Healthy & Safe Swimming

National Healthy & Safe Swimming Week is May 22-26, 2017! Healthy and safe swimming is not just about the steps the pool operators, beach managers, and health departments take. We all need to do our part to help keep ourselves, our families, and friends healthy this summer and year-round, to maximize the fun and health benefits of swimming.

Drowning: Every day, two children less than 14 years old die from drowning. Drowning is a leading cause of injury death for children ages 1–4 years.

Steps & Tips to Prevent Drowning:

Teach children basic water safety tips.

Never leave a child unattended in or near a pool or spa and always watch your children closely around all bodies of water.

Designate a Water Watcher to supervise children in the pool or spa. This person should not be reading, texting, using a smartphone or be otherwise distracted. Adults can take turns being a Water Watcher.

Use life jackets appropriately.

Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults, and update those skills regularly.

If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first.

Keep children away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings to avoid entrapments.

Ensure any pool and spa you use has drain covers that comply with federal standards

Install a four-foot or taller fence around the perimeter of the pool and spa and use self-closing and self-latching gates; ask your neighbors to do the same at their pools.

Install and use a lockable safety cover on your spa.

Use locks/alarms for windows and doors.

Have lifesaving equipment such as life rings, floats or a reaching pole available and easily accessible

Injuries caused by mishandling pool chemicals (for pool operators and residential pool owners): Pool chemicals are added to maintain water quality (for example, kill germs). Each year, however, mishandling of pool chemicals by operators of public pools and residential/backyard pool or hot tub/spa owners leads to 3,000–5,000 visits to emergency departments across the United States.

Simple & Effective Steps We Can Take:

Pool operators and residential pool owners should:

Read and follow directions on product labels.

Wear appropriate safety equipment (for example, goggles), as directed on product labels, when handling pool chemicals.

Secure pool chemicals to protect people, particularly young children, and animals.

Add pool chemicals poolside ONLY when directed by product label and when no one is in the water.

Prevent violent, potentially explosive, reactions.

NEVER mix different pool chemicals with each other, particularly chlorine products and acid.

Pre-dissolve pool chemicals ONLY when directed by product label.

Add pool chemical to water, NEVER water to pool chemical.

 Illnesses caused by the germs in the places we swim: In 2010-2011, 90 outbreaks were linked to swimming; almost half of these outbreaks were caused by Cryptosporidium. Chlorine can kill most germs within minutes at concentrations recommended by CDC and typically required by state and local health departments. But Crypto can survive more than one week at these chlorine concentrations. Diarrheal incidents in the water we share and swim in can easily spread germs and potentially cause outbreaks. Because chlorine and other disinfectants don’t kill germs instantly, it’s important to keep these germs, particularly Crypto, out of the water in the first place and not drink the water we share and swim in, this summer and year-round.

Simple & Effective Steps We Can Take:

Every swimmer should:

Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea.

Shower before you get in the water.

Don’t pee or poop in the water.

Don’t swallow the water.

Every hour—everyone out!

Take kids on bathroom breaks.

Check diapers and change them in a bathroom or diaper-changing area—not poolside—to keep germs away from the pool.

Harmful Algal Blooms: Algae can grow in warm, nutrient-rich fresh and marine waters. When there is an abundant growth of algae that harms people or animals, it is referred to as a harmful algal bloom (HAB). HABs in fresh and marine waters can produce toxins that cause a variety of illnesses including skin irritation, coughing, sneezing, diarrhea, stomach pain, numbness, and dizziness. Symptoms can vary depending on the type of HAB toxin and the type of exposure, such as skin contact, ingestion by eating food or drinking water contaminated with HAB toxins or breathing in tiny droplets or mist contaminated with HAB toxins.

Simple & Effective Steps We Can Take:

Avoid water that contains harmful algal blooms—when in doubt, stay out!

Look for waterbody or beach advisories announced by local public health authorities or beach managers. If the beach is closed, stay out.

Don’t swim, water ski, or boat in areas where the water is discolored or where you see foam, scum, or mats of algae on the water’s surface.

Avoid entering or swimming in bodies of water that contain or are near dead fish or other dead animals.

Keep children or pets from playing in or drinking scummy water.

If you do swim in water that might contain a harmful algal bloom, get out and rinse off with fresh water as soon as possible.

If pets, especially dogs, swim in scummy water, rinse them off immediately. Do not let them lick the algae off of their fur.

What are RWIs? Recreational water illnesses (RWIs) are caused by germs spread by swallowing, breathing in mists or aerosols of, or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks, water play areas, interactive fountains, lakes, rivers, or oceans. RWIs can also be caused by chemicals in the water or chemicals that evaporate from the water and cause indoor air quality problems. Diarrhea is the most common RWI, and it is often caused by germs like Crypto (short for Cryptosporidium), Giardia, norovirus, Shigella, and E. coli O157: H7. Other common RWIs include skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic, and wound infections. Children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems are most at risk for RWIs.

Healthy Swimming: Swimming and other water-related activities are excellent ways to get the physical activity and health benefits needed for a healthy life. Americans swim hundreds of millions of times in pools, oceans, lakes, rivers, and hot tubs/spas each year and most people have a safe and healthy time enjoying the water. However, it is important to be aware of ways to prevent recreational water illnesses (RWIs), sunburn, and drowning that can occur. CDC's Healthy Swimming Program and website, launched in 2001, provides information for the public, public health and medical professionals, and aquatics staff so everyone can maximize the health benefits of swimming while minimizing the risk of illness and injury. Visit the Healthy Swimming website now and gain more tips on the following: health benefits, swimmer protection, RWIs, other recreational water issues, pools, hot tubs, oceans, lakes, rivers, and the model aquatic health code

For more information visit: https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/

Heating Contractors Battle for your Digital Thermostat

"You may not have noticed it, but there has been a sticker war occurring in your basement between competing HVAC contractors. It has long been common practice for contractors to leave a sticker on your furnace after completing a service call with their company's name and contact information. When a different contractor comes along, his sticker covers the old one. Some contractors use particularly large stickers to prevent competitors from completely covering their marketing info

Well, the sticker war is leaving the basement and hitting your thermostat."

Please continue reading this article by following the link listed below!

https://www.furnacecompare.com/thermostats/digital-thermostat-sticker-wars.html

Is There A Furnace Blue Book

"My dad is a relatively frugal man. And so I was rather surprised when he could not tell me the cost of his newly-installed furnace. In fact, beyond knowing total cost of the package, he had no idea what the individual costs were for labor, equipment, and any other charges included in the total bill.

