Improve the Health and Longevity of your HVAC Unit with Care from Valley Furnace

Valley Furnace makes your comfort their priority.

The days of warmer weather are near and with the temperature change comes a big switch in your home – turning off the heater in exchange for your air conditioner. As things start to warm up outside, it’s the best time to inspect your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) unit.

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Similar to when you’re not feeling well and have symptoms that require you to see a doctor; a broken HVAC system also gives off warning signs that it needs a check-up and maintenance. Don’t ignore these signs for too long as it may lead to more costly repairs. No one wants to be in an uncomfortably warm house for too long anyway. An experienced and knowledgeable technician from Valley Furnace can help diagnose and treat the cause of your HVAC problems.

When your system starts up, there is an unusual odor

A funky smell doesn’t always mean that your HVAC is rotten and full of mold; it could be a simple fix of replacing a dirty air filter. Many different aromas can tell you what’s wrong, like a musty or moldy smell might lead you to find a build-up of condensation in the unit. You may also smell electrical odors (imagine the scent of something overheating). In this case, turn off your unit and check the filter to see if it’s dirty and restricting air flow. Other dangerous smells include rotten eggs and gas. In these instances, you should open the windows to your home, leave and call a technician immediately.

AC constantly blowing and never shuts off

Your system could be running low on refrigerant or has an airflow restriction.

Restricted airflow through the unit

If you have airflow issues, you can usually first tell by hot and cold spots throughout your house. Different signs might include strange things like doors slamming seemingly out of nowhere, strange whistling noises and drafty areas (it’s probably not a ghost, just bad airflow). The obvious sign is no or low airflow coming from your vents or if they’re blowing warm air. Don’t ignore these problems as they can ultimately lead to compressor failure. The compressor acts as the heart of your air conditioner unit and when it goes, so too does your unit.

Water leakage and overflowing drain pan

An AC unit’s drain pan overflowing is one of the most frequent causes of water leakage from a central AC system. This problem is especially more common when the weather gets hotter in the summer. If your HVAC system’s pipes and coils are blocked with dirt, rust or other debris, they can start leaking. You could also have a clogged air filter, low refrigerant or a cracked condensate drain pan. If you see any water leakage or signs of mold you need to call Valley Furnace.

Perform regular maintenance to avoid more significant issues later

  • Not all systems are the same, and there are many variables that determine the frequency of filter changes. Some filter sizes are smaller and might require more frequent changes than bigger ones. When you install a new system or move into a new home, you should check your filter after the first month and then every two to three months.
  • Keep your home’s humidity to 30 to 50 percent consistently to prevent the growth of moisture-born dust mites and mold. High humidity levels can lead to dangerous mold outbreaks that require professional remediation.
  • The average lifespan of an HVAC system is about 15 years, though some can last for another 5 to 10 years if they are adequately maintained on a consistent basis. If you are in the market for an upgraded unit make sure to get one that has earned the ENERGY STAR label which can save you up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs.

Valley Furnace, Inc. is a family-owned and operated company that installs, services and maintains all major brands of heating and cooling systems including heat pumps, ductless heat pumps, gas, and electric furnaces and air conditioners. They perform a variety of maintenance services to protect customers. Maintenance plans allow technicians to find problems before there is an expensive and inconvenient breakdown. By providing customers with unparalleled service and customer care, Valley Furnace has grown to be one of the largest and most respected heating contractor companies in the greater Pierce County area.

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Working with a kitchen contractor: five questions to ask at the consultation

Arlies_Home_RestorationsOnce you’ve decided to remodel your kitchen and you’ve established a budget, the next step to take is securing a contractor. Working with a contractor is putting trust in another person to see your vision and deliver on your design dream. You’re investing your time, money and faith that this project will be executed properly.

You should always first check that your contractor is licensed, insured and has a good reputation. Look for honest reviews online from past clients. Once the contractor passed the first sniff test, you want to come prepared with more in-depth questions during the free consultation and estimate. Before you sign a contract, ask these questions first.

