The Home Safety Experts

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Summer Safety Tips
image 1. Heat

Sweating is the body’s natural way of cooling itself, but it may not be enough in extreme heat or long exposure.

What to do:

  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Seek air conditioning to keep cool.
  • Pace yourself.
  • Monitor people at high risk, including the elderly and young children.

Also, keep in mind that in some places, a hot day can turn paved roads into “streets of fire.” Metal surfaces, such as car doors or a shed in your yard, can also get extremely hot. Think twice before running outside to get your mail in bare feet. 

2. The Lawn Mower

Mowing the lawn is a weekly ritual for many in the spring and summer, but did you know that it sends nearly 80,000 Americans to the hospital each year? Researchers say the most common injuries are caused by debris, such as rocks and branches that are shot off by the mower’s spinning blades. With blades spinning at 160 mph inches away from our feet and hands, it’s crucial to use caution. 

Here are a few lawn-mowing safety tips from Bishai:

  • Wear goggles, long pants and closed-toe shoes with soles that offer good traction.
  • Clear the yard of debris before mowing.
  • Wear protective gloves when servicing the mower or changing blades.
  • Never service the mower while it is running.
  • Do not carry passengers on riding mowers or tow anyone behind the mower.
  • Do not allow children younger than 16 to operate a riding mower.
  • Store lawn mowers in an area that has minimal traffic and that children cannot access.

3. DIY Projects

Every year, emergency rooms treat 36,000 people for chain-saw injuries and thousands more for injuries caused by power hedge trimmers or weed trimmers. Any time you’re using a power tool, wear protective gear, head to toe. And don’t decide you’re going to build that Pinterest coffee table after a few too many glasses of wine. Power tools and booze don’t mix.

4. The Pool

While your pool may add value to your home and offer relief from the summer heat, it can also put your family at risk. Most accidental drownings of children ages 1 to 4 occur in residential swimming pools. 

The best way to keep your pool area safe is to install a fence to prevent anyone from falling in accidentally. Supervise your children at all times when they are in a pool.

Also be aware of any rivers, lakes or other bodies of water near your home, and exercise caution any time you are in or around them. Wear life jackets and know the weather forecast before you go swimming; a sudden change in weather can put you at risk.

7 Home Projects You Should Be Doing Now

Summer is a great time to work on your home and tackle those projects you have been putting off. Here’s a list of a few easy ideas to get you started. 

1. Clean the Gutters

If your home sits under a pollinating tree, then your gutters might have brown or yellow stains dripping down the sides from the spring’s pollination cycle. Even if it doesn’t, leaves may have accumulated, which not only clog gutters, but can cause stains as well. Now is a great time to scrub your gutters down because the weather is warm, and they’ll stay relatively clean until the fall.

2. Clean Exterior Lights

Have you ever cleaned out the dead bugs from your home’s exterior lights? Many people don’t think to do this, but those bugs add up. They not only look gross, but they also dim the quality of the light. This is an easy chore that will give your home a bright, clean look.

3. Fix Concrete Cracks

If you have a concrete driveway, patio, or path, you know that the winter months can be brutal on these areas. The constant freezing and melting, as well as the salt you throw down, all contribute to cracks. If left unattended, these cracks will get wider with each successive winter season. If the crack is small, buy concrete caulk. Simply clean out the crack (a pressure washer works great for this) and apply the caulk. If the crack is large, then you’ll need to apply concrete patch.

4. Caulk the Exterior

Caulk not only helps protect the exterior of your home from the elements, but it also helps keep it air-tight, which means lower monthly utility bills for you. Exterior caulking should be done once per year. And you sure don’t want to do this outdoor project during the dead of winter or during a wet fall or spring. Start caulking around windows and doors first. If your home has a wooden exterior, use clear caulk between any slats that are separating or open.

5. Clean and Seal Your Deck

Decks get dirty. Give your deck a good scrubbing with a stiff brush and soap or use a power-washer. Then, apply a fresh coat of sealer to protect the wood from rain and next winter’s snow. Not only will this keep your deck in good repair for years to come, but it looks great too!

6. Purchase Outdoor Furniture

August is actually the best time to buy outdoor furniture. Stock up now and save with all the sales. 

