HVAC Technicians in Austin Recommend Yearly Heater Checks

Many of our customers come to us with the question, “Do I really need a yearly heater checkup?”  In short, the answer is yes.  For the safety for you and your family, it is highly recommended having a home furnace check-up to ensure it is in proper working order.  Not only will this help prevent your family from the discomfort of a broken heater, but it will also help avoid any potentially deadly natural gas or carbon monoxide leaks that can occur within your furnace.  Most furnace manufacturers equipment warranties require an annual furnace maintenance check to be performed by a qualified and licensed HVAC technician in Austin to guarantee the warranty.

The Importance Of Furnace Checkups 

  • Decrease Number of Repairs – Many heating issues can be easily prevented through checkups. Electrical connections can loosen over time, pilot lights can become finicky, and filters can become clogged with contaminants.  It is best to be proactive, so you do not leave your family in the cold.
  • Improves Energy Efficiency – A furnace tune-up will improve your energy efficient by keeping your heater running at its best during the winter. A clean and inspected furnace will run much more efficiently, saving money on your energy bill.  Keep in mind, that it costs more money to run a poorly maintained HVAC System, because your AC and heater needs to work harder to do the same job as a maintained AC & heating system.
  • Makes Your Home SaferFurnaces rely on natural gas, propane, or even oil to generate heat through a combustion process. Any minor issue can result in an exposure of natural gas or carbon monoxide in your home causing fires, serious health issues, or even death.  Utility companies add an additive to the natural gas giving it a familiar “warning odor.”  Carbon monoxide on the other hand, is known as, “The Silent Killer.”  It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless.  It could cause loss of consciousness and death.  The City of Austin requires working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors within 10 feet of every bedroom, as well as one per floor in a multi-level home.  If one of your CO detectors starts to alarm or you smell gas, get every person and pet in your home out into the fresh air.  Once safe, call 911 or 311 or Texas Gas for help.

Are You an A-Plus Discount Customer?

With a Preventative HVAC Maintenance Agreement at A-Plus Air Conditioning & Home Solutions, your heating checkup is already included at no additional cost!  Our annual maintenance plan includes two comprehensive checkups, one for the heating and one for the cooling, as well as 15% off all daytime repairs, no overtime fees, diagnostic discounts, and even other discounts on A-Plus home repair services.  As an A-Plus discount customer, enjoy the “peace of mind” of knowing your heater is in tiptop shape this winter.

Recommendation: Schedule a Heater Checkup Today with our HVAC Technicians in Austin

Call A-Plus before the weather outside becomes frightful!  Though the fire is so delightful, it won’t help keep your entire house warm on a cold winter night.  Experienced with all major HVAC equipment brands, A-Plus Air Conditioning & Home Solutions is Austin’s trusted heating maintenance and repair company for over 40 years!  Give our office a call at 512-450-1980 to schedule your heating checkup, heating repair, or heating replacement today!

 

How to Prep My Home for Exterior Painting in Austin, Texas?

Door with different shades of paint by APlus in Austin,TxExterior home painting in Austin, Texas can be a tedious and timely process.  It is not as easy as slapping a new coat of paint on your home.  Diligent preparation before painting will not only make your home look great, but also will help keep the finish looking more beautiful, longer.  Here are some steps to ensure your  painting job goes as smoothly as possible

Power Wash the Exterior of Your Home

Before you start painting your home, be sure to power wash the exterior of your entire house.  The power washing will help remove the flaking paint, as well as help eliminate mold and other stains to ensure a proper paint job.  Let your home exterior dry completely before moving to the next steps.  In the heat of summer, the drying process could take a day or two, while in the colder winter months, it could take upwards of four to five days.

Scrape Off Any Remaining Loose Paint

Sometimes power washing may not remove all the loose paint on your home’s exterior.  After your house has completely dried, scrape away any flaking paint using a standard paint scraper.   If you skip this step, any flaking paint that is painted over with fresh paint will continue to flake.

Before picture showing old crumbling paint on wooden panelsCaulk Your Cracks

Fill voids and cracks between siding and trim seams with caulk, and then smooth out the seam with a damp rag or your finger.  These voids are often found between siding planks or around the trim.  It is essential to get a good seal on the siding and trim to prevent any water from leaking into your home.

after picture of wall painted by APlus in Austin, TxReplace Rotting or Damaged Wood

Wood rot can occur from excess moisture seeping into the siding or trim on your home, or even from insects like wood ants or termites.  Before painting, always repair damaged or rotted wood areas.  Painting over these areas will not fix the underlying issues.  Common areas for wood rot to occur is in the siding that is closest to the ground and on door or window trim.   Depending on the size of the damaged area, an experienced carpenter in Austin may be needed for the repair.

Apply Primer to Bare Wood

If any siding or trim needs to be replaced, be sure to prime the wood with a good quality primer, such as Kilz, before to painting.  This will seal the wood to create a moisture barrier between the house and the paint.

Man painting wall outside in Austin, TxTrim Trees & Nearby Plants Prior to Painting

To guarantee enough space to paint your home properly, trim any trees, bushes, and plants that are close to your home.  It will also help prevent paint from dripping onto your plants, keeping your job neater.  Consider using drop cloths to protect your bushes, flowerbeds, decks, lawns, and sidewalks from paint.

