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patrick perkins 340017 1Thinking about heading for warmer weather as winter bears down on Richmond? We don't blame you! But you do need to do a little prep work on your home before you go. 

1. Set your thermostat no lower than 50 degrees. Dominion Energy recommends settings between 60 and 50 degrees. The higher setting is if you have pets or indoor plants that need to stay a little warmer.

2. Turn on your faucets (just a trickle is fine) to keep water moving. You may be worried about wasting water, but a slow trickle won't waste much and it will certainly be better than flooding from burst pipes.

3. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinets to allow the warm air to reach those pipes.

4. Unplug all unneccessary appliances. Things like phone chargers and coffee makers can suck a lot of energy from your home while you are away.

5. Ask a friend or neighbor to check on your house. Having someone come by is the best way to make sure your home is okay while you are away. Leave them with a key so they can solve any problems that may arise.

If you do run into plumbing problems, call the G-Man! 

rawpixel com 445793 1Brrrr it's getting cold in Richmond! As we crank the heat in our homes it is important to keep a few safety tips in mind:

1. Keep flamable objects away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, furnaces, etc. 

2. Teach children about heat safety. Give them a 3 foot rule for the fire, oven and anything else that can burn them.

3. Do not use your oven to heat your home. As tempting as that may be when the power goes out, it is extremely dangerous.

4. Turn off space heaters when you are not in the room. 

5. Test your smoke alarms to be sure they work.

6. Finally, make sure to have a professional check all heating equipment. 

Give the Gilman professionals a call if you need your heating system serviced. If you are in need of new system, don't forget about our Centennial Sale to get 10-year financing, a 10-year warranty and a 10-year comfort plan. 

As the temperatures drop, the heating bill goes up. While you want to stay warm this winter, you don't want to waste money. Here are a few tips on how to lower your heating costs:

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1. Seal all cracks and open air areas where heat could leak out. Keep that heat where it belongs - inside!

2. Open curtains and blinds to let the sun warm your home. 

3. Dress warmly, even when inside. Socks, sweatshirts, sweaters can all help you reduce your heating costs. 

4. When your home is occupied, the ideal heat setting is 68 to 72 degrees. However, at night or when no one is home, you can reduce that to 58 degrees.

5. Always have a professional come do a check up. With just a quick tune up your bill could be lower.

It may still be warm in RVA, but winter is just around the corner. As the cold weather moves in, air conditioning units will be turned off and heating turned on. Even though your AC has worked well throughout the hot summer season, there are still a few things you should do before you forget about it for the next few months. The G-Man has a few tips on how to winterize your AC:HVAC outside in snow iStock 486552550 800px

1. Change your filters. Just because your system is off does not mean debris will not be building up on your filter. Imagine not dusting a table for 4 months. There would certainly be a lot of dust. The same thing will happen to your AC filters. You don't want the first blast of your AC next year to be filled with dust and allergens.

2. Keep it clean. Even when not in use, you don't want debris or weather to block your system. If you have central air conditioning, make sure sticks, leaves and other debris are consistently cleared from around the unit. For both window and ground units, you do not want too much snow to build up on your system. While the units are weather proof, it is not good for moisture to sit on the unit for a long period of time. 

3. Protect your unit. When possible, take window units out and store them in a safe place. For central AC units, you can use a protective cover to protect from debris and other elements.

4. Clean coils. Just like the filters, you do not want the coils to get a dirt build up. Clean your coils before putting your unit to bed for the winter and it will run more efficiently at the first sign of warm weather.

If you have any questions on winterizing your unit, give us call!

 

iStock 489486977So, you made the leap and went from renting to buying! Congratulations. Now what? The hard part begins. Before you close on a house you want to make sure the HVAC unit you just bought along with that cute new house is in good shape.

The G-Man has a few tips to help you out:

1. Look at the unit. This may seem obvious, but visually inspecting the unit is important. If it looks dirty or rusty that means the current owners have not taken good care of it. While you are looking the outside unit, make sure to look for any leaks. On the inside, check out the air filters. If they are filthy, they haven't been change in awhile and the system is not running at peak performance.

2. Figure out the age of the unit. It is okay to ask questions. This is a big a purchase you are making. An HVAC unit has a typical lifespan of 15 years. 

3. Check out the SEER rating. This has to do with how energy efficient the system is. Check out www.energystar.gov to see if the system has a good rating.

4. Run the system while you are in the house. Does every room feel cool? How long does it take for the system to get up to speed? All of these questions can be indicators to how well the system is working.

 Bonus: If you are unsure, have a qualified professional come check out the system for you.     

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