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1.  Can you work within my timeline?

Knowing when your contractor can start and finish a project is critical. During live-in remodels, your house may be in disarray and the refrigerator is in the living room. No one wants to live like that for too long. Before you sign a contract make sure you have discussed the timeline transparently and honestly. You can inquire about the contractor’s current project list and work backlog to get a better understanding of where you fall on their list of clientele.

2.  My budget ranges from $X to $Y, can we get the project complete?

You are in control of your bank account and you know what you’re willing to spend and if you have any wiggle room. But you need to stick to your hard numbers and be upfront with your contractor first. They can help you choose materials based on your budget – not every budget is designed for Calacatta marble shipped from Italy.

3.  Can I supply some of the materials and do some of the work?

You’re great at small home projects and know you’re way around a hammer. Some contractors allow the project owner to have a hand in the project or supply some of their own materials to save on labor costs. But this may go against other contractor’s policies. Check with them first and let them know how hands-on (or off) you want to be.

4.  Can you show me your portfolio?

If you want a quick way to determine if the contractor is a right fit for you, look at their projects. While every project will look different due to customer’s unique tastes and demands, you can get a better understanding of the contractor’s craftsmanship, experience and style by looking through photos of projects. Better yet, if they can show you photos during the project, you can get a glimpse into their cleanliness and organization.

5. What’s the best way to communicate with you?

Consistent communication is a vital part of a successful project. You need to establish a designated point of contact in your family and someone on the contractor’s team. Determine if you will communicate via phone call, email or text message. Also, ask if you can share additional design ideas through Pinterest or other images.

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Arlie’s Home Restorations is a family-owned full-service home improvement company. Arlie Nagel has been working on construction for more than 30 years with experience ranging from small repair jobs to total restorations. Arlie’s Home Restoration’s goal is to provide professional service, competitive pricing and customer satisfaction with every project. They are licensed, bonded and insured.

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#GardenGoals and #YardInspo filling up your social media feeds? Hire a contractor to help you transform your landscape

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From an urban high rise to a small city cottage to a traditional suburban home, millennials are challenging the status quo of gardening. City dwellers have balcony gardens or vertical plant holders for fresh herbs. For some parts of the country, this generation lived through years of drought and the transition of their lush, green backyard to desert landscaping.

According to a CNBC article, homeownership rates for the largest generation in U.S. history is lower than that of their parents and grandparents. Buying a home isn’t the first priority for millennials due to many reasons including student loan debt, personal choice to rent, or because this generation is getting married and settling down older than other generations. But what’s also unique about millennials is that they are in many ways more passionate about food and finding ways to dig into gardening.

Younger couples and individuals are looking for more organic approaches to gardening and lawn care. According to Garden Research’s 2019 national Gardening Survey, millennials have set a record high, making up 29 percent of all gardening households. Gardening is taking up space in the young generation’s consciousness because there is a desire for them to have better access to fresh fruit and vegetables and to feel more in control of the food.

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For millennials who are just learning how to care for their own yard and garden, they are hungry for knowledge and want to be taught how to do things the right way. Landscape contractors often have decades of experience and tried-and-true tips to share that they learned firsthand.

Millennials like to focus on the future, not just what makes their lawn and garden look good now, but how it can be sustainable for years to come. They care about environmentally-friendly and organic materials and will certainly look to non-toxic alternatives for weed control and fertilizer.

With the advent of technology, homeowners can find a video or tutorial for their dream project. But when it comes to expert ideas, knowledge, and execution, a trusted contractor can help build the landscape and garden for any goal, yard size, and vision. Plus, a well-landscaped home will help maintain and build on the home value; curb appeal is a major factor for buyers.

A landscape contractor designs, maintains, repairs and installs landscape systems and facilities for gardens and other areas which are designed to aesthetically and horticulturally improve the ground area. It also includes building garden walls and yard fences, and the installation of non-load bearing slabs and walkways using concrete, brick or other decorative materials.