I wondered if my Dad's experience was a common one, and whether it would make a difference to consumers in the high stakes negotiation of getting a new furnace if there were a Blue Book-like price listing for furnaces. After all, if you have a better understanding of what a furnace costs and can compare apples to apples, you would be in better position to know what the contractor's markup for the furnace is and then try to negotiate that price down. Right?"

https://www.furnacecompare.com/furnaces/pricing.html

26 Resources Consumers Must Bookmark About Air Conditioners

According to 2015 data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), about 65% of US homes have central air conditioning, and another 27% use window-mount air conditioners. About 13% of homes don't have any A/C at all.

(If you're scratching your head as to why 105% of all homes responded, it's because a small percentage of homes use central air conditioning and window mount units.)

There's a wealth of information online about air conditioning. Our goal is not to add to that, but to help you navigate to the best writing among all the articles currently available. We've divided our list of resources into two parts:

Take a look at the 26 Resources Consumers Must Bookmark About Air Conditioners!

https://www.furnacecompare.com/air-conditioners/must-have-resources.html

Eco-Friendly Activities

Just in case you're scratching your head wondering what to do this Earth Day, we've rounded up a list of our favorite eco-activities that will help remind you why you love living on this planet so much. We hope you will join millions of people across the globe on April 22nd to do at least one thing that will make our planet a better place to live.

One of the suspension bridges on the Lost Creek Overlook Trail. (Photo: Bob Butters)

One of the suspension bridges on the Lost Creek Overlook Trail. (Photo: Bob Butters)

Take a Hike: There is no better way to get back in touch with the Earth’s rhythms than to actually go outdoors and experience its many wonders. This Earth Day, why not take a hike or go for a bike ride? Maybe even go kayaking? The point is, get outdoors, breathe the air, feel the sun on your cheeks and absorb some vitamin D. You’d be amazed how even spending a short amount of time outdoors will rejuvenate your soul.

Get Involved in a Community Garden: If you have never experienced the magic of rolling up your sleeves and digging up some earth, then now is the perfect opportunity. Gardening is a wonderful way to reflect on how much we depend on the earth for our survival. If you don’t have your own garden or you live in a city, don’t fret. The Casey Jones Village has a community farm where you can help grow and pick traditional southern vegetables and fruits. Plus, you’ll get to meet new people who love to garden as much as you.

Do a Home Energy Audit: Not everyone has their own home, but if you do, nothing tells the planet “I love you” more than a home energy audit. Since most of the world is still powered by fossil fuels, that means your home is too, and if energy is pouring out of it because of poor construction, you are inadvertently releasing unnecessary greenhouse gasses into our atmosphere. Don’t feel guilty about it because it’s not your fault, but you can make a difference by calling up a certified auditing company to audit your home. They will tell you exactly what steps you need to take in order to tighten up your energy efficiency, like sealing windows and unplugging appliances.

donation-box.jpg

Clean Out Your Closet and Donate to a Charity: It may not always be so obvious, but manufacturing new clothing requires both energy and water, and there are many people who don’t have money to buy their own. So, this Earth Day, why not clean out your overstuffed closet and then donate those t-shirts and shorts you haven’t worn in years to a local charity. Not only will this make you feel good about lightening your load, but the people who receive your lightly used clothing will so thankful you’ll wonder if it’s Christmas and not Earth Day!

Plant a Tree: It might sound like a bit of a cliche, but planting trees is by far one of the most important gifts we can give back to the planet and to ourselves. Global warming is caused by a buildup of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere (such as carbon dioxide and methane), which traps heat on the planet. But trees have the ability to suck up carbon dioxide, which is why the Amazon and other forests are so important. If every person on the planet plants one tree, that amounts to nearly 7 billion new carbon sponges. You can plant a tree in your own backyard, or join a group.

Volunteer for an Environmental Charity: Earth Day is an excellent day to volunteer. There are countless charities all over the planet that are raising money, cleaning up rivers, teaching classes, and in general engaging in the kind of earth-friendly work that will not only last today, but that will continue throughout the rest of the year. If you’re not sure about where to spend your valuable resources, contact the Earth Day organizers and they will direct you to the most suitable program for you.

Throw a Green Party: We forget sometimes that life is something that is worth celebrating. The very fact that we exist is one of the greatest miracles imaginable, so why not use this day as the perfect opportunity to hang out with your favorite green mates. Pull out the biodegradable silverware, or buck up and use your own, brew some organic beer, cook some good wholesome food, and spend time with the ones you love. Being part of a community is one of the most important aspects of eco-conscious living that not only benefits the planet but you as well.

Happy Earth Day everyone!!!!

Eco-Friendly HVAC Tips

If you’re trying to do your part to make choices in your home that are good for the environment, you’ll also want to consider these eco-friendly HVAC tips. Your furnace and air conditioner use about half of your home’s energy use, so decisions made regarding your HVAC system will affect your budget as well as the planet. Here are a few things you can do to keep your system working effectively and keep your utility bills under control.

  • Get annual HVAC inspections to find out if your air conditioner and furnace are in good working order
  • Inspect your air vents and ductwork to make sure there are no blockages or leaks that can restrict proper airflow to every room in the house. Right now, we have a FREE ductwork inspection going on until the end of April.
  • Add insulation to prevents air leaks, keeping warm air out and cool air in.
  • Use ceiling fans to delay the use of your A/C in the summer. If you have a reverse (clockwise) option, use on low speed in the winter to help warm air distribute evenly through the room.
  • Adjust your programmable thermostat to suit your exact needs season to season. Remember that raising the temperature by only 1 degree in the summer can save up to 10% on your cooling bill.
  • If your HVAC system is more than 8-10 years old, consider replacement. Air conditioning made before 2010 may still use R-22, which is known to contribute to the greenhouse effect. Newer furnaces are considerably more energy efficient than those made a decade ago. Plus, we have 0% interest for 60 months on select units or find out about installing a geothermal unit.
  • Install solar screens (cuts down on energy costs by allowing you to produce some of your own electricity).
  • Purchase rooftop solar shingles to offset energy use.

It’s tempting to try to make too many changes all at once when you’re ready to minimize your carbon footprint. But it’s probably better to take on a few of these tips to begin with, and make them a part of your everyday life. Once you see the benefits of adopting these eco-friendly HVAC tips, you’ll find it easier to make larger changes in your life.

