Tips & Info

How-To’s, FAQ’s & More

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Get Your Air Conditioner Ready for Summer

04.22.21

Now is the perfect time to prepare your HVAC system for the upcoming summer heat. Although there are some tasks that only a professional should undertake, you can do quite a bit to improve your HVAC’s performance, which can lower your monthly electric bills.

Be safe!
Before working on your HVAC unit, turn off the circuit breaker and the power to the condenser at the service panel.

Clean around your outside unit
Sticks, plants, high grass, leaves, and other debris can collect around your outside unit and impair your air conditioner’s performance. Clear away all debris that collected over the winter and check for debris once a month during the summer months. If your unit has a drain, make sure it is clear.

Is your concrete slab level?
After the area around your outside unit is clean, use a level to ensure the concrete slab is level. If it isn’t, the unit will not run efficiently. To make your slab level, pry it up with a board and slowly add gravel underneath until it is.

Clean the condensation lines
The pipe that carries water away from your air conditioner can get clogged and back up into the air conditioner or even into your house. When this happens, there is usually a large repair bill. Avoid costly repairs by simply locating the pipe and making sure it is draining correctly.

Check the coolant lines
The refrigerant pipes or tubes that run from the evaporator on the air handler to the condenser outside are usually covered with foam coolant line insulation to prevent them from losing energy. Check to see that this insulation is intact and undamaged. If you notice areas where it is missing or damaged, replace them with new foam insulation sleeves, or wrap the lines with foam insulation tape.

Change your air filter
Yes, we say this a lot, but it bears repeating: change your air filters once a month!

Purchase a programmable thermostat
A programmable thermostat can significantly reduce your energy bill. They are easy to install and can make a big difference in the amount of energy your family uses.

If any of the above steps seem too complicated or overwhelming for you to handle on your own, just give Stuart Pro a call. We are happy to answer your questions on the phone, or you can make an appointment for us to do the work.

 

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Houseboat Maintenance Checklist

04.22.21

Smooth sailing is ahead — if you use our houseboat maintenance checklist! As you prepare your houseboat for spring and summer sailing, make sure to keep our list handy.

  • What do you need to buy to restock from last year? Make a list.
  • Know your water. Saltwater is tougher on your boat than fresh. If you are sailing in both salt and fresh, be sure to care for your boat accordingly.
  • What kind of houseboat do you have? Wooden, fiberglass, or a combination of materials? Again, care for your boat accordingly. Wooden boats should be checked often for rot and will need varnishing and oiling often. Fiberglass needs to be washed and waxed regularly.
  • Check your gas and diesel level – it’s no fun getting stranded!
  • Do you have a generator? Check that it is in working order.
  • Check through-hulls for any leaks.
  • Wash your boat often, especially if it has been in saltwater. We recommend using a marine boat wash and a soft-bristle boat brush. Bottom paint needs to be applied every few years to prevent bottom growth. It’s also a good idea to hire divers to scrub the hull periodically.
  • Check often for chips and cracks along the boat and fix them immediately. It’s alarming how quickly a small crack can turn into a big problem.
  • Have a sewage plan. No one likes thinking about sewage, but a little forethought can save you from a big stink. It is illegal to dump sewage into rivers, lakes, and oceans, so it is good to know ahead of time where and when you will be pumping your waste. And make sure everyone on board knows that feminine products cannot be flushed.
  • Never use isopropyl on the roof of your boat to clean it. It will break down the layers of your roof, causing you to have to replace your roof much sooner than usual.
  • Only use recommended and verified maintenance products to clean and maintain your houseboat.
  • Clean your deck with an approved product, allow the deck to dry, and then apply wax and non-slip coating.
  • You should generally change the oil on your boat every 100 hours of operation or once a year.
  • Check the propellor for discarded fishing lines, nicks, dents, or other damage. A damaged propeller often vibrates, putting stress on bearings and seals. Waterproof grease on the propellor shaft helps to prevent corrosion.

Finally, it’s time to talk about keeping your cabin cool when temperatures are sweltering outside. Stuart Pro is an expert at installing and maintaining HVAC systems in homes and boats of all sizes and shapes. If you have any questions or want us to take a look, schedule a free evaluation and estimate. For details about our houseboat HVAC service, click here.

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Reduce Allergy Symptoms for a Brighter Spring

03.23.21

Spring flowers are beginning to bloom all around us, which is lovely, but it does mean an increase in pollen and – ugh! – allergies.

Here are some things you can do to reduce allergy symptoms and have a happier spring.

Close Your Windows: It is so tempting to open windows now that warmer weather is here. But beware! Open windows can mean more pollen blowing into your home. Check the pollen index before opening windows.

Pick Cleaning Products Carefully: People with allergies often have reactions to chemicals in cleaning products. What is the point of eradicating allergens if the chemicals used to get rid of them cause reactions similar to an allergic reaction?

Be careful with products if they contain:

  • Bleach
  • Ammonia
  • Formaldehyde
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • D-limonene
  • Triclosan

Vacuum: Be BFFs with your vacuum! Vacuums with HEPA filters most effectively trap dust, mold, ragweed, dirt, and other allergens that cause allergy symptoms. Don’t forget that anything upholstered—like couches, chairs, and mattresses—can be vacuumed.

Wash Your Bedding: Wash your bedding with unscented detergent at least once a week in hot water. And don’t forget your pillows! Pillows should be washed often and replaced every 1–2 years.

Have a wonderful spring and enjoy the lovely weather.

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Indoor/Outdoor Spring HVAC Checklist

03.23.21

It’s time to get your home ready for warmer temperatures. Hooray! A little