DIY Solutions for Common HVAC Problems

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HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Essentially, your HVAC system maintains a comfortable temperature within your home, by cycling air in and out of your home.

Your HVAC system works hard every day, without a break, cooling exterior air and removing warm air from inside. As such, it will occasionally face some problems with or without regularly scheduled maintenance. While some HVAC problems will require a professional repair company, a competent homeowner can fix other issues and perform maintenance duties on the unit.

Common problems generally come from dirty or clogged air filters, clogged drains in your HVAC system, debris from around the outside unit, or low refrigerant. Like any technological, hard-working system, regularly maintenance is highly advised. Below are some common HVAC problems that, fortunately, have do-it-yourself solutions.

Dirty or Clogged Air Filter

One of the simplest and most common problems with any HVAC system comes from a dirty or clogged air filter. Since it’s recommended that you change your air filter every 3-4 months, neglecting to do so means your system isn’t running at its top efficiency. Think of it like removing lint from your dryer, but on a grander scale. The passage of air is what makes the HVAC capable of cooling or heating your home.

If your HVAC unit becomes clogged, airflow slows down or may even come to a complete stop. This can also cause your system to shutdown or even breakdown completely. To avoid being forced to pay for a new system sooner than necessary, take the time to change your filter every 3-4 months, or more frequently if you live in a dusty area or have pets that also live in the home.

Clogged Drains

In addition to cleaning out shower drains and sinks, your HVAC unit also has a drainage system that can get clogged if neglected for too long. If your HVAC system’s drains get clogged, it’s possible that this could lead to major water damage, which can be one of the most complicated and costly repairs for a home.

If you notice a leak near your air conditioner, make sure to address the problem immediately. If it looks like you can fix the problem yourself, go ahead and get out the wet-dry vacuum to clean the drain line. Then, run a water hose through the line to make sure it’s clear. If the job looks more complicated than a quick fix, call a professional to make sure the job is done right.

Remove Debris from Outside Unit

Similar to cleaning your air filter, it’s also important to clean the area around the exterior unit. If nothing else, make sure there are no piles of leaves or excess dirt around the base of the unit and trim back shrubbery to increase airflow. If the exterior unit is too crowded, the system can become overworked just trying to find air to bring into the home.

For those who want to take this a step further, take some time to remove the cage from your exterior unit and clean it with a garden hose or brush. The more air that circulates in and out of your home, the better your HVAC system will run year-round. This type of job should also be performed regularly.

Preventative Maintenance

All in all, preventative maintenance is key for any homeowner. Similar to changing filters and oil on your vehicle, an HVAC system requires regular maintenance and inspections to work well consistently. This means checking filters, cleaning debris from the exterior unit, and cleaning the drainage system.

Some weekend handymen might want to take their inspections a step further, but most HVAC problems come from clogged drains and dirty filters. If you’re not experienced with electricity, it’s not a good idea to dive into fixing more complicated issues, such as faulty wiring or low refrigerant problems.

For Freon leaks or any other signs that you might need to change your AC unit, make sure to call a professional to come out and evaluate your HVAC problems. Since your air conditioning system is likely the most expensive and most used device in your home, maintain what you can and call a professional for larger, more difficult jobs.

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Give Your Home Buyer Appeal

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If you want to have buyers flocking to your doorstep the second the all-important for sale sign goes up, before you do anything else, you need to improve the appearance of your home from the outside in.

Most people will spend some time improving the inside of our property before we put it on the market, and that’s important for sure, but fewer people ever bother to do any DIY on the outside of our homes before they go on sale. This is a big mistake because, after all, first impressions are important and the first thing buyers will see isn’t your expensive kitchen or comfy lounge it’s the building itself.

Here are a few things you can do to give your home buyer appeal from the second they set eyes on it:

Repaint the Front Door

The front door is one of the first things buyers will see and get up close with, that means that it needs to look good. If the paint on your door is peeling, or simply painted an unappealing color, it will put people off, so add a new coat of paint, and perhaps a shiny new handle or knocker to start things off right.

