The Beauty of Biking

Ready to enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors? There’s nothing quite like feeling the wind in your hair and the sunshine on your face – especially after the extra time indoors this winter. So why not pull out the bikes from their wintertime hiding place and take a ride? There are lots of reasons to make this healthy activity part of your springtime routine:

  1. Biking around your neighborhood or to work produces endorphins that provide a sense of well-being to get you through your day.
  2. Biking strengthens your thighs, hips – and tush! When biking up hills, arms and upper body  become stronger, too.
  3. People with back pains, muscle strains, knee or foot problems can find relief. Biking is gentle on joints and preserves cartilage. It’s an excellent way to stay active. Not great with balance? Try a three-wheeled bicycle for those who need a little extra support.
  4. Ride instead of drive. If you are close enough to work or school, take your bike instead of the car. You’ll save loads on gas and may even drop a few pounds.

The benefits of exercise extend beyond your wallet with better overall health. So get active this spring!

Snoopy-Bike-1a

Picture from camelcitydispatch.com.

What Secrets is Your Air Conditioner Not Telling You

It’s nearly scandalous.  We get phone calls during spring for a variety of service reasons.  Sometimes the whole repair could’ve been avoided if you’d been listening to your AC’s secrets.  Here’s what I mean:

Funny noises that aren’t funny.  Sometimes a homeowner will hear these noises at start up, but then they go away, so they assume all is ‘ok.’  Then the noises last longer or get louder, and most homeowners have numbed themselves into believing, “Oh, it just does that.”

Could be a loose damper, which is very easily fixed.  Or maybe a bearing is going bad.  A tiny little ball designed to reduce friction has quit doing that, and the machine is screaming in protest for some attention.  If you don’t fix it the machine can and will often self-destruct the bearing assembly.

As you would imagine, not cheap.  Yet if caught in time, a shot of lubricant or another quick fix could’ve avoided the whole thing.

“My house is having hot flashes.”  This is your A/C whispering for a little TLC.  When one room is warmer than another – by say more than 3 degrees – that means there’s a correctable flaw in the system.  Blockage, duct venting or maybe a different diffuser could take care of this annoyance very easily.

The thing is, don’t “just get used to it” when you’re paying to be comfortable in your home!  Seriously, let us check it out.  This is what we do.

Bottom Line: The longer you ignore you A/C’s little secrets, the more they grow to potentially drain your wallet.  So let us come out to help soothe your system and bring your system and bring you the comfort you both deserve.  All it takes is a good listener.Cooling System

50 Ways your Home can Save the Earth – A Good to be Home Infographic

Reduce your negative impact on the environment and improve your well being with 50 ways your home can save the earth.

Just a note: I apologize for the metric system measurements.  The source is from the United Kingdom.50-ways-your-home-could-save-the-earth

Source: 50 Ways your Home can Save the Earth – A Good to be Home Infographic

Telemarketing Sales Rule

Did you know that there are rules telemarketers are required to follow?  Here are some Telemarketing Sales Rules and what restrictions are included with their telemarketing activity.

  • Telemarketers must receive express, informed, verifiable consent from the individual (on the phone) before submitting billing information for payment.  This authorization can be in the form of 1. written and signed authorization from the consumer, 2. audio-recorded verbal confirmation from the consumer, 3. clear, written confirmation of the transaction sent to the consumer via mail prior to billing the consumer’s account.
  • “The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) amended the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) to give consumers a choice about whether they want to receive most telemarketing calls. As of October 1, 2003, it became illegal for most telemarketers or sellers to call a number listed on the National Do Not Call Registry.”  However, “the National Do Not Call Registry does not limit calls by political organizations, charities, or telephone surveyors.”
  • Telemarketers must explain any restrictions on purchase or use, total cost of the service or products being offered, and that a sale is final or nonrefundable before asking for payment.
  • Telemarketing calls can only be made between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
  • Telemarketers must identify the organization or sellers that they serve  and that the call is a sales call before making announcing their spiel.