Eco-Friendly Plumbing Tips

People all over the world are constantly finding new ways to be comfortable in their homes without leaving a significant footprint on the environment. Solar panels and energy efficient appliances are commonplace in households nowadays. These products do a great job of reducing energy usage, but did you know you can make your plumbing systems eco-friendly as well? Here are some great ways to improve energy efficiency and water usage throughout your home. This is an affordable way to reduce your overall impact on the environment.

Get an Efficient Water Heater: As water heaters age, they drastically start to lose efficiency because of leaks or failing equipment. New water heaters come in a variety of energy-efficient options. Tankless water heaters save space, and they work by rapidly heating the water as it passes through an exchanger. On average, they save homeowners around $80 annually and are about 22% more efficient than regular water heaters. Due to evolving technology, even regular water heaters that are available on the market nowadays are more efficient than heaters that were sold just a few years ago.

Enjoy Hot Water on Demand: Hot water circulation pumps deliver heated water to plumbing fixtures in just a few seconds. They can be installed for use with either tankless or tank-based system. You will no longer have to run the sink or shower for several minutes to wait for hot water, so you will significantly cut down on water usage. Additionally, hot water doesn’t sit in the pipes waiting to be used, so you can get maximum usage out of every drop of hot water. Homeowners save money and water when using recirculation pumps.

Insulate Your Pipes: Pipes and water heaters are usually installed in the basement of a home, which can lead to freezing pipes in the winter time. It also takes longer for water to heat up, and water can lose heat on its way through the pipes to the fixtures in the home. Insulating your pipes with wraps will help prevent heat loss, cutting down on water and energy usage.

Install Low-Flow Features: Low-flow features reduce the flow of water at the plumbing fixture to reduce water usage. Fixtures are easy to install, inexpensive, and can be retrofitted to existing components. Simple faucet aerators can be screwed into faucets in the kitchen and bath, and low-flow showerheads replace existing ones and have several settings. If you’re questioning how much of a difference the above green plumbing practices can truly make, consider this: if the only change you make is to install low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators…you’ll reduce your water use by up to 50%. That isn’t just less water, but also less electricity as you won’t be paying to heat that water either.

Eco Fixtures: Eco-friendly fixtures are an important part of any green-plumbing strategy as they significantly reduce your home’s water usage. As an added bonus, it will also save you money on your yearly water bill. These fixtures are not only effective but affordable as they can be purchased. You can purchase eco-friendly fixtures at your favorite home improvement store or one of our plumbers can install the fixtures for you.

Invest in Energy-Efficient Appliances: Energy efficient appliances do more than saving on electric or gas usage - they can also cut down on water usage as well. Installing efficient washers, dishwashers, and toilets will significantly reduce the amount of water the appliance uses. These appliances are designed to get the most out of every bit of water that passes through them, saving you water and money. Efficient toilets usually have smaller tanks which require less water for each flush, and washers use up to 25% less energy and 40% less water. Dishwashers pass water through instantly heated coils, so they don’t use as much water and energy heating up. So, they will save you money on both your electricity and water bills while adding value to your home when it comes times to sell.

Recycle your Materials: Whenever you’re updating appliances or doing other plumbing work—recycle the materials when you’re done! You can recycle everything, from pipes to fixtures.

Above all, one of the easiest and best things you can do as a homeowner is to always check your pipes for leaks. Even minor leaks can waste a lot of money and water over the course of the year, so be sure to monitor your water meter for any unaccounted for usage, or have one of our professional plumbers assess your pipes. Call 731-668-7492 to have one of our plumbers inspect your pipes and show how you can go green.

Geothermal Heating & Cooling System

Earth Day is this Saturday, April 22 so we will be discussing tips and activities on how you can be more environment-friendly and awesome activities to do outside on Earth Day. Today we are showing environmentally friendly HVAC systems, and how they can save you money in the long run and help the environment out.

As the prices of oil and natural gas continue to rise homeowners continually find it's more and more expensive to heat their homes. And with rising energy costs it's certainly not cheap to air-condition a house in the summer either.Geothermal pumps offer an alternative to conventional heating and air-conditioning systems that is safe, renewable, environmentally friendly and inexpensive.

Geothermal pumps harness the earth's natural heat contained in the ground and water beneath your home. This heat is extracted using a ground loop installed underneath your house. Once inside the air is conditioned to whatever temperature you desire, heating or cooling your home without the use of fossil fuels and without damaging the environment. Best of all, geothermal pumps can be installed under nearly any lot. Studies by the Environmental Protection Agency have shown that homes utilizing geothermal pumps cutback heating costs by up to 70%, quickly saving more than the initial costs of pumps themselves.

At McCoy's Heating and Air, we specialize in providing a variety of geothermal pumps to service West Tennessee. Our talented staff of specialty HVAC technicians is well versed in area soil types and geological conditions so we can find the optimal pump to heat and cool your home or office. You will not only help sustain the environment upon using these options but also save a huge amount of money on your energy costs. Call today to schedule an estimate at 731-668-7492

Spring HVAC Tips

Spring HVAC Tips

It’s that time of the year when we open the windows to smell the fresh air to clear the dust and start clearing out some of the clutter from the winter. However, the large appliances of your home, like your HVAC unit, are just as important as the visuals and organization of your home. By taking the right steps to prepare your air conditioning unit will ensure you are ready for comfort once the heat from the summer arrives. Below are seven important tips to getting your HVAC and Air Conditioning unit ready for optimal service this season.

Replace/Clean Your Filter: Replacing your filter is the first step to having an efficiently running AC unit. Dirt and grime can cause the moving parts of your air conditioning unit to cease, freeze up and also release extra dust/allergens into the air of your home. So, your air quality and efficiency will be improved by this simple step. Keep an extra few filters near your furnace to change/replace, and be sure to check your air filter every thirty days during summer use and replace it when needed.

Outdoor AC Unit: Make sure to check around the perimeter of the AC unit. Cut & clear out any overgrowth of plants and remove any items that may have fallen onto the unit. Air flow through the screens is important for optimal usage. It is ideal to take a leaf blower to clear out any dirt and/or leaves from inside the screen. Also, take a look at the drain hole on the unit to ensure it is clear so condensation can drain from the unit.