Contact Us for Exterior Painting Services in Austin

An average wood siding home in Austin, Texas should be repainted every 4 – 7 years, depending on the amount of sun exposure and wood damage.   As stated earlier, painting is a time-consuming process.  At A-Plus Air Conditioning & Home Solutions, we understand the importance of proper painting preparation and take pride in ensuring our painting projects are top-notch.  If you are looking for an exterior painter in Austin, Texas, please give us a call at 512-450-1980 to schedule your free home consultation.  Our skilled Austin Handyman and Carpenters can also repair any wood rot damage to your home, as well as much more!  Check out our website to learn more about our Home Remodeling, Fencing, Decking, Flooring and HVAC Repair or HVAC Installs services.

Troubleshooting An Air Conditioner

With temperatures reaching 100 degrees outside, having a broken air conditioner in Austin, Texas can turn into a dangerous situation.  At A-Plus Air Conditioning & Home Solutions we like to make sure our customers are cooling just as quickly as they can. Over the last 40 years, we have found that some Austin AC repairs are simple fixes.

How to Repair Your AC in Austin When It Doesn’t Work at All

Our skilled HVAC service techs in Austin have been known to guide home owners over the phone with a few simple to do repairs.  Not only does it help our customers get cool quickly, but it also saves them the heat-induced discomfort of waiting for our Air Conditioning repairman to arrive.  If you’re ever in a situation where your AC has stopped cooling, consider checking the following to see if you can get it working on your own.

  • Check your thermostat
    If the thermostat display does not light up, change the batteries.  If there is a display, check to see if the temperature on the thermostat is set to the correct temperature.
  • See if the circuit breaker tripped
    Check your circuit break in the breaker box and make sure it has not tripped.  If the HVAC breaker has been tripped, reset the breaker by flipping the switch into the proper position.  If the breaker trips keeps tripping, there might be an electrical issue and your safety could be at risk.  Give A-Plus a call and either one of our AC Technicians in Austin, or our Home Solutions Department can help resolve the issue.
  • Check your switch at the indoor unit.  
    Many AC units have an on-off switch next to the indoor air handler for safety reasons.  It looks like a standard light switch.  There is a chance this switch might have been hit or toggled into the off position.  Flip the switch and see if your AC system turns back on.
  • Check the disconnect switch on the outdoor unit
    There should be a disconnect switch behind the outdoor unit on an exterior wall.  Make sure this switch is flipped on.  Once again, this could have been accidentally hit or toggled into the off position.
  • Look for water in the condensate drain line
    Check your indoor air hander for pooling water.  Most AC systems have a float switch that shuts off an AC unit if water begins to pool inside the drain pan.  This float switch helps prevent damage to the AC as your home.  Try to empty out the water and clear the drain pan with debris.
  • How to Repair and AC Unit that Runs but Doesn’t Cool
    Sometimes, your Air Conditioner runs but does not blow cool air.  Here is what you can do if you encounter this problem.
  • Check your air filter
    It is important that your air filters are changed on a regular basis.  If the filters are not changed regularly, the restriction of the air flow due to dust, dirt & debris can cause your AC unit to stop operating.  We recommend using the cheapest pleated filter you can buy.

 

If your AC Unit is not keeping you cool after these quick repairs, we have skilled HVAC techs in Austin who are ready to assist.  A-Plus Air Conditioning & Home Solutions offers fast after hours AC Repair Services, and Weekend Air Conditioning Repair Services in Austin.  We have experience serving all major brands including Lennox, Carrier, Trane, American Standard & Rheem.  With over 40 years of experience as a locally family owned business, we have earned the trust of our community.  Please give our office a call to schedule your AC Repair, Air Conditioning Check Up, or HVAC Replacement today!

 

Austin Handyman Service Tips from A-Plus!

How to Get the Most Out of Your Handyman or Handywoman Experience:

Are you looking to repair a leaning fence, or replace a ceiling fan?  Hiring an Austin Handyman can be a quick and cost effect way to tackle your “Honey-Do-List.”  Typically billed on the hour, a handyman can handle a wide variety of smaller projects, as compared to a general contractor, who would be better for coordinating larger projects that involve multiple trades or specialized skills.  There are a few simple things a homeowner can do prior to a visit with their local handyman to get the most bang for your buck.

How to prepare for a local handyman:

    • Make a List: Before even scheduling your Handyman Service in Austin, make a list of all the home repairs and improvements you need to have done. Since most handyman visits are hourly, be sure to place your most desired home improvements high on your list to ensure they will be taken care of.  Consider having the handyman perform outside work last, to help keep dirt outside of your home such as fence repairs or deck repairs.

 

    • Know Your Budget: When looking for your trusted Handyman, research pricing before hiring. Does your company charge by the hour?  What is the hourly rate?  Is there a trip fee?  Is there a charge if the handyman needs to go to the store?  Knowing your budget will also help prioritize your list on the day of your service.