Install Siding

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If you have a decent budget to bring your house up to standard before you sell, you might want to consider home siding installation as an option. It, more than almost anything else will have your home looking as good as new, which will attract buyers from far and wide. If your home already has siding, before you sell, ensure that you thoroughly clean it with a power washer, to stop it appearing old and grimy.

Tidy Up the Garden

If the garden is unkempt, it’s only natural for buyers to think that maybe the rest of the house will be in a similar state of disrepair, which along with the work it’ll take to get the garden looking good, could put them off even seeing your home. So, roll up your sleeves, pull up the weeds, mow the lawn and get the garden at least looking tidy.

Light the Way

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If you’re going to have people viewing your property in the evenings, it might be a good idea to install a couple of lanterns on either side of the front door. They’ll help to light their way, and the soft light will make the whole house, including the garden, look a little bit more magical.

Clean the Windows

Dirty windows might not equal a dirty home and a lack of maintenance, but buyers don’t know that, so if you don’t want them to make negative judgments about your home before they get through the door, keep on top of your window cleaning duties inside and out.

Create an Impressive Entrance

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Finally, do your best to create an impressive entrance to your property, whether that be installing a pretty wrought iron fence, ensuring that your wall is in good condition, or lining the driveway with lots of pretty trees, this will make your property more inviting to potential buyers, making it easier for you to sell your home.

Have you sold your home recently? Did you update your exterior to attract buyers?


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Cozy on a Budget

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Your home should be more than just the place where your bed is – it should be a retreat away from the rest of the world where you can put your feet up, relax and unwind after a busy day of working, running errands and looking after the kids. This is something that can only be achieved if your home is as comfortable and cozy as it is possible for a home to be.

Creating a cozy home might seem like a massive undertaking, especially if your property is currently feeling a bit clinical and unloved, but there are actually a lot of very small, affordable things you can do to give your home more warmth and make it a more comfy place to be, on a budget. Here are some cozy on a budget ideas to get you started:

Lots of Layers

One of the easiest and most affordable ways of making your home feel cozier is by simply adding lots of layers to your space. Adding rugs to your floors, blankets to your couch and lots of pillows, cushions, and blankets to your beds will make the whole place feel all warm and snuggly, so much so that you simply won’t want to leave in the morning.

Paint with Warm Colors

A quick fix to instantly lift your home from cold and clinical to warm and inviting is to do away with cool-colored walls and replace them with paint that is warm and inviting. Ideally, you should go for muted shades of brown, yellow, orange or even cream if you want to inject some real warmth into any room.

The Right Curtains

Most people don’t think too much about the curtains they use, but they can make all the difference to the look and feel of a room. Dark curtains are particularly good at creating a cozy atmosphere, especially if they are thick, lined and textured, but curtains in lighter colors can also add to the warmth of rooms where the window is south-facing. So, it’s just a matter of going around your home and working out which curtains will work best in which rooms.

Better Bedding

The bedroom is perhaps the most important place to make cozier simply because it is the place where you go to relax, sleep and rejuvenate after a long day. Luckily, making the bedroom cozier can be as simple as changing your bedding. Instead of putting up with uncomfortable, scratchy sheets, invest in a good cotton set, and instead of an uncomfortable man-made comforter, go for a down version. Finish off with comforter cover that features a cute and inviting pattern and your bedroom will instantly be more comfortable than it was just a few minutes before.

Don’t Leave Out the Lighting

Lighting is more important than many people gift it credit for. Sure, we all know that lighting is important for enabling us to go about our daily lives when the sun sets, but few people realize just how much the right kind of lighting can set the mood.

If you want to create a cozy, inviting ambiance in your home, I would recommend installing dimmer switches, so that you can always use the lighting to set the tone for what you are doing and avoid being exposed to harsh lighting, which can make it more difficult to relax.

