs servicing, we’re here to help. Give us a call today to learn more about your options.

Air Conditioning FAQ| Home Cooling

FAQ for Air Conditioning

One of the most important things you should do as a homeowner is get to know your air conditioning system; learn what you can do to ensure its happiness and longevity; know what makes it tick. Your air conditioning system works tirelessly to provide you with cool air during the summer so that you can enjoy your time at home with friends and loved ones.

Because this system is so complex, you may have a lot of questions, and that’s okay, because we’re here to answer them! We’ve put together a list of Air Conditioning FAQs and provided answers that we have found most helpful to customers.

FAQs for Home Cooling

When should I replace my air conditioner?

With a proper installation and routine maintenance, your air conditioner should last anywhere from 12 to 15 years. But like everything else, the older it gets the less efficient it runs. An efficient system could be costing you more than you think. It requires more energy, thus hiking up your utility costs. Have a licensed professional inspect your system and give you a list of options.

If you have an older air conditioner, don’t worry just yet. It’s possible that your system works just fine and a replacement isn’t necessary yet. However, if your system is old, frequently breaks down, or doesn’t cool evenly, call the experts at Boulden Brothers. These are all telltale signs your air conditioner needs replacing. Read our “Should I Repair or Replace my HVAC?” blog for more information!

How do I know which HVAC company to choose?

When it comes to choosing an air conditioning company, the options are endless. But you don’t want to go with just any company. You’ll of courseNATECertified want to read testimonials, verify their certifications, make sure they’re bonded and insured, and check to see that their technicians are background checked and drug tested.

An additional certification you’ll want to look for is NATE (North American Technician Excellence). This certification is evidence that the company has proved their expertise in knowledge and skill and can be trusted to perform any work on your home.

Your home is one of your most prized possessions, right behind your loved ones, which is why you wouldn’t want to let just anyone in or around your home and family.

How can I make sure my air conditioner lives up to its lifespan?

If you want your air conditioner to last as long as possible, have a technician perform routine maintenance on it. In life, a lot of things require upkeep, such as your electrical and plumbing systems, your roof, and any vehicle – bicycle, boat, lawnmower, car, etc.; much like these other systems and vehicles, your air conditioner needs maintenance too.

Having a technician perform routine maintenance on your air conditioner will ensure that it operates at peak efficiency so that you aren’t left with a toasty home in the middle of July. At the end of the day, though, it is your choice. However, all manufactures state that regular maintenance is required if you want your warranties to stay in effect. Forgoing maintenance will reduce your system’s efficiency up to 50% and raise your energy consumption by up to 25%, so do what’s best for your air conditioner – schedule your tune-up!

Boulden Brothers has the expertise and knowledge to answer any HVAC questions you might have. You can submit your questions to our Boulden Brothers Answer Man here. We will post your answer and answer in a blog post or video. Whether your list is short and sweet or long and drawn out, we’d be more than happy to help you.

Our ultimate goal is to offer state-of-the-art customer service and to provide you with a completed project that will leave you satisfied and comfortable for years to come.

Visit us online or call us at 302-368-3848.

You can also keep in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+!

What Can Boulden Brothers Electric Do For You?

Boulden Brothers Electric doesn’t do new construction, commercial, or industrial electric work. Instead, we prefer to specialize in everything a homeowner would need. We handle household electrical issues ranging from bad breakers, new switches, dimmers, generators, ceiling fan installation, or even restoring power to portions of the house. Just like all the other technicians from Boulden Brothers, every electrical tech we send to your home adheres to our high standards.

The nature of the electrical work we do is different every day. Sometimes there’s a failed breaker or an outlet that’s not working. Maybe there are two or three rooms in the home where none of the electrical appliances are working. We occasionally visit homes that still have fuseboxes or older breaker panels that need to be upgraded. We also regularly install ceiling fans, surge protection systems, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors. If it’s something dealing with the home’s electrical system, we’ve probably done it.

Along the way, we’ve seen many homeowners who have decided to try to fix the problem on their own. People tend to be more confident with fixing plumbing problems because water isn’t seen as a threat. Of course, that couldn’t be further from the truth. If the homeowner was to make a mistake when trying to fix a plumbing problem, it could lead to major water damage. Electrical systems and HVAC are a different story when it comes to calling a professional. People are often scared to fix electrical issues or work on the furnace/air conditioner.

Household electrical work is extremely dangerous for unqualified people. It’s dealing with high voltage, so it requires extreme care and experience. While some homeowners might choose to install a light switch or ceiling fan on their own, they’d probably decide against working on components inside the electrical panel. This is probably a good idea since most people aren’t equipped to safely deal with a major electrical problem in their home.

That’s where the qualified technicians at Boulden Brothers come in. We’re equipped to correct the common self-installation problems that homeowners have to deal with. Unfortunately, it’s common for us to see homeowners who have tried to correct a small problem only to end up with a much larger problem in the end. Don’t make the same mistake—it’s probably a better idea to have a qualified professional fix your issue. It’ll end up saving a lot of time, money, and aggravation.