 

    • Purchase Materials Ahead of Time: Though many handyman will go to the store to pick up materials for you, consider planning a head and having the materials at your home before the handyman arrives. Handyman services that charge by the hour will bill for time to go to the store.  If you are unsure of all the materials you need, consider purchasing some of the materials for your home repairs, and have the handyman make a list for you once they arrive.  While the handyman is working on your projects, you can than go to the store to buy the missing materials.  Sometimes, even the office staff can assist making you a shopping list.

 

    • Prep Your Home: Clear out the space you would like the handyman to work in. For instance, if there is a repairing a cabinet, remove all items from the cabinet.  If you have breakable items, remove them from the workspace as a precaution.  If you have materials, place them near the project sites to save time.  For example, if you are looking to replace a light fixture, place the new light fixture in the install room.

 

    • Protect your Pets & Kids: For all A-Plus clients, we call each customer before heading to their home so there are no surprises. Consider placing your pets in a safe room, kennel or outside while the handyman is at your home to keep them safe.  Many handyman projects will require power tools that could be dangerous for small children.  Try keeping your children occupied in a different room, or supervise them closely when in the same room as your A-Plus Handyman.

 

Schedule Your Austin Handyman Service

Whether you need your gutters cleaned, driveway power washed, light fixture replaced, door adjusted, or many other task, A-Plus can help with our team of experienced Handyman in Austin, Texas.  If you are unsure if your home repair falls into our handyman service, just give our office a call at 512-450-1980 and they can help schedule the right worker for the job.  From kitchens, to flooring, to AC repair, A-Plus does it all! Give us a call today!

Don’t Forget to “Deck” your Decks

deck repair ATX
Decks and patios can create an additional exterior room in your home. It is a great place for a little fresh air during the warm spring months. Proper deck maintenance is key to ensure a long deck life.

Basic Maintenance

  •  Don’t stub your toe – tap down all loose boards and nails.
  •  Replace any damaged, splintering or decaying deck boards.
  •  Wash with a power washer – To remove wood fibers and dirt to get a better seal.
  •  Allow deck to dry fully before applying stain or sealer. Usually this takes approx 48 hours.
  •  Apply stain, paint or sealer to product the deck boards, steps and handrails.

Types of Stain and Sealers

There are 3 main products used on wooden decks to help protect for the outdoor elements, Transparent, Semi-Transparent and solid stain.  Each has a different look, so choosing the right

product is key.  If your deck has never been stained, sealed or painted, you have more options. If you have had product on it, it is best to stick with the same type of product, or go with a more solid product.  It is hard to revert back to a lighter stain.

1.Transparent Stain

Often referred to as deck water sealers, transparent stain allows the grain color of the nature wood to show through.  It is best to reapply every one to two years for best protection.

        2. Semi-Transparent Stain (Opaque)

Semi-Transparent stain is similar to transparent, in that it shows the grain of the wood, however it is tinted with a color.  This stain tends to last for a good few years; however the color will fade with time.  When fading is significant, another coat can be reapplied

        3. Solid Stains

Solid stains do not permeate the deck wood, but rather just sits on top.  It’s more like paint.  Because it does not soak into the wood, solid stains have a tendency of chipping, cracking and

peeling.  If your deck has discolored patterns on the deck boards, it can provide a uniform appearance.  A new coat should be applied once a year.

Ever Heard of Deck Over Paint?

This product is perfect for older decks with lots of cracks and slippery decks that are often wet around pools for instance.  It has the look of a composite deck like surface.  This product easily fills in nail holes, cracks, and has a slightly gritty finish that is slip-resistant.  It is also mildew resistant.  We painted one of our wooden landings here at our office and I can confirm it is very comfortable to walk on with bare feet.

Two coats are needed and the paint must be mixed thoroughly before applying to allow for even grit.  If applied properly, the Deck Over deck should last around 5 years.  This paint also has many different color options for you to choose.  If you want to check out this product in person, just swing by our office and we will be more than glad to show you our little deck.

Cut the Grime, Have Your Gutters Cleaned

With Spring right around the corner, it is a good time to start thinking about your gutters.  This is the most commonly overlooked home maintenance item that can wreak havoc and can cause major damage to your home.  Many times, homeowners have no idea they have a clogged gutter until a problem occurs

Gutters are designed to protect your home by navigating water away from it.  Having clean gutters will not only prevent possible wood decay and erosion around the foundation of your home but can save hundreds to thousands of dollars in costly home repair bills.

Gutters clogged with leaves and grime will cause a backup of water in your gutters.  This will most likely create moisture damage to the wood fascia on your home and possibly generate undetected roof leaks.  Water travels the path of least resistances and likes to end up in places where no wants it

Cleaning gutters can be a daunting task in itself.  Setting up ladders, hanging out on the roof and of course cleaning out the dirty gunk is not everyone’s cup of tea.  It is important to find a good reliable company that can help get your gutters in tip-top shape!

Let your A-Plus professional Handymen take care of the job for you. Below are a few coupons to help cut down the expense.   Give us a call at 512-450-1980 to schedule to have your gutters cleaned out, or for an estimate to install gutter guards