I would also suggest that you invest in lots of candles. The soft, warm lighting that they give off is great for changing the mood in any room to one of relaxation, romance or coziness. If you buy scented candles, then choosing soothing aromas like chamomile and lavender, can make the experience of candle light even better than it was before.

Think About Flowers

Adding flowers to the home is a great way to add color, beauty, and warmth to a home. Houses that have lots of fresh flowers dotted around the place just feel more pleasant to be in. Of course, if you want something more economical, going for long-lasting houseplants, instead is also a great way to up your home’s coziness factor and you’ll also benefit from their air purifying properties too.

Create a Quiet Corner

If you live in a busy family home, finding a quiet nook or corner where you can relax is a great way to make, the place feel cozier. This can be as simple as placing a comfy, easy chair in the corner of the living room, or if you have the space, it could mean transforming a spare room into a relaxation room complete with your favorite books, furniture, and relaxing music. You could even transform a shed or summerhouse into a cozy nook if that’s a possibility.

A Log Burner

This will eat up a bit more of your budget than the other things on the list, but if your property is conducive to installing a proper log burning fire, there are few things I can think of that would be better at creating a warm, cozy atmosphere, especially in winter, when the family can gather round the fire, toast marshmallows and tell spooky stories. It really is one of the best things you can do to make your home feel comfier and it’ll probably save you money on utilities in the long term anyway!

Give Your Home a Soul

Of course, if you want your home to be really cozy and inviting, you should fill it with the objects that you really love and which bring personality to your home. A really basic way to do this is by adding feature wallpaper to as many rooms of the home as possible, on just one or two walls. You could also fill the place with personal family photos for a quick injection of soul.

If you have a slightly bigger budget, investing in beautiful artworks you love, trinkets that say something about your personality or a few quirky pieces of antique furniture will help to give your home a more welcoming personality that will ensure that you really, truly love the place.


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Is Your Garden Ready For Summer?

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The days are getting longer, gardens are getting greener, and the weather’s getting warmer. Now that we’re right on the edge of summer, your garden is really about to come into its own. With the sun out, it’s going to form an extension of your home: a little more space where you can entertain guests and relax with your family. If your garden has started looking pretty poor over the bulk of the year, here are a few effective ways to refresh it.

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Start Planting Wisely

Around this time of year, plants are going to be shooting up rapidly, and it’s easy for a garden to become overgrown in no time at all. With this in mind, a wise planting scheme can pay off massively. Low-maintenance, Mediterranean herbs such as sage, thyme and rosemary are all great in hot climates, and can survive for long periods of time without needing any watering. They also come in handy in the kitchen, of course! Other low-maintenance plants such as spiky yuccas and hebes will thrive with dry soil and a lot of sun.

Create an Entertainment Area

Obviously, you don’t want to let the summer pass you by without making the most of it with barbecues and other opportunities for entertaining your friends and family. If the space you usually use for this is looking really worn out, one of the best ways to spruce it up is laying new paving. A big, contoured patio with contemporary design sensibilities can totally transform even the roughest-looking gardens. Obviously, the summer isn’t going to be here forever, but you can still add some temporary features to make the most of it, like an easy-to-assemble gazebo or an inflatable pool with seats.

Let There Be Light

We’ve all had times where we’ve enjoyed relaxing in a comfortable garden long into the night, but this can be tough if you’re finding it hard to see your hand in front of your face! There are a range of garden lighting options you can choose from, ranging from little solar lamps to garish floodlights. Smaller solar lights can be positioned almost anywhere in the garden, and will create a low, ambient glow. This makes it easy to accent certain areas of the garden and outline garden pathways. However, if you were planning to light up a fairly large area for entertaining guests, they can quickly become expensive.

Leave Room for Nature

Birds, bees and butterflies all have a part to play in the landscape and ambiance of a garden, so leave at least a little room for them in your green patch. Try incorporating a more varied planting scheme with a fair concentration of nectar-giving flowers and plants. Butterflies in particular love cottage garden plants such as honey suckle, Sweet William, and buddleia. Birds, on the other hand, will go wherever there’s food, water and shelter, so start attracting them with feeders, baths and houses. After setting up a few of these simple features, your garden will be brimming with life.