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So for those young homeowners with a Pinterest board full of #gardengoals, look to a landscape contractor who can make sure you harvest a lush garden and grow an Instagram-worthy yard.

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New Countertop Ideas for Moody Kitchens with Lakewood Countertops

Custom new homes and renovation blueprints start with the simple idea that the homeowner wants it to reflect their personality and style. Psychologists have matched colors to personalities, and even a novice eye can learn a lot about a person based on their unique choices for home design. Besides floors, nothing gets more usage or durability than countertops, so why not let them shine? Whether you want to display warm and cozy or bright and energetic, there’s a countertop for you.

Build a warm and inviting environment with wood

Don’t be afraid of an abundance of wood in your kitchen. Wood countertops can pair beautifully with wood cabinets and flooring by mixing colors and adding in complementary colors and warm metals. From the floor to the countertops to ceiling beams, you can create a warm and inviting kitchen with the functional butcher block wood countertop. Ask Lakewood Countertops about their custom butcher block made with sturdy, durable and beautiful woods like maple, walnut, and teak.

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Energize with lively colors and funky designs

Lakewood Countertops offers Corian Solid Surface countertops offering undulating, virtually seamless, organic shapes, bold effects, and color. With Corian Solid Surface, if you can dream it, you can create it.  Corian allows you to make bold choices with innovative designs and color palettes. It’s a non-porous surface that prevents dirt and stains from penetrating the material and easy to clean, giving you more time for fun in the kitchen and less time cleaning. This picture shows a unique design mixing Corian glacier white and rosemary.

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Whatever your mood wants to be with white

There’s a reason why artists paint on a white canvas. Because there’s nothing you can’t do with it (even layer on different shades of white). With white countertops, you can feel free to change up your kitchen as often as your mood dictates. You can make small changes when you’re craving a fresh boost like new sinks, appliances or cabinets. White countertops give you the flexibility to move toward a peaceful and dreamy mood with soft neutrals, all bright and white throughout, or going with bold cabinets or wall paint. White reflects light and can make the most cramped kitchens feel more spacious. No matter your budget there are plenty of white options for you such as marble, quartz, laminate or an architect’s favorite, white concrete.

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Whatever you envision for your next kitchen project, Lakewood Countertops has the answer. Visit their large showroom in Tacoma and let your mood guide you toward the perfect countertops for your kitchen.

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Leave the tree removal services to the pros at Ranger Tree Experts

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Do not try this at home!

Tree removal and other tree services are not projects to do-it-yourself on the weekend. Ranger Tree Experts offer safe, professional, and reliable services for residential, commercial and municipal clients. They aren’t just in the business of cutting down trees, but instead, they are passionate about trees and are committing to maintaining the integrity and beauty of the greenery on your property.

But tree removal isn’t all the Ranger Tree Experts do. They offer more than a dozen tree services including debris removal, land clearing, and tree and bush trimming. We listed five tree issues or concerns that will prompt you to contact Ranger Tree Experts.

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Tree Stump Removal

Removing a tree stump isn’t a project for just anyone, but requires large equipment and professional experience to do it efficiently and promptly. There are many obvious reasons why you need to remove a tree stump from your yard. They don’t add any cosmetic value to your yard; they’re hazardous, they are difficult to maneuver around when mowing or weeding your yard and a decaying tree is a perfect spot for nasty wood-boring pests like termite and ants.

Tight Quarter Logging

Saving the logs on a marketable tree when possible is the best option for the environment and your bottom line. After logging a tree, you can keep this for lumber projects, firewood or selling. When you need to do this process in your backyard where there are nearby structures like your home, neighbor’s property or other trees and shrubbery, you need to have this tree removed with precision and safety. Removing a tree that you want to preserve the lumber for in this kind of space is called “tight quarter logging.” Ranger Tree Experts have cranes of all sizes to assist in their zero-impact removals. They also have a rubber tracked compact loader capable of carrying 8,000-pound logs with an overall ground pressure equivalent of an adult walking. Basically, this process means moving four tons of wood on your property without doing any more damage than a person walking across the yard. Now that’s remarkable.