Aside from fixing existing electrical problems, Boulden Brothers are also here to protect your home’s appliances. One of the most critical components of your home’s electrical system is a whole-house surge protection system. People are already accustomed to surge protector strips that are plugged into electrical outlets and used to protect computers. (Many of these surge protector strips aren’t even capable of handling a large power surge.) The challenge homeowners now face is protecting all the appliances that have built-in electronics.

The washer and dryer, microwave, clock radio, furnace, and air conditioner are some examples of common household appliances that now have electronic components built into them. That’s in addition to TVs, DVD/Blu-Ray players, and other home theater equipment. All of these devices add up to thousands of dollars worth of electronics that need just as much protection as a computer.

When you think about surge protectors, you might imagine them protecting from a lighting strike that would wipe out all the home’s electronics. While extreme situations like that are possible, it’s much more common for homes to experience irregular power. It could be as minor as a glitch in the power delivery from your utility. The end result is a series of small power surges that are constantly affecting all the electronics in your home, potentially decreasing their lifespan. These small surges won’t immediately damage electronics, but they are likely to have a detrimental impact over time.

To protect your entire home’s electronics from both small and large power surges, give the Boulden Brothers a call. We have the experience and qualifications to fix your household electrical issues.

What you don’t know about air conditioner efficiency can cost you money

SEER is the measurement of air conditioner efficiency. But, what does that mean?

Get a grip on energy expenses. Learn what your system’s efficiency measurements means and options for saving money. Find out if more is better or merely more expensive in the Boulden Brothers Answer Man Video.

Proper Extension Cord Usage and Safety

We’ve all got extension cords put away somewhere in our home. Here are five simple rules you should be thinking about to make sure you’re using them in a safe manner.

1. Extension cords are for temporary use only

Extension cords are only intended to be used on a temporary basis. They are not supposed to be a replacement for a permanent power outlet.

  1. Check the cord’s rating

Extension cords have ratings for either indoor or outdoor use. Never use an extension cord that’s rated for indoor use only in an outdoor setting, no matter how short the duration. It could result in a major safety hazard.

There is also a maximum power load that the extension cord is capable of handling. Standard extension cords are fine for lights and other regular applications. Most newer decorative lights use LEDs instead of incandescent bulbs. LEDs use dramatically less energy, so they are less likely to overload the extension cord. If you’re using an extension cord for heavy duty items like large appliances or multiple high-power items, make sure that the cord has an appropriate rating.

3. Inspect the cord for damage

Extension cords are often put away for storage most of the year. (We see extension cord usage go up dramatically around the holiday season.) Once they’re brought out of storage, it’s really important that you take the time to inspect the cord visually to make sure there’s no damage. There should be no cracks, bare wires, or loose connections. If anything looks out of the ordinary, the cord should not be used. Of course, the extension cord should be checked thoroughly before it is plugged into a power outlet

4. Monitor the extension cord during use

If the extension cord begins to feel hot during usage, you should unplug it immediately. It should also be monitored occasionally to make sure that everything is working properly.

5. Prevent tripping hazards

Every year, there are around 4,000 injuries associated with extension cords. About half of those injuries are from fractures, lacerations, contusions, and sprains due to people tripping over the cord. In areas where people are walking by, you want to make sure that the cord is not a tripping hazard.

If you need electrical work done in your home or if you have any questions about electrical safety, contact us online or give us a call today. We’re committed to providing you with complete electrical service.

Keep Your Home Cool Without Blasting the A/C | HVAC Tips

We’re barely into the summer season and temperatures are already consistently in the 80s and still rising. And it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any cooler from here on out. When you’re not lounging by the pool or beach with a good book in hand, tubing on the lake, or floating down a lazy river, you look to your home as a cool and refreshing respite from the heat. Learn how to keep your home cool during the summer season with these 4 essential home cooling tips.

how to keep your home cool | air conditioning tips

When it comes to maintaining a pleasantly cool home, we know it doesn’t always come cheap. Your monthly utility costs for cooling depend on a variety of things, such as how efficient your A/C system is, if your home has any air leaks, the functionality of your air ducts, and a few other factors that we’ll mention here in a bit.

How to Keep Your Home Cool Without Blasting the A/C

1. Air Conditioning Tune-Up

If you haven’t already done so, schedule your annual HVAC tune-up. You could save heaps of money on frequent, costly repairs, while also ensuring the longevity of your system. Tune-ups are extremely affordable and worth every penny.

During a tune-up, a certified professional will inspect your entire HVAC system, including all the nooks and crannies to see that every component of your system functions correctly and efficiently. Should a technician discover a problem during the inspection, s/he should be able to fix the problem while on location. However, in the event that your system is in extremely poor condition and beyond repair, replacement options will be made available to you.

At Boulden Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning, our friendly and knowledgeable technicians will go over all of your options with you and offer upfront pricing. We’ll help you find the best solutions to keep your home cool based on your budget and property.

2. Maintain & Repair Your Ducts

Even if you purchase the highest rated A/C on the market in terms of efficiency, you won’t see a difference unless your ducts are properly maintained and kept in good condition.