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Remove The Hassle From Painting With These Suggestions

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Painting any home can become hard work if you’ve never done it before. Sometimes people have to cover the walls in many coats before they’re ready. Thankfully, there is some advice on this page that could remove all the hassle. People who follow the process outlined below could complete the job in only a couple of days. When all’s said and done, who wants to spend a week getting their house ready?

Clean the walls first

It’s sensible to clean walls before painting. That should help to remove any dirt and grime that could cause the new coat to flake away. Use water and a cloth for the best results. The job should take no longer than an hour.

Cover the walls in white paint

As mentioned previously, sometimes people have to use many costs before their walls look perfect. Even so, adding a coat of white paint first can make a significant difference. That is especially the case when homeowners go from dark to light shades.

Use a sprayer

There is an infographic at the bottom of this page that gives more information about maintaining a paint sprayer. Get on from the local DIY store and use it instead of brushes. Sprayers will cover a larger surface area, and so they speed the job.

Decorating any house is the first step towards making it feel like home. However, nobody wants to work too hard. Also, most people can’t afford to pay for professional services. So, the tips and tricks outlined in this article should make a vast improvement.

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(Not So) Subtle Ways To Improve Your Home

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If you’re a homeowner, you know that the work is never really finished on your quest to getting the perfect home. Most of these details are small, however, and don’t take up too much time or effort. However, every now and again we need to think about the big things, the things that can really change the feel of a room. The good news is that these big tasks can really improve your home – and its value – so get to work!


Boosting the Light

The lighting in a room dictates the entire mood, and there’s no getting around it. It’s not always a priority for people, however, and sometimes it’s one of those things that gets pushed to the back of the mind, even when it’s so important! Different seasons require different lighting, too, so it’s good to have two plans in place. In summer, you should be aiming to make the most of natural light. In winter, your rooms should be warm and cosy. It can be difficult to change lighting, especially if new wires are needed, but it’s a worthwhile project.

Having the Right Windows

Most people don’t tend to notice the windows of a room, but they do play a big role in dictating the atmosphere. If your windows are old then it’ll show, and you’ll almost certainly be losing more heat than you’d like to be losing. The best window brands also keep one eye on the aesthetic qualities of their windows, which means you can boost your energy efficiency and subtly improve the look of a room at the same time. Also, don’t underestimate how much more light having high quality windows can let in!

Reviewing the Floors

When it comes to the big DIY tasks, we tend to look at wallpaper and paint more than we do the floor, but flooring has a massive impact on the look and feel of a room. Flooring also comes and goes in style, too, so it’s worth reviewing your flooring to see if it’s still in vogue. It might be that underneath your tattered old carpet you have beautiful original flooring, so gift it a lift and see what’s there.

Making the Most of Modern Technology

Technology in the home used to be about boosting entertainment, but it’s becoming much more integrated into the function of our home. You can install an energy monitoring unit and see how much energy you’re using and also control your central heating even when you’re not in your home. Also, don’t underestimate how much more convenient (and efficient) it is to have an instant hot water tap installed in your kitchen.

Entering the Home

Finally, don’t just think about the inside of your home. Think about your entryway. A front door does more to establish the mood and tone or a home than you might initially realise. Go for a cute red wooden door and you’ll be establishing the style of your home from the very first possible moment. And on a much smaller scale, take a look at your doormat!

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Keep Your Home In Tip Top Health

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We all know how to keep ourselves healthy – take regular exercise, eat right and get enough sleep.  But what about your home? Are you undoing all your hard work by living in an unhealthy environment? Check out these everyday things that could help you live a healthier and happier life.

fakefeatherdusterCourtesy of Maid To Shine Cleaners
Keep your house dust free
Nobody wants to spend their lives dusting but dust can be a real problem in the home if left unchecked.  It can cause problems with skin and breathing allergies in children as well as clog up the systems we use in our house to keep it cool and comfortable. Dust particles could also hide more nasty air pollutants so keep your air fresh and bust the dust.