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Stability Thinning

Powerful storms happen year round which means you need to maintain a tree’s stability so that branches don’t break off and damage your car or property. A tree expert can assess your trees’ susceptibility to high winds and if they are in danger of toppling over. Most solutions for helping your trees survive a storm are inexpensive and straightforward. By relieving a tree of unnecessary weight, also called stability thinning, you can keep your beautiful trees and significantly reduce the risk of snapping in a storm. Never have your trees topped which will cause more harm and hazards by starting a process that leads to decay, dangerous secondary tops, and abnormal limb overgrowth.

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Storm Cleanups

Sometimes accidents happen, even if we took the necessary precautions. Or perhaps we are unaware of the potential dangers of certain trees after it’s too late. After a storm, you may need help cleaning up large debris like fallen trees. Ranger Tree Experts are ready when you need them in an emergency. Their 60-ton crane and the compact loader will pull trees off of your house, and they’ll add a tarp to the roof for temporary protection until you can get a professional roofer to fix the damage.

If your tree concern wasn’t listed above, contact Ranger Tree Experts anyways because they are fully equipped to handle any matter large or small.

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Three unique ideas to get your garden buzzing no matter your skill level

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The gardening industry is worth billions of dollars in America and there are plenty of resources available like magazines, blogs (like ours!), TV shows and experts to help inspire your dream garden. But sometimes it’s hard to just… well, get started. If you want to do more with your outdoor space but you’re not quite sure where to begin, here are three unique ideas to inspire your back yard.

If you need assistance with landscaping services like garden design, installing water features, or lawn care and yard maintenance, Cedar County Landscaping is staffed with trained, professional and courteous technicians to help you give your garden a professional eye and hand.

Create a secluded retreat

Imagine a quaint space just big enough for two that includes a simple water feature, lush plants and an overhead enclosure for shade like an arbor or pergola. You can create the space of your dreams with two comfortable chairs and a small bistro table or a cushioned outdoor loveseat. Add outdoor string lights on your arbor for soft romantic lighting.

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Grow food in limited space

Is there anything better than a bite out of a fresh, juicy tomato straight from your garden? What about a crispy salad made from your lettuce, cucumbers, and fresh herbs? Everyone loves the idea of having a lush garden full of fresh fruits and vegetables, but it’s not always feasible based on the yard size or budget. And let’s face it, planting and growing a successful garden to harvest a meal can take a lot of time. However, there are many ways you can have fresh produce from your yard with simple, time-saving methods.

  • Simply start by planting tomatoes in a pot that you can keep on your front or back porch.
  • Include ornamental edibles in your existing gardens such as kale, arugula, swiss chard, carrots, and
  • If you’re short on space or only want easy maintenance, consider hanging planters on your patio or growing delicious, fragrant herbs indoors using a vertical planter.

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Pollinator gardens

Many people are concerned about the environment and are aware of the peril that bees and butterflies face. The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge is a nationwide call to action to create gardens and landscapes that help revive the health of bees, butterflies, birds and other pollinators across America.

To get your pollinator garden started you need to use plants that are valuable pollen sources such as bright, attractive flowers or trees such as willows, tulip trees, poplars, elderberry, and cherry. When planting flowers think ahead in terms of the full growing season to establish a continuous bloom that benefits pollinators all growing season long.

For example, early spring plants include wild lupine, penstemon and fireweed. In the summer try mints, bergamot and sunflowers, and in the late season plant aster and goldenrod. Plant flowers in clusters to help the bees be more efficient and include a water source nearby. Remember to plant your pollinator garden in the sunniest spot in your yard.