7. Add an Outdoor Fireplace

If you’ve been dreaming about summer nights in front of an outdoor fireplace, now’s the time to make it happen. Create a safe space in your yard for a fire pit; it shouldn’t be close to overhanging trees and should be at least 15 feet from the house. Dig into the ground to form a circle three feet in diameter. Pour sand in the bottom, and then surround it with a metal fire pit ring, which can be purchased inexpensively from any home improvement store. Once you’ve gathered some wood, you’re good to go!

Going on a Summer Vacation? Prep Your A/C First

If you’re planning a vacation this summer, there’s another task to add to your to-do list. Before leaving on a summer vacation, prep your air conditioner. A few easy steps could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in unexpected repair bills.

Air Conditioning Prep

Before leaving on vacation, a little bit of air conditioner maintenance will go a long way in protecting the system. Help ensure a healthy air conditioner include:

  • Cleaning or replacing the air filter before going on vacation.
  • Clearing away debris from around the outdoor condenser unit. Mow the grass, cut back overgrown tree branches or shrubs.
  • Arrange for a professional service visit. A qualified service technician will perform a thorough tune-up of the system to detect any potential problems. Give us a call to schedule your tune-up.

Preparing for Storms

While you’re away from home, it’s possible that severe weather could affect your home and air conditioner. When severe weather arrives, so does the possibility of a power outage or lightning strike that could cause damage to the air conditioning system. Preparing for this possibility could prevent the need for system replacement due to catastrophic damage.

  • If severe weather is likely during your absence from home, consider unplugging the air conditioning system.
  • Remove any items from the yard that could become airborne during high winds. These items could hit the outdoor unit and damage it.
  • Ask a trusted neighbor to check on the system after a severe weather event occurs.

Setting the Thermostat

In preparing for your travels, adjust the thermostat settings to account for the empty house. Raising the temperature up to 85 degrees or higher will reduce utility costs for the period of time that you’re away. The air conditioner will still turn on occasionally so that the home does not become unbearably hot. Keeping the thermostat at a higher temperature also helps protect your home from burglary, as it will still appear as if your family is at home as the air conditioner cycles.

Getting your home’s air conditioner ready for your summertime vacation not only reduces utility costs while you’re away, but it also helps to ensure that there will be no unpleasant surprises when you return from your trip. 

Milestone can handle all things HVAC related. That means all brands and all types of problems. We promise to come prepared and equipped to perform the work the same day! Visit us at Milestone Electric and give us a call today!

3 Common A/C Problems and What to Do About Them

          

Air conditioners seem to fail at the worst times. Usually, the reasons for failure are relatively easy to repair or can be prevented with regular maintenance. 

We’ve compiled a list of 3 of the most common A/C problems our customers face.

A/C Unit Won’t Turn On
Is your A/C just not coming on? First, check your thermostat to make sure it is working properly. A broken thermostat can easily disable an entire AC system.

If you are able to rule out the thermostat as the problem, check your home’s circuit breaker and the circuit breaker outside near the unit. If you suspect it may be the breaker, it doesn’t hurt to try to figure out what might have caused it to trip before you attempt to reset it. If you flip the breaker and it does trip again, don’t repeat the process. Call a professional to diagnose and repair the problem.

Another possible reason your A/C is out of commission? Your yard. Grass, leaves and debris can be easily sucked into the vents of your unit and cause damage. If you suspect this might have happened, you will need to call for service.

Noisy Air Conditioning Unit 
It’s normal for most air conditioning units to make some noises while they run, but if you are hearing vibration or loud rattling noises, something could definitely be wrong. Your A/C unit could have been installed incorrectly and should be checked by a professional.

Sometimes people call us about squealing sounds when their air conditioner is running. This may actually be coming from your air handler, the part of the ac system that regulates and directs air through the ductwork. Most air handlers have direct-drive motors, but older units may be belt-driven. The squealing noise sometimes occurs when the belt connecting the blower to the motor slips. If you suspect this is the case, shut your A/C off and call a professional. You will need a proper diagnosis and professional repairs. 