Avoid clutter
If you live in a busy household you might find clutter builds up quickly. Toys and shoes are the biggest culprits and whilst on their own they seem innocuous when left on stairs and steps they can be a real trip hazard, which could lead to a nasty fall and time in A&E.  Get into the habit of clearing stuff away as you use it – encourage the children to do the same – and you will avoid unnecessary bumps and sprains.

Keep Medication and chemicals out of reach
Medicines and chemicals are part of our everyday life and most of them are harmless in small quantities. But in the wrong hands they could be lethal. Ensure you keep medicines and household chemicals such as cleaning fluids in a secure cupboard well out of the reach of children.

Be vigilant for hidden problems

Your home might be harboring hidden problems like mould, dry rot or even termites and you might not know you have a problem until it’s too late and costly structural damage has occurred. If you spot any signs of water damage, a moldy residue and smell or wood that seems out of shape and discoloured you could have any of these hidden problems and it’s time to call in the professionals. For mold and dry rot you should contact your insurance company immediately as this can be expensive. If you suspect termites you can contact a specialist such as Terminix to help keep your home safe and structurally sound.

Be alarmed

Alarms protect your family and that’s a fact. You can get alarms that detect fire, gas, carbon dioxide and many other household threats. You can often install the alarms yourself and they are relatively cheap to purchase.  Alarms should be regularly checked and maintained for peace of mind. They can even save you money on your home insurance!

Maintain a healthy approach
As with personal health it is not enough to remember these things once.  All of these require regular maintenance to be effective. Maintenance is also important in your home and there are some repair problems you should never ignore. Maintain a healthy approach and you and your family can enjoy your home and good health.

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6 Safety Hazards to Fix in Your Home Now

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Your home is supposed to be a sanctuary where you can look forward to coming back to after work each day and relaxing. Most homes in the country have a variety of safety hazards that homeowners don’t necessarily address. Ignoring potential dangers in your home could lead to serious accidents, injuries, or even death. Here are six common safety hazards that may need to be fixed in your home right now.

1. Smoke Detectors

There were more than 3,000 people killed in fires in the United States in 2014. You can prevent a tragic disaster like a fire by making sure your home has working smoke detectors. During Daylight Savings Time, check the batteries to make sure each device is functional. Additionally, it’s smart to keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen. Make sure everyone in the household knows to never leave candles unattended.

2. Chemicals and Medicine

The chemicals inside of your home also have potential to cause problems. Accidental poisoning by ingesting household chemicals is a serious problem in many homes. Prescription drug abuse or overdoses can also happen if medicine is left out for easy access by children or teenagers. The best thing to do is to keep all chemicals and medication secure and locked up.

3. Trip Hazards

You may not realize it, but hazards that lead to falls are some of the deadliest safety issues in many homes today. Seniors, especially, are at risk of suffering severe injuries when they fall. To keep your home safe and the people you love protected, make sure items are kept off the floor or put away after being used. Have sturdy railings and supports throughout your home if someone older lives there.

4. Carbon Monoxide Leaks

One of the deadliest hazards in households is the threat of a carbon monoxide leak. This odorless, colorless gas can kill if something inside of the home is malfunctioning. In most cases, a carbon monoxide leak occurs when the furnace is not properly combusting and spreads the poisonous gas throughout the home through the venting system. Carbon monoxide detectors are the best defense against this hazard to ensure the safety of your home. Expert contractors, like Southern Air Heating & Cooling, recommend a seasonal check of your furnace each year.

5. Swimming Pools

A pool can be a refreshing oasis on the hottest days of the year. Owning a pool is a big responsibility to ensure residents and visitors use it safely. Most places require homeowners to install a gated fence around the pool to lessen the chance of someone wandering in by accident and falling into the pool. It’s also vital to create rules at home to never swim alone.