To ensure that your air conditioner lives up to its efficiency rating, you’ll want to give your ducts some TLC by inspecting them for any loose parts and kinks in the flexduct. As an added measure, check to see that your ducts are allowing for proper airflow, sealing where necessary and repairing any found damages.

You can seal your air ducts yourself or hire a professional to do it for you. If you choose to DIY it, use mastic sealant or aluminum foil tape, NOT duct tape! Don’t forgo making a repair on your ducts as it will only lead to more costly repairs and an uncomfortable home.

3. Seal Air Leaks

Air leaks are sure to cause a warm and toasty home during summer, and that’s the last thing you want with grueling outdoor temperatures; not to mention, air leaks waste all the cool air in your home – and increase humidity levels. You’re literally throwing money out the window!

Put a stop to air leaks by sealing them as soon as possible. To seal those leaks off once and for all, weather strip and caulk around your windows and doors. Check your home for drafty spots, including baseboards, wiring and pipe penetrations, and vents, caulking where necessary.

4. Weatherize & Insulate Your Attic

Your attic is already sweltering and stuffy as it is, but a poorly insulated attic only makes it worse, as it is makes it extremely difficult to keep your home cool when it’s hot outside.

To properly weatherize your attic, seal and caulk any leaks, especially around vent and pipe penetrations, dropped soffits, and knee walls. Once this has been completed, inspect your insulation. If you have only 3-4 inches of insulation, you’ll want to add another R-38 to R-49 layer for protection. To give you an idea, that’s around a foot of fiberglass batt insulation.

Watch This Old House general contractor Tom Silva and host Kevin O’Connor demonstrate the proper way to insulate your attic:

If you have any further questions on improving your home’s energy efficiency or lowering your air conditioning bill, talk to the licensed, trained technicians at Boulden Brothers.

Visit us on our websiteFacebookTwitter, and Google+ or give us a call at (302) 368-3848. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer any questions you might have.

How to Prepare Your Propane Grill for Summer

Summer is so much more than the excessive heat it exudes; it ignites camaraderie through lounging by the pool or beach, fun days at the waterpark, tubing on the lake, and of course, cookouts. Few things compare to hanging out with your closest friends and family members on the back deck of your home while grilling burgers and hotdogs.

Prepare Propane Grill for Summer

But before you fire up your trusty propane grill, there are a few things you need to do to ensure it operates safely and at optimal level so that you aren’t left with a bunch of “hangry” people.

How to Get Your Propane Grill Ready for Summer

1. Inspect the Propane Tank

The first item on your checklist you’ll want to complete is an inspection of your propane tank. These tanks have a pretty long shelf life, but if your tank is older than 12 years or you notice that it’s beginning to rust, give the propane experts at Boulden Brothers a call, and we’ll fix you up with a new one.

During your inspection, check to see how much propane you have. If you don’t have a fuel gauge, this is a cool trick we found online to approximately determine how much propane is left in your tank:

Having to tell your friends and family that the cookout has reached a halt due to low propane is the last thing you want to do.

If you need your propane tank refilled, take it to one of our 6 convenient Delaware and Maryland propane refill stations:

  • 263 E. Chestnut Hill Road • Newark, DE
  • 1005 Elk Mills Road • Elkton MD
  • 1800 Foulk Road • Wilmington, DE
  • 540 Old Barksdale Road • Newark, DE
  • 199 Old Chestnut Road • Elkton, MD
  • 2007 Newport Gap Pike • Wilmington, DE

When you replace a propane tank with a new one, you only get 15 pounds of propane instead of the 20 pounds that they are able to hold. This cuts your cooking time about 25%, or 4 hours.

Refilling your propane tank is the economical and environmental choice.

2. Inspect the Gas Hoses and Other Parts

Once you have completed your inspection of the tank itself, take a good look at the hoses and other parts that connect the tank to the propane grill. Specifically, check to see that the hose isn’t frayed or worn. If these parts appear to be in poor condition, have them replaced before you decide to host a cookout. Otherwise, you could be putting yourself and your friends and family in danger. Don’t risk a hazard! Talk with an expert.

3. Clean the Grill

Only when you are 100% sure that your propane tank is in tip-top shape do you then begin the cleaning process. You’re now a few steps closer to having an unforgettable night with friends and family! Begin the process by cleaning off your cooking surfaces (cooking grates and burner covers) with warm water and a scouring pad, wire brush, or even aluminum foil, whatever suits your taste.

An often forgotten aspect of your propane grill is the carbonized residue that has built up on the inside of your grill over time. Did you know that this buildup of carbonized residue can actually affect the taste of your food? To ensure a tasty burger or hotdog, clean the inside of your grill as well. As an added measure of protection, loosely cover your food with aluminum foil when grilling.

You’re ready to grill! Now that your propane grill is ready to be fired up, invite your friends and family over for a night filled with good food and lots of laughter.

There are hundreds of propane grilling accidents every year! Don’t forget to go over some propane grilling safety tips that we’ve provided here.

Make Boulden Brothers your trusted propane provider. To keep your propane tank, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical system operating at peak efficiency, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for more useful information and handy tips!