Won’t Stay Cool
If air is flowing through your vents, but it is not coming out cold, you might have a broken condenser coil. The condenser coil the part of the air conditioning unit that produces cold air and the condenser fan will run even if the condenser isn’t working correctly. Condenser failure can be caused by a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker. Sometimes, it isn’t the condenser at all and a lack of cool air can be due to low refrigerant. In either case it is best to contact a professional to help you diagnose the problem.

If the lack of cool air you are noticing has been gradual or appears to be fairly minimal, your air conditioner may not be the culprit. You could have leaks in your ductwork that allow conditioned air to escape. If your ducts are old, it might be a good idea to have them inspected and sealed.
 
Milestone can handle all things HVAC related. That means all brands and all types of problems. We promise to come prepared and equipped to perform the work the same day! Visit us at Milestone Electric and give us a call today!
10 Summer A/C Efficiency Tips

It’s officially summer here in DFW! With an increase in temperature comes an increase in your energy bill. Save money on your next bill with these energy-saving tips. 

  • Regularly change (or clean if reusable) HVAC filters every month during peak summer months. New filters usually only cost a few dollars. Dirty filters will ultimately lower system efficiency and result in lower indoor air quality.
  • Block direct heat gain from the sun shining through glass on the east and especially west sides of the facility. Depending on your facility, options such as “solar screens,” “solar films,” awnings, and trees can help keep facilities more cool. Over time, trees can attractively shade the facility, and help clean the air.
  • Use fans to maintain comfortable temperature, humidity and air movement, and save energy year round. Moving air can make a somewhat higher temperature and high humidity feel comfortable. Fans can help delay or reduce the need for air conditioning, and a temperature setting of only three to five degrees higher can feel as comfortable with fans. Each degree of higher temperature can save about 3 percent on cooling costs. 
  • Plug leaks with weather stripping and caulking. Caulking and weather stripping let you manage your ventilation, which is the deliberate controlled exchange of stuffy inside air for fresher outdoor air.
  • Just like a new car will decline in performance without regular maintenance, so will your A/C. Tune-up your air conditioning system with an annual maintenance check-up.
  • Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible in the summer. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.
  • Keep your house warmer than normal when you are away, and lower the thermostat setting to 78°F (26°C) only when you are at home and need cooling. A programmable thermostat can make it easy to set back your temperature.
  • Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and unnecessary expense.
  • Schedule regular maintenance for your cooling equipment. 
  • Avoid placing lamps or TV sets near your room air-conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary. 
  • Vacuum registers regularly to remove any dust buildup. Ensure that furniture and other objects are not blocking the airflow through your registers.

Milestone can handle all things HVAC related. All brands and all types. We always provide same-day service. That means no waiting around. We come prepared and equipped to perform the work the same day! Give us a call today! http://www.milestone-air.com

Summer A/C Maintenance

            

All air conditioning units require regular maintenance for the unit to function effectively and efficiently. Neglecting necessary maintenance ensures a steady decline in air conditioning performance while energy use steadily increases.

Air Conditioner Filters

The most important maintenance task that will ensure the efficiency of your air conditioner is to routinely replace or clean the filters. Clogged, dirty filters block normal airflow and reduce a system’s efficiency significantly. With normal airflow obstructed, air that bypasses the filter may carry dirt directly into the evaporator coil and impair the coil’s heat-absorbing capacity. Replacing a filter can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by up to 15%.

For central air conditioners, filters are generally located somewhere along the return duct’s length. Common filter locations are in walls, ceilings, furnaces, or in the air conditioner itself. Room air conditioners have a filter mounted in the grill that faces into the room.

Filters may need more frequent attention if the air conditioner is in constant use, is subjected to dusty conditions, or you have pets in the house.

Air Conditioner Coils

The air conditioner’s evaporator coil and condenser coil collect dirt over their months and years of service. A clean filter prevents the evaporator coil from getting dirty. Over time, the evaporator coil will still collect dirt. This dirt reduces airflow and insulates the coil, reducing its ability to absorb heat. To avoid this problem, check your evaporator coil every year and clean it as necessary.

Outdoor condenser coils can also become very dirty if the outdoor environment is dusty or if there is foliage nearby. You can easily see the condenser coil and notice if dirt is collecting on its fins.