Seal Your Ductwork: It is very common for the ductwork to have imperfections in some areas, especially in the older homes. Any holes will lead to wasted air exchange and wasted money. Repairing the leaks or holes in your ductwork will increase your system’s efficiency and help your HVAC system cool and heat your home more effectively. We highly recommend having one of our certified professionals come to your home for a FREE inspection. Plus, we can fix any hole or leak we find in your ductwork. Afterward, our good friends at SERVPRO can clean your air ducts and get rid of any dust, mold, mildew that has built up inside your duct work. There are several benefits to this which lead to increased efficiency of your AC & Furnace Units and reduced allergens that can cause sickness. You can give them a call at 731-423-9944 or visit their website at http://www.servprojacksoncrockettcounty.com/

Test Run your AC Unit: There is nothing worse than having a hot home with a non-working AC unit. This can all be avoided by testing the unit for a few hours this spring to make sure it is working properly. Preparation is key to your comfort this summer!

Consider an Upgrade: Spring is a great time to have a new air conditioning system installed by McCoy’s Heating, Air & Plumbing. If your system is old, having it replaced by a new, efficient system will save you money in heating and cooling bills. Plus, we are offering 0% interest for 60 months on certain new unit purchases.

A Programmable Thermostat: If you do not have a programmable thermostat, have one installed this spring. You will enjoy better control of the temperature in your home, and possibly lower energy bills since you can set the temperature so that your system runs less when you are not there.

Schedule Your Seasonal Tune-Up! Each spring we service hundreds of homeowners and businesses by helping maintain HVAC systems for optimal usage. With our 36 years of business in the Jackson, Tennessee and surrounding area, we are experts at what we do. Give us a call to discuss your options and we guarantee you HVAC system will be working properly and can save you money this summer. Plus, your system will be less likely to break down on a hot summer day. Call 731-668-7492 for an appointment today or schedule on our app (McCoys HVAC).

Sources:

http://www.cappyheating.com/5-hvac-spring-cleaning-tips/

http://www.joplins.net/blog/5-tips-to-help-prepare-your-hvac-system-for-spring

Tips for a Great Easter

Got kids, grandkids, nieces or nephews? If so, chances are you’ll be spending this Sunday, aka Easter, chasing after them as they run after dozens of boiled and colored eggs. It’s a great family day, but one that can be hectic if not planned well. Here are the best tips for planning a great Easter holiday:

1.     Prepare ahead of time. Any gathering is so much less stressful if you prepare as much as possible ahead of time. The day before Easter, prepare the eggs (real and plastic), the baskets, Easter Sunday clothes (and a change of clothes for later), and the food if possible. Then we wake up early to make sure everyone’s ready on time, and prepare any other food necessary. If you’re hosting the gathering, you may need to set up a table or do other things to prepare for your guests. Don’t wait until the last minute! Prepare a list and check it twice.

2.     Simple food. Family gatherings are a lot of fun, but it’s not as much fun if you’re preparing a large table full of food. Plan a simple brunch, with muffins and fruits and cinnamon rolls and maybe some pancakes. Nothing complicated. If you’ve got a few smaller families coming together, make sure it’s a potluck, so each family just has to worry about one dish. The simpler the menu, the better.

3.     Plastic eggs. Save the waste, time, and money by buying plastic eggs, and filling them each with a little candy or money or drawing for a special prize. You can have all the fun, but less mess. Plus, you can re-use the plastic eggs each year. If you really want to color eggs, just do a couple dozen real eggs and use plastic eggs for the rest.

4.     Count your eggs before they spoil. If you use real eggs, be sure you know how many there are before they’re hidden. Then count them afterwards, to make sure you got ’em all. Otherwise, you may be getting a surprise a week or two after Easter. It’s also best if you can remember where you hid them all, but this may be asking a bit much of most people.

5.     The Golden Egg. A great tradition is to mark one of the eggs as the Golden Egg. That egg might have $5 or $10 put in it by Grandpa. It makes the hunt all the more fun, especially for the bigger kids.

6.     Let the older kids do the work. If they’re 12 or older, they may feel silly hunting after Easter eggs, so let them do some of the work and learn some responsibility by helping hide the eggs. If they’re experienced, you can actually sit back and enjoy the show. And laugh and laugh. Also, if they can clean up all the food and egg shells, that’s even better.

7.     Separate the big and little kids. Big kids (not the 12 and older ones, but the older elementary ones) can trample the little kids and get all the eggs before the little ones can take two steps. Make it fair, and more fun, by separating them into groups. If you’ve got a lot of kids, have three groups: really young (5-under), middle (6-8), and older (9-12). Or whatever works for your group.

8.     Prepare a couple of fun games. Egg hunting is a blast, but your gathering will be even more fun if you’ve got a few games ready to go. An egg toss, egg race (holding an egg on a spoon with your mouth while racing), sports, water balloons, treasure hunts — the possibilities are endless.

Spring Plumbing Tips

Spring has sprung, which means it’s time to do some “Spring Cleaning” for your home’s pipe and drainage systems. Here are 15 quick and simple Spring Plumbing Tips to protect your home against plumbing problems:

  • Check faucets for drips or leaks. Make repairs to save water.
  • Check toilets for hidden leaks. Add six drops of food coloring to the toilet tank. If the toilet is leaking, color will appear in the bowl within 30 minutes
  • Ensure that all drains have strainers to prevent hair, soap, and debris from clogging the drain lines.
  • Inspect toilet tank and bowl for cracks or leaks.
  • Exercise water supply valves under sinks and toilets to prevent them from sticking.
  • Make sure toilets flush properly. If the handle must be held down for a thorough flush or jiggled to stop the water from running you may need to replace worn tank parts. They’re inexpensive and you’ll notice a lower water bill.
  • Check the temperature setting on the water heater. It should be set no higher than 120°F to prevent scalding and reduce energy use.
  • Carefully drain several gallons from the water heater tank to flush out corrosion causing sediment, which reduces heating efficiency and shortens the life of the heater. A great Spring Plumbing Tip.
  • Consider replacing a water heater more than 15 years old. (The first four numbers of the serial number represent the month and year it was made.) Newer water heaters are more energy efficient
  • Pour a gallon of water into infrequently used drains (including floor drains) to fill the trap and prevent odors from entering the house. Slow floor drains should be snaked to ensure they will carry away water quickly in the event of a flood.
  • Check exposed pipes under sinks and in the basement for signs of leaks.
  • If your home has a sump pump, make sure it operates properly by pouring a few buckets of water into the sump pit. The pump should quickly turn on, discharge the water then shut off without any problems.
  • Install a backflow valve in the floor drain if you live in an area where sewers sometimes back up into homes. This device will prevent future backups
  • Make sure yard drains, gutters and downspouts are cleaned out, open, and free of debris.
  • Inspect your property whether its sticks, leaves, or asteroids, pretty much any type of debris can lead to blockages in your drain system—especially your sump pump discharge line. Making sure your yard & gutters are clear is a simple way to minimize the chance of a clog and keep the good times flowing!
  • Check faucets and hose bibs to make sure water flows freely. If an outdoor faucet drips or if there is leakage inside your home the first time the hose is turned on, you may have had a frozen pipe that cracked and needs to be replaced.