Air leaks

DIY: The Perfect Room

It’s true, not everyone can be Michelangelo and paint the Sistine Chapel.  But, if you’ve got the color, a free weekend and your own two hands, there’s no reason you can’t transform your own home into a DIY masterpiece.

These FAQ’s can put you on the path to painting perfection:

What type of paint is best?

There are two basic types: oil based and water-based paint.  When painting a room, modern water-based paint dries faster, has less odor and has plenty of gloss and wipeability.  You’ll find it hard to go wrong with a matte or eggshell finish.

How much paint do I need?

The general rule is to use one gallon for every 350 square feet or surface area.  Sherwin-Williams.com allows you to type your wall dimensions into their paint calculator.  Always buy an extra quart for touch-ups later on.

What about a primer?

There is no need for primer unless walls are badly stained, marked up with spackle from patching or you’re painting a light color over a dark one.

What’s the step-by-step?

  • Clean dusty ceiling corners and baseboards.
  • Apply painter’s tape.  Start in a corner and take your time tearing off tape strips (about 2-3 feet long).
  • Put down drop cloths.
  • Before you lift a roller, “cut” all corners in the room.  Roll away!

Painting Supplies

Storm Preparation Tips

Storms in Nebraska is like snow in Alaska.  It’s inevitable.  Especially, with Nebraska being in the direct path of tornado alley.  Although there are many good things that come from Spring/Summer storms, like April showers binging May flowers and soft trickles of rain that help you sleep (idk, maybe this is only me), storms can also be catastrophic.  Keep in mind these storm tips the next time a storm is predicted to hit your area.

Thinking ahead.  If you know a storm is approaching, before it hits, make sure all unsecured items outside are taken inside.  Some of these items would include, umbrellas, lawn chairs and cushions, garden hoses, tables and garden ornaments.  These items could cause damage to the exterior of your home when the storm does hit, if they are not brought inside or tied down.

Shelter.  Stock your basement, or a lower-level interior room (a room without windows), of your home with these essentials: water, first aid kit, dry foods (i.e. cereal bars, granola, nuts, etc.), radio, blankets/pillows, flashlight, candles/matches, and a portable battery charger for your cell phone.  If a storm takes a turn for the worst, you and your family can safely wait it out more comfortably.

Unplug.  Lightening, as you know, is extremely dangerous to both you and your electronics.  On the positive side, the chances of lightening striking and frying computers, modems, cable boxes, and other important electronics is rare, but why would you take that chance if you don’t need to. Always unplug all electronics before a thunderstorm hits – it’s better to be safe than sorry.  Trust us!  We’ve learned this the hard way.

It’s Alive.  When a spring/summer storm hits in Nebraska, there’s a good chance it will produce lightening and hail. Protect your air conditioner or heat pump (both inside and outside) by turning it off at the thermostat if you see lightening. A surge of electricity can damage your air conditioner/heat pump, capacitor, compressor and motors. Once the storm passes, check for damage and clear debris from your outdoor unit before restarting your air conditioner.  Also note that damaged fins on the unit will inhibit the air flow and will most likely need to be repaired.

We hope you have a happy and safe Spring/Summer with no storm damage.  And, if you need your air conditioner or heat pump checked, serviced or replaced, please give J & R Heating a call at 402-362-5702.

Are You Too Connected?

Smart Phone

Smart phones are arguably the greatest inventions since sliced bread.  We have banking, shopping, social media, and games literally in the palms of our hands.  But is that really a good thing?  Over-use of smart phones can lead to:

  1. Physical injury.  From “text neck” (Google it!) to germs, your phone is not necessarily your friend in terms of health.
  2. Emotional disconnect.  Eyes glued to the screen during dinner?

Know more about your family via Facebook than actual face time?  It’s time to unplug and rekindle real connections with real people.

Smart phones are a great thing, but they can’t take the place of an active life.

Me and my sister being active, or at least trying, and representing J & R Heating with our branded beanies!

Me and my sister being active, or at least trying to be active, and representing J & R Heating with our branded beanies!