You should minimize dirt and debris near the condenser unit. Your dryer vents, falling leaves,and lawn mower are all potential sources of dirt and debris. Cleaning the area around the coil, removing any debris and trimming foliage back at least 2 feet allows for adequate airflow around the condenser.

Window Seals for Room Air Conditioners

At the start of each cooling season, inspect the seal between the air conditioner and the window frame to ensure it makes contact with the unit’s metal case. Moisture can damage this seal, allowing cool air to escape from your house.

Hire a Professional

When your air conditioner needs more than regular maintenance, hire a professional service technician. Out technicians will find and fix problems in your air conditioning system.

Milestone can handle all things HVAC related. All brands and all types. We always provide same-day service. That means no waiting around. We come prepared and equipped to perform the work the same day! Give us a call today! 

http://www.milestone-air.com

Electrical Safety Check-Up

It’s best to do a routine check around your home often to see how your wires, outlets and lights are holding up. Catching small problems before they become big problems can not only save you money in the long run from expensive repairs, but it could also potentially save your life. 

Here are a few things to look out for in your home: 

Electrical Wiring

Symptoms of home electrical wiring problems may include:

  • Household lights that dim or flicker, or a TV picture that shrinks in size.
  • Evidence of arcs, sparks, or flashes of bright light in the electrical system.
  • Sizzling or buzzing sounds emanating from the electrical system.
  • Wire insulation that is visibly damaged, cut, broken, or cracked.
  • Fuses that blow frequently, or circuit breakers that trip often.  

Electrical Outlets & Receptacles

  • Outlets are also safety hazards once they become worn or damaged, and should be replaced as soon as possible.  
  • Take a moment to gauge the temperature of the faceplates on your electrical outlets. If a plate is warm or hot to the touch, it could indicate a serious wiring problem that should be further investigated by a qualified electrician.

Light Switch Plates

  • Take note of any switch plates that are discolored. Discoloration could indicate that the electrical wiring behind the switch plate is overheating. In addition, inspect switch plates to see if they are warm.
  • Once you have finished checking your electrical system, be sure to check for worn or damaged electrical cords and replace any that are in poor condition. Statistics show that two-thirds of all electrical fires are caused by these items.

Power and Extension Cords

  • Confirm that all cords between power supply, extension cords and wall outlets are secure, and that there are no exposed blades (prongs).
  • Check all electrical plugs to make sure they fit properly into their outlets. Plugs that are loose in the outlets are potential fire hazards, and should be repaired or replaced.
  • Make sure that no one in your home forces three-prong plugs into two-slot outlets. Appliances with three-prong plugs should only be inserted into three-slot outlets or three-slot extension cords.
  • Finally, make sure that you have not overloaded any circuits or extension cords. Remember that extension cords are not intended to permanently extend a home’s wiring system, and should only be used as a temporary solution.

ESFI recommends contacting a certified electrician for electrical repairs. When work needs to be done to your electrical system, always disconnect power from the circuit breaker panel or fuse box before attempting to replace a worn or damaged wall outlet.

If you are concerned about the safety of the electricity around your home, give us a call today! For more information, visit us at: http://www.milestoneelectricdfw.com

How To Not Catch Your House on Fire

Every year, there are almost 400,000 house fires in the United States. The good news is that most fires can be prevented by awareness and a little bit of caution.

Here are four common household fire hazards, and simple tips for removing the risks.

Cooking Ranges

An unwatched burner can quickly start a fire. In fact, 58 percent of kitchen fires are started by cooking ranges.

Keep an eye on your food! It’s easy to want to multitask, but it’s also dangerous. Keeping a properly working fire extinguisher in your kitchen is also really important. It’s also really important to know how to use it. That way, if a kitchen fire should occur, you’ll be able to put it out quickly.

Electricity

The electricity that flows through your home is extra dangerous. Not only can it shock you, it can also start a fire. Two of the most common causes of electrical fires are faulty wiring and overloaded outlets.

Unless you’re actually an electrician. don’t pretend to be one! The cost of hiring a professional electrician for any kind of rewiring or lighting addition is well worth the safety benefit. Also, go easy on your outlets. There should only be one plug per receptacle, not three extension cords daisy-chained together. 