This list of Spring Pluming Tips is just a handful of the useful services and solutions that McCoy’s Heating, Air, & Plumbing can provide your home this spring. If you are interested in the full rundown of our plumbing service you can check them out here or you can schedule a service maintenance of your plumbing and drain systems by calling 731-668-7492 or sign up for a plumbing maintenance on our web page or app (McCoys HVAC).

Decrease Spring Allergies by Servicing Your HVAC System

Springtime means more sunshine and warmer weather, but it can also mean having to deal with allergies. Spring allergies to pollen, grass and other allergens can cause you to have a runny nose, itchy eyes and scratchy throat.

But it’s not just the outdoor air you have to worry about. The air inside your home can also be filled with allergens, which can cause your symptoms to flare up. The good news is that there are some HVAC maintenance tips you can follow to lower your risk of spring allergies.

Change the Air Filter

Your HVAC system’s air filter can end up with a coating of pollen, dust, and other allergens over time, which lowers the air quality in your home. When your HVAC system runs, you’re then exposed to these allergens as they get pushed into the air.

Replacing your filter with a new one helps reduce the number of allergens in your home and improves the air quality. While you should replace your filter each season, you also should make it a habit to check the filter once per month throughout the year and clean it off or replace it as needed.

To improve indoor air quality, even more, consider replacing your filter with a more efficient type that filters out more particles, such as medium efficiency filters or HEPA filters.

Schedule Regular HVAC Maintenance

Having routine HVAC maintenance done also helps reduce indoor allergens, making the air in your home healthier to breathe. HVAC maintenance has the added benefit of ensuring that your system is able to run efficiently, which can increase its life span and lower the risk of repairs.

Our HVAC experts can perform tasks such as cleaning the outdoor coils on your system to prevent mold and looking for signs of potential problems with your HVAC system.

Have Air Ducts Cleaned

Even if you change your filter, allergens can still be lurking in your home’s air ducts. When you have the heat or air conditioning on, these allergens are then blown around the ducts and end up entering different rooms through the vents. This can make the air quality in your home worse and cause allergy flare-ups.

Having your ducts cleaned removes these allergens, leading to healthier air and fewer allergy symptoms. Our good friends at SERVPRO can inspect your air ducts and get rid of any dust or other allergen buildups that can affect your home’s indoor air quality. You can give them a call at 731-423-9944 or visit their website at http://www.servprojacksoncrockettcounty.com/

If you know you struggle with spring allergies, contact McCoy's Heating & Air at 731-668-7492 for help. We can help improve your home’s indoor air quality this season, so you’ll have fewer allergens around. Contact us today at 731-668-7492 for a maintenance check.

The Best Time to Buy and Install an Air Conditioner in West Tennessee

Air conditioners are a big purchase. But if you know when to buy, you can save a ton of money.

You see, air conditioners, like most of the things we purchase, are affected by supply and demand. There is an in season and an off season for the best times to buy. 

So, when exactly is the “season” for buying and installing an air conditioner in West Tennessee and still getting the best price?

Well, it gets a little tricky with West Tennessee weather but the general rule of thumb is to buy your air conditioner in the cooler months (December through May) when people don’t need to run their A/C’s or furnaces aka, low demand.

We’ll explain why.

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY AND INSTALL YOUR A/C IN THE COOLER MONTHS: 

You’ll see lower contractor prices: 

When the weather is perfect in West Tennessee, homeowners don’t have to turn on their air conditioners or furnaces. And that means people aren’t running into HVAC problems (they’re probably not even thinking about their heating/cooling systems). 

With fewer calls coming in for A/C or furnace repairs and replacements, HVAC contractors hit a lull in business and are therefore more likely to offer lower-than-usual prices to install an air conditioner.

You aren’t rushed to sign a contract:

If you’re buying an air conditioner mid-summer in West Tennessee, we guarantee you won’t take your time shopping around for the best deal. You’re probably seeking immediate relief from the heat and will settle for one of the first bids you receive, right?

But when you’re buying during the cooling season, there’s less urgency to replace your unit. That gives you time to shop around, get multiple bids and choose an experienced contractor who’s offering a competitive installation price accompanied by a warranty you can rely on.

Contractors have time to perform a quality installation:

Some lower quality contracting companies will sloppily rush through an installation job, especially during the summer busy season. And a sloppy installation results in a unit that’s inefficient and costs you more money in the long run.

For example, some contractors cut corners when it comes to sizing your A/C unit and resort to using a rule of thumbs like square footage of your home to determine the size of A/C you need. Instead, contractors should perform a Manual J load calculation to determine your A/C size. A Manual J load calculation takes longer but it prevents you from getting a unit that is too small or too big for your home.

Having a contractor install your A/C unit in the slower winter season will allow them to slow down and perform the job correctly. 

OTHER TIPS ON FINDING A GOOD DEAL ON YOUR A/C INSTALLATION: 

  • Search for rebates and financing options. Different states offer different rebate options for high-efficiency air conditioners. Some contractors will also offer financing options that allow you to pay off the cost of an A/C installation over time. Do some research to see what financing options different HVAC contractors offer.
  • Don’t be afraid to walk away. Don’t get pressured into signing a contract with any contractor right away. Always ask them if their offered price is the best that they can do, then tell them that you’re still shopping around and will get back to them. More often than not, a contractor will knock down the price when they hear that response, in order to secure your business. 
  • Beware of contractors who come down a lot on their price. Most likely, they’re able to dramatically reduce their price for you because they were planning to overcharge you in the first place and that’s a red flag that the contractor is dishonest. Keep looking.

NEED AN HONEST CONTRACTOR AT A REASONABLE PRICE?

If you’re ready to save money and start shopping for your new air conditioner, we’re here to help. We offer flexible financing, honest and experienced technicians and an easy installation process. Just contact us for your free estimate today.