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Feeling inspired? Cedar County Landscaping specializes in creating landscapes that are both beautiful and functional outdoor living.

 

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Fleet or personal vehicle, keep your company car in working order

Contractors and business owners rely on company vehicles to meet goals, deadlines and customer satisfaction. If your work vehicle or equipment goes down, so too does your work. Without a proper vehicle your business will fall off track to meet deadlines, and your bank account will take a hit with the significant repairs. Responsible owners and drivers know to take precautionary measures to meet federal and state regulations and car safety guidelines. As any driver and operator know, proper and regular maintenance is critical to keep the business running smoothly.

With local companies like Sterling Automotive Service and H&H Diesel Repair, you can feel confident that your equipment and vehicles will be repaired and adequately maintained, keeping your business on track.

Sterling Automotive Service is a family owned and operated full-service auto repair facility committed to providing quality automotive repair that is convenient, expedient and reasonably priced. Their mechanics are ASE-certified to provide accurate vehicle repairs when you need them. They combine skill with integrity using the latest in diagnostic technology to get you on the road safely and quickly.

H&H Diesel Repair provides quality parts, diesel injection service and diesel truck repair using the latest in modern techniques and practices. Their highly trained and experienced staff offers road service and pick-up and delivery upon request. Their drive-in support includes vehicle emissions and diagnostics, troubleshooting and repair services, scheduled maintenance and fuel injection component testing.

Fleet maintenance services

Companies across the Puget Sound rely on fleet vehicles to accomplish their business goals. When companies rely on vehicles and equipment, a lot rides on proper working machinery. A company fleet can consist of one or two delivery trucks that transport good and services locally or hundreds of trucks that travel cross country.

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Take precautionary measures to protect your vehicle from unexpected breakdowns and costly repairs. Some things to consider are having your problem injector tested by the trusted professionals at H&H Diesel. Whether it’s a traditional mechanical injector, an electronic injector or the latest high-pressure common rail, H&H Diesel has the latest factory equipment and expert mechanics to troubleshoot your injector performance.

According to the State of Washington Department of Ecology (DOE), fleet vehicles manufactured before 2009 require annual emission testing, and federal government and privately-owned fleet vehicles only need to be tested every other year. Sterling Automotive Service offers the only mobile fleet emissions testing in Washington state that is authorized by the DOE. They are conveniently available to travel anywhere in Washington to test on site in the early mornings, evenings and weekends, and can test up to 50 vehicles in one day.

In 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) required diesel engine manufacturers to ensure that vehicles cannot run without quality diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), a non-hazardous solution to keep emissions clean. It breaks down dangerous NOx emissions into harmless nitrogen and water. It is not a fuel additive and is stored in a separate tank on the truck. DEF has a shelf life of two years, but after the DEF container is opened it should not be exposed to sunlight nor after its expiration date. It should be discarded if not used. It’s imperative that a truck does not run out of DEF or it will shut down. Contact H&H Diesel for more information on DEF.

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Using personal vehicles for work

If you’re using your personal vehicle for work, it’s critical that you help prevent any risk of engine damage or faulty machinery. If you work for a ride-hailing service your vehicle is your office and your most valuable equipment. While making money, your car, truck or van is working hard to keep you and your passengers safe, so it’s important to take care of your vehicle.

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One of the most important features to regularly check is your tires. If you run over glass or a nail, you may experience a slow leak that over time can damage your tire. Worn tires are more likely to be prone to blowouts. During a monthly checkup, examine your tires for tread wear. Place a penny between the treads, and if the tread doesn’t extend beyond Lincoln’s head, it may be time to get a new tire. You also need to ensure your levels aren’t low for engine coolant, motor oil, and transmission fluid. You can have all of your fluids and oil checked and tuned up at Sterling Automotive Service.

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Whether your operation is small or large, taking proper precautionary steps and maintenance checks will ensure your fleet is in top working order to keep your business running smoothly.

 

 

 

 

 

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