Candles

A few candles can relax you during bath time, but an open flame can be a major hazard, especially if it’s left burning while you’re gone. 

Put your candles on a flat surface and keep them away from flammable objects. If you light a candle, don’t leave that room without blowing it out! If you have kids or pets in the house, it may be best to switch to electric candles.

Heating Systems

During the winter, accidents related to heating systems are the number one cause of house fires, but they can cause trouble all year long. Space heaters are especially dangerous because it’s easy to leave them near drapes or curtains and then forget about them.

Place your space heater on a nonflammable surface (like tile) and keep it at least three feet away from bedding, curtains, furniture and feet.

If you are concerned about the safety of the electricity around your home, give us a call today! For more information, visit us at: http://www.milestoneelectricdfw.com

3 Common Electrical Dangers In Your Home

Each year, there are an estimated average of 60 electrocutions associated with consumer products. The three most common product categories associated with electrocutions are small appliance, power tool and lighting equipment. 

Avoid electrical injuries by knowing the dangers inside your home.

Home Electrical Danger #1

Exposed Cables

Never handle damaged and exposed cables while they receive power from any source. Connected cables have the potential to deliver nasty burns by drawing energy from the wall into the hands of those touching the cables. Electric shock can cause injuries including involuntary muscle reactions, muscle paralysis and physical shock as well as burns. Death by direct electrocution also poses a very real hazard for those handling damaged and exposed power cables.

Home Electrical Danger #2

Too Many Extension Cords

Extension cords should be used on a temporary basis only. They are not a permenant wiring solution. Have additional outlets installed where you need them.. If you are using extension cords, make sure that they have safety closures to protect young children from shocks or mouth burns. Never use an indoor extension cord for outdoor use. Use an extension cord specifically for outdoors; they are heavier and less likely to be damaged.

Home Electrical Danger #3

Faulty Outlets

Check electrical outlets for loose fitting plugs that can cause shocks or start fires. Replace missing or broken wall plates so that the inner wiring components are not exposed. If you have young children, make sure safety covers are on unused outlets and outlets are not overloaded with too many appliance plugs. Consider installing tamper-resistant receptacles which have a built-in shutter system that prevents hairpins and other small objects from being inserted into the outlet.

If you are concerned about the safety of the electricity around your home, give us a call today! For more information, visit us at: http://www.milestoneelectricdfw.com

Summer Electrical Safety

                     

Who doesn’t love summer? Rangers games, pool parties, cookouts and summer camps make summer a fun-packed season filled with family and friends. With all of the added outside activity comes the added potential for accidents. Here are a few electrical safety tips to keep in mind to help ensure a fun-filled and safe summer.

 1.    Always be aware of the location of power lines, particularly when using long metal ladders,  pool skimmers, and pruning poles, or when installing rooftop antennas and satellite dishes or doing roof repair work.

2.    If your project includes digging, like building a deck or planting a tree call your utilities hotline before you begin. Never assume the location or depth of underground utility lines. Call at last three business days ahead of your dig date. This service prevents the inconvenience of having utilities interrupted, and can help you avoid serious injury.

3.    Electricity + water = DANGER. If it’s raining or the ground is wet, avoid using electric yard tools. Never step into a flooded area, especially basements, if the water is in contact with electrical outlets, appliances or cords.

4.    Be sure outdoor outlets and outlets near wet areas of the kitchen, bath and laundry room have ground fault circuit interrupts (GFCI) to prevent serious shock injuries

5.    Make sure tools and extension cords are marked for outdoor use.

6.    Read and follow the manufacturers’ instructions when using any product that is powered by electricity.

7.    Don’t touch anything that has a downed wire laying on it. Electricity can travel more than some people might realize. Call to inform the power company of downed wires right away.

8.    Never try to rescue a family member, friend or pet that has come into contact with any electrical equipment — Call 911 immediately.

9.    Make sure all electrical equipment used for swimming pools, including the cleaning equipment, is grounded.

10.  Electrical devices and cords should be kept at least 10 feet away from water sources such as pools and spas. When possible, use battery operated electrical devices outside.

If you are concerned about the safety of the electricity around your home, give us a call today! For more information, visit us at: http://www.milestoneelectricdfw.com