February is American Heart Month

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. To prevent heart disease and increase awareness of its effects, McCoy’s Heating, Air & Plumbing is proudly participating in American Heart Month. Locally, around 15,000 people are affected by heart disease. It is the number one killer in Tennessee. We can make a big difference in our heart health by taking these small steps during the month of February and beyond.

Schedule a visit with your doctor to talk about heart health. It's important to schedule regular check-ups even if you think you are not sick. Partner with your doctor and health care team to set goals for improving your heart health, and don't be afraid to ask questions and trust their advice.

Add exercise to your daily routine. Start off the month by walking 15 minutes, 3 times each week. By mid-month, increase your time to 30 minutes, 3 times each week.

Increase healthy eating. Cook heart-healthy meals at home at least 3 times each week and make your favorite recipe lower sodium. Food cooked with too much oil and cholesterol are directly linked with blood pressure and coronary heart disease. For example, swap out salt for fresh or dried herbs and spices. Also, make sure to eat a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables help prevent heart disease and stroke.

Take steps to quit smoking. If you currently smoke, quitting can cut your risk for heart disease and stroke. Learn more at CDC's Smoking and Tobacco Use website. Also, make sure to stay away from secondhand smoke.

Take medication as prescribed. Talk with your doctor about the importance of high blood pressure and cholesterol medications. If you're having trouble taking your medicines on time or if you're having side effects, ask your doctor for help.

PS don't forget to wear red on this Friday, February 3, 2017.

Sorce: 

https://www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth/

https://www.tn.gov/health/article/statistics-and-reports

https://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@adv/documents/downloadable/ucm_307213.pdf

 

 

 

Winter Plumbing Tips

After a long summer and keeping our shorts and shades on into November, we’ve been on a roller coaster ride of temperatures, and now it looks like we’re heading for cooler times. Ideally, you should winterize your pipes in the fall, before winter seriously sets in. But if you’ve forgotten and all of a sudden, you’re in the middle of a deep freeze, there’s still time to prevent disaster. Here are some easy tips to save your pipes from bursting this Winter:

Keep it under wraps: During the coldest temperatures, your uninsulated pipes are at their highest risk—especially the draftier areas like your garage or attic and outside areas, as well. When it gets below freezing, any water left in these pipes can freeze and expand, causing the pipes to crack or burst. And that means trouble. Instead of just hoping for the best, take preventative measures by wrapping your pipes and outdoor plumbing fixtures in insulating material such as towels, foam or insulation sleeves.

Open cabinet doors: During cold weather, open any cabinet doors covering plumbing in the kitchen and bathroom. This allows the home’s warm air to better circulate, which can help prevent the exposed piping from freezing. While this won’t help much with pipes hidden in walls, ceilings, or under the home, it can keep water moving and limit the dangerous effects of freezing weather.

Let it run. If the temperatures have dropped into freezing and intend to stay there, turning on your faucets — both indoors and out — can keep water moving through your system and slow down the freezing process. There’s no need to waste gallons of water: Aim for about five drips per minute.

Call it in. If you do see a leak in any of your pipes or fixtures, make sure you act immediately. A leak is no cosmetic issue, especially during the winter. If there is a leak, there is a good possibility your pipes are already damaged and may be ticking time bombs for bigger issues (we don’t even want to think about). Don’t wait for a “convenient time”; call in a plumber (us, of course) ASAP to avoid further damage.

Know the drill. If, despite your best efforts, you still experience a burst pipe this winter, you’ll want to know what to do immediately so that damage can be minimized. The most important first action step is to turn off the main water line to avoid a total flood. After that, call a plumber (us!) immediately, or if you’re not sure where the main shut off is located, call us the minute you know there is a problem. If you know the plumbing layout of your property you can try to identify the source of the leak and fix it yourself, but be sure to insulate the pipe when you replace it to avoid future issues.

Source: http://morganmillerplumbing.com/dont-get-left-cold-winter-plumbing-tips/

Tips to Protect Your Pet in Cold Weather

Santa Paws.jpg

In many areas, winter is a season of bitter cold and numbing wetness. Make sure your four-footed family members stay safe and warm by following these tips:

Keep pets indoors: The best prescription for winter's woes is to keep your dog or cat inside with you and your family. The happiest dogs are taken out frequently for walks and exercise but kept inside the rest of the time. Don't leave pets outdoors when the temperature drops. During walks, short-haired dogs may feel more comfortable wearing a sweater. No matter what the temperature is, windchill can threaten a pet's life. Pets are sensitive to severe cold and are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia during extreme cold snaps. Exposed skin on noses, ears and paw pads can quickly freeze and suffer permanent damage. Longer-haired and thick-coated dog breeds, such as huskies and other dogs bred for colder climates, are more tolerant of cold weather; but no pet should be left outside for long periods of time in below-freezing weather.

Provide choices: Just like you, pets prefer comfortable sleeping places and may change their location based on their need for more or less warmth. Give them some safe options to allow them to vary their sleeping place to adjust to their needs.

Protect family: Odds are your pet will be spending more time inside during the winter, so it’s a good time to make sure your house is properly pet-proofed. Use space heaters with caution around pets, because they can burn or they can be knocked over, potentially starting a fire. Check your furnace before the cold weather sets in to make sure it’s working efficiently, and install carbon monoxide detectors to keep your entire family safe from harm. If you have a pet bird, make sure its cage is away from drafts.

Winter wellness: Has your pet had his/her preventive care exam (wellness exam) yet?  Cold weather may worsen some medical conditions such as arthritis. Your pet should be examined by a veterinarian at least once a year, and it’s as good a time as any to get him/her checked out to make sure (s)he is ready and as healthy as possible for cold weather.

Know the limits:  Just like people, pets’ cold tolerance can vary from pet to pet based on their coat, body fat stores, activity level, and health. Be aware of your pet’s tolerance for cold weather, and adjust accordingly. You will probably need to shorten your dog’s walks in very cold weather to protect you both from weather-associated health risks. Arthritic and elderly pets may have more difficulty walking on snow and ice and may be more prone to slipping and falling. Long-haired or thick-coated dogs tend to be more cold-tolerant, but are still at risk in cold weather. Short-haired pets feel the cold faster because they have less protection, and short-legged pets may become cold faster because their bellies and bodies are more likely to come into contact with snow-covered ground. Pets with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances (such as Cushing’s disease) may have a harder time regulating their body temperature, and may be more susceptible to problems from temperature extremes. The same goes for very young and very old pets. If you need help determining your pet’s temperature limits, consult your veterinarian.