6. Hot Surfaces

The final risk to think about inside of your home is getting burned. The most common burn hazard inside of your home comes from your stove. You may be able to keep you and your kids from getting burned if you pay careful attention when cooking and use the back burners when your kids are around.

Your home can continue to be a safe haven if you make sure hazards are removed. That way, all of the people you love most won’t be put at risk.


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Don’t Relocate… Renovate!

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As tantalising a prospect relocating can be, it is really the right move for you? If you want to move away and find yourself, or create a new version of yourself, then yes, relocating may be for you. But if you don’t want to, and you are just in need of little shake up or spice of your life, then why not take to focussing your efforts, and finances, on renovating your home into a fresh and uplifting space?

For instance, a kitchen renovation can do wonders for any sagging spirits. When a kitchen is renovated into a uplifting and fresh feeling space it can really brighten up even the darkest of mornings, and you can add colour to your kitchen on a budget too. Your first port of call when doing so should be to add a vibrant backsplash to sit behind your appliances which could entail a colourful mosaic of tiles. However, you should always seek to ensure that the cupboards and other areas match this colour or style; in the venture of adding a splash of colour to your kitchen it is easy to become carried away and go overboard with the different colours chosen. Wall decor is also a great way to inject a sense of fun; you will always be able to find a style of art to hang on your wall that is your cup of tea to look nice whilst you are drinking a cup of tea.

contemporary-kitchen-backsplash-ideas-with-dark-cabinets-foyer-Gym-Farmhouse-Medium-Furniture-Cabinetry-Home-ServicesA mosaic in the kitchen

But it’s not just the kitchen that should receive a dose of freshness, the whole house deserves it too. For instance, in any bedrooms that need bringing to life you could revamp the walls by adorning them in colourful stripes. Colours like orange, pink, yellow and white make for the perfect combination when it comes to adding a much needed splash of colour and vibrancy to a bedroom, although it would probably be best suited to a girl’s room. But it’s not just these colours that can be combined to add life to a room: surprisingly, primary colours can be assorted in a way in which they don’t compete with each other, but they work together to uplift the spirits of whoever walks in the room. For examples of how you can play with the primaries, and other ways to add vibrancy to a home, make sure to click here.

But it’s not all about adorning your home in colours and decorations; to make a home feel fresh sometimes fresh things need to be bought and brought in. For instance, if your everyday appliances are making noise then you should take to eradicating the problem by trading them in for a newer model. Replacing the old things in your home with new things is a great way to shake up your home; so the next time you come to treating yourself to a bit of retail therapy, remember it’s for a good cause and don’t let feelings of guilt stop you!

2188522576_572e9c9a8d_bTreat yourself to a new fridge

By injecting your home with vibrancy and freshness you are adding spice to your own life — remember that the next time you start to feel bored or restless.


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Are Your Appliances Making Noise?

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If you’ve suddenly noticed that your home appliances are making more noise than they usually do, it could be down to a number of things. Maybe some dust has gotten into the mechanics, or maybe you need a small repair doing. Maybe your appliance is on its way out for good.

Whatever you think the reason may be, it’s important not to just shrug it off and let it continue. The fact is, the more noise in your household, the more unhealthy you can become. Noise levels in the home are linked to things like increased blood pressure and heart disease. Many homes have noise levels over 55 decibels, which can be compared to a noisy office environment.

Along with increased blood pressure and heart disease, you can experience interrupted sleep and increased stress levels. Some of the worst appliances for this include washing machines, extractor fans, and HVAC machines. However, it can happen to just about any of your household appliances.

Two in high people currently suffer with high stress levels. If you are considering an open plan home, then this could seriously affect you too in the future! You’ll probably never be able to achieve a completely silent home, but keeping your home well maintained is a good idea. Make sure you check over your appliances regularly, and pay attention if they start making more noise than usual. The following infographic can help you decide whether your HVAC needs to be replaced!

Created by Home Comfort USA

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