Play dress-up: If your dog has a short coat or seems bothered by the cold weather, consider a sweater or dog coat. Have several on hand, so you can use a dry sweater or coat each time your dog goes outside. Wet sweaters or coats can actually make your dog colder. Some pet owners also use booties to protect their dog’s feet; if you choose to use them, make sure they fit properly.

Collar: Many pets become lost in winter because snow and ice can hide recognizable scents that might normally help your pet find his/her way back home. Make sure your pet has a well-fitting collar with up-to-date identification and contact information.

Check the paws: Check your dog’s paws frequently for signs of cold-weather injury or damage, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding. During a walk, a sudden lameness may be due to an injury or may be due to ice accumulation between his/her toes. You may be able to reduce the chance of iceball accumulation by clipping the hair between your dog’s toes.

Protect paws from salt: The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet's feet. Wipe all paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates his/her mouth.

Wipe down: During walks, your dog’s feet, legs and belly may pick up deicers, antifreeze, or other chemicals that could be toxic. When you get back inside, wipe down (or wash) your pet’s feet, legs and belly to remove these chemicals and reduce the risk that your dog will be poisoned after (s)he licks them off of his/her feet or fur. Consider using pet-safe deicers on your property to protect your pets and the others in your neighborhood.

Prevent poisoning: Clean up any antifreeze spills quickly, as even small amounts of antifreeze can be deadly. Make sure your pets don’t have access to medication bottles, household chemicals, potentially toxic foods such as onions, xylitol (a sugar substitute) and chocolate.

Avoid ice: When walking your dog, stay away from frozen ponds, lakes and other water. You don’t know if the ice will support your dog’s weight, and if your dog breaks through the ice it could be deadly. And if this happens and you instinctively try to save your dog, both of your lives could be in jeopardy.

Make some noise: A warm vehicle engine can be an appealing heat source for outdoor and feral cats, but it’s deadly. Check underneath your car, bang on the hood, and honk the horn before starting the engine to encourage feline hitchhikers to abandon their roost under the hood.

Stay home: Hot cars are a known threat to pets, but cold cars also pose significant risk to your pet’s health. You’re already familiar with how a car can rapidly cool down in cold weather; it becomes like a refrigerator, and can rapidly chill your pet. Pets that are young, old, ill, or thin are particularly susceptible to cold environments and should never be left in cold cars. Limit car travel to only that which is necessary, and don’t leave your pet unattended in the vehicle.

Provide shelter: We don’t recommend keeping any pet outside for long periods of time, but if you are unable to keep your dog inside during cold weather, provide him/her with a warm, solid shelter against wind. Make sure that they have unlimited access to fresh, non-frozen water (by changing the water frequently or using a pet-safe, heated water bowl). The floor of the shelter should be off of the ground (to minimize heat loss into the ground) and the bedding should be thick, dry and changed regularly to provide a warm, dry environment. The door to the shelter should be positioned away from prevailing winds. Space heaters and heat lamps should be avoided because of the risk of burns or fire. Heated pet mats should also be used with caution because they are still capable of causing burns.

Recognize problems: If your pet is whining, shivering, seems anxious, slows down or stops moving, seems weak, or starts looking for warm places to burrow, get them back inside quickly because they are showing signs of hypothermia. Frostbite is harder to detect, and may not be fully recognized until a few days after the damage is done. If you suspect your pet has hypothermia or frostbite, consult your veterinarian immediately.

Be prepared: Cold weather also brings the risks of severe winter weather, blizzards and power outages. Prepare a disaster/emergency kit, and include your pet in your plans. Have enough food, water and medicine (including any prescription medications as well as heartworm and flea/tick preventives) on hand to get through at least 5 days.

Feed well: Keep your pet at a healthy weight throughout the winter. Some pet owners feel that a little extra weight gives their pet some extra protection from cold, but the health risks associated with that extra weight don’t make it worth doing. Watch your pet’s body condition and keep them in the healthy range. Outdoor pets will require more calories in the winter to generate enough body heat and energy to keep them warm – talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s nutritional needs during cold weather.

Speak out if you see a pet left in the cold: If you encounter a pet left in the cold, politely let the owner know you're concerned. If they don't respond well, document what you see: the date, time, exact location and type of animal, plus as many details as possible. Video and photographic documentation (even a cell phone photo) will help bolster your case. Then contact your local animal control agency or county sheriff's office and present your evidence. Take detailed notes regarding whom you speak with and when. Respectfully follow up in a few days if the situation has not been remedied

Toys Safety Guidelines

It’s the most popular time of the year for buying toys for little one. Toys are the treasures of childhood. But if you're not careful, toys can be hazardous, too. Each year, numbers of kids are treated in hospital emergency departments for toy-related injuries. Choking is a particular risk for kids ages 5 or younger, because they tend to put objects in their mouths. To keep your child or a child you’re buying for safe, follow these guidelines when choosing toys.

Pick Age-Appropriate Toys: Most toys show a "recommended age" sticker, which can be used as a starting point in the selection process. Be realistic about your child's abilities and maturity level when choosing an age-appropriate toy. Toys that have projectiles, for example, are never suitable for a child under age 4 – and even some 6-year-olds aren't mature enough to handle them. Likewise, if your 3-year-old still puts everything into his mouth, wait a little longer to give him toys and games with small parts and pieces.

Choose toys that are well-made: Used toys passed down from older relatives or siblings or bought at yard sales can be worn or frayed, which can sometimes be dangerous. Check all toys – new or used – for buttons, batteries, yarn, ribbons, eyes, beads, and plastic parts that could easily be chewed or snapped off. Make sure a stuffed animal's tail is securely sewn on and the seams of the body are reinforced. Parts on other toys should be securely attached. Make sure there are no sharp edges and the paint is not peeling.

Think big. Until your child turns 3, toy parts should be bigger than his mouth to prevent the possibility of choking. To determine whether a toy poses a choking risk, try fitting it through a toilet paper roll. If a toy or part of a toy can fit inside the cylinder, it's not safe.

Make sure your child is physically ready for the toy. For example, parents of older kids may buy a bike one size too big so as not to have to buy a new bike the next year. This tactic can lead to serious injury if a child doesn't have the physical skills to control the bigger bike.

Make sure a toy isn't too loud for your child. The noise of some rattles, squeak toys, and musical or electronic toys can be as loud as a car horn — even louder if a child holds it directly to the ears — and can contribute to hearing damage

Avoid toys with small magnets. The CPSC calls magnets a hidden home hazard. Small, powerful magnets are often used in toys, and they may fall out of the toy and be swallowed by a child. Two or more swallowed magnets (or a magnet and a metal object) can be attracted to each other through intestinal walls, twisting and pinching the intestines and causing holes, blockages, infection, or worse if not discovered and treated promptly. Between 2009 and 2011, the CPSC received reports of 22 accidents involving children who swallowed magnets, including 11 incidents that resulted in surgery. The agency recommends keeping toys with magnets away from kids under the age of 14.

Watch out for toxic toys. Even when you find a toy that seems safe, you'll want to be sure it's not made with chemicals that can harm your child. Phthalates, or "plasticizers," are used to make plastic more flexible and durable, and these chemicals are found in many toys. Cadmium, lead, mercury, and arsenic are other chemicals you can find in everything from dolls and action figures to children's jewelry and stuffed animals.

Keeping Toys Safe at Home: After you've bought safe toys, it's also important to make sure kids know how to use them. The best way to do this is by supervising play. Playing with your kids teaches them how to play safely while having fun.

Parents should:

Teach kids to put toys away.

Check toys regularly to make sure that they aren't broken or unusable:

Wooden toys shouldn't have splinters.

Bikes and outdoor toys shouldn't have rust.

Stuffed toys shouldn't have broken seams or exposed removable parts.

Throw away broken toys or repair them right away.

Store outdoor toys when they're not in use so that they are not exposed to rain or snow.

And be sure to keep toys clean. Some plastic toys can be cleaned in the dishwasher, but read the manufacturer's directions first. Another option is to mix antibacterial soap or a mild dishwashing detergent with hot water in a spray bottle and use it to clean toys, rinsing them afterward.

Reporting Unsafe Toys: Check the CPSC website for the latest information about toy recalls or call their hotline at (800) 638-CPSC to report a toy you think is unsafe. If you have any doubt about a toy's safety, err on the side of caution and do not allow your child to play with it.

Source: http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/safe-toys.html#

Winter Home Maintenance

Stay ahead of ice dams. Ice dams form because the edges of a home’s roof are colder than the upper regions (where more insulation is below), causing ice to form around the eaves. Snow melts above, and the melted snow backs up behind a “dam” of ice, potentially causing leaks and permanent damage to the roof and home (Hint: Prevention is far easier than treatment!) 

Before winter weather sets in:
Remove debris from gutters — water can back up, causing leaks and ice dams or damage to your roof and siding.
Inspect and upgrade attic insulation and ventilation.
Purchase a roof rake.
Remove snow as quickly as possible after storms — use your roof rake to regularly remove snow from the roof of your home (or hire someone to do this for you).

What to do if you notice the beginnings of an ice dam:
Carefully remove snow and ice if possible without damaging roof and gutters.
If you have heat cables, turn them on. Heat cables cannot prevent or fully remove ice dams, but can melt enough of the ice to create a channel for water to flow out, preventing some damage.

2. Keep an eye on trees. Big snowfalls and ice can settle onto tree limbs, making them heavy and more prone to breaking — which can be especially dangerous if a tree is within reach of your house. Ease the burden on your trees by brushing off snow after each snowfall, using a broom to extend your reach. Don’t shake the tree to remove snow, since this can cause brittle limbs to break. 

3. Keep paths cleared of snow and ice. Regular shoveling (or snow blowing) is the best way to keep walkways, driveways and sidewalks safe and ice-free all winter. Keep some pet- and plant-safe ice melt or sand on hand to provide traction on stairs and other slippery areas.

4. Have your fireplace cleaned. If you haven’t done so yet, have your fireplace cleaned by a certified chimney sweep. Regular cleaning is a necessary safety measure for wood-burning fireplaces and wood stoves, since buildup of creosote (from past fires) inside the chimney can potentially cause a house fire. Gas fireplaces should be checked too —even though gas is a clean-burning fuel, there could be an old nest or other debris blocking the chimney.

5. Prevent frozen pipes. Because water expands as it freezes, frozen pipes can burst, leading to extensive water damage and costly repairs. 

Steps to prevent pipes from freezing in winter:
Insulate pipes — at least those by windows and doors, and in unheated areas of the home.
Disconnect your hose from the outside hose bib (outside faucet).
If prone to freezing, leave faucets dripping slightly — the theory is that running water does not freeze.
Keep the heat set no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit when you are away.

Too late? Here’s what to do if a pipe freezes:
Turn on the tap of the frozen pipe and leave it open while treating the pipe.
Allow warm air to flow safely to the affected area — always use any heat source (electric heating pad, blow dryer, space heater) safely to avoid potential harm and damage to your home and its occupants.
If you’ve found one frozen pipe, check all the taps in the house — if only a drip comes out, there is likely another frozen pipe.
If you cannot access the frozen pipe, or if your efforts to thaw it do not work, call us and our licensed plumber will come help.

6. Protect entryway flooring. Between tracked-in snow, ice, road salt and sand, entryway floors can really take a beating in the winter. Increase the longevity of your flooring by using floor mats both inside and outside each entrance to your home. Provide a boot scraper or brush outside for removing excess snow, and a waterproof tray inside for placing wet shoes and boots.

7. Check your emergency supplies. With snow and ICE comes more potential for power outages — be prepared with fresh bottled water, shelf-stable foods, flashlights and batteries, first-aid supplies and a hand-cranked radio and smartphone charger.

8. Keep heating system running smoothly. If you notice any strange new noises coming from your heaters, or if one area of the house suddenly seems colder, have the system looked at by us right away, as these can be signs something is wrong. Make sure to change the air filters in your furnace regularly.

9. Check batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly. This is especially important during winter, when we keep windows closed and use wood-burning stoves and fireplaces more often. Make sure you have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in each bedroom, on each floor of the house and in the kitchen. Check detectors monthly and change batteries as needed.

10. Stop cold air from getting in. Feel a cold breeze? Take action in early winter as soon as you notice a problem. Boost your home’s energy efficiency and stop cold air in its tracks with these tips: Check and repair caulking around doors and windows and anywhere something penetrates a wall, like outside faucets and air vents. Check weatherstripping on doors and windows. Lastly, seal cracks in foundation walls.

We hope these maintenance tips help you get your home ready for the cold temperatures, ice and snow we have in store for us! Also, if you have any heating, plumbing, ductwork problems and services make sure to give us a call or use the app and we will have one of our certified technicians/plumber out to your house! P.S. we have great Christmas specials going on until December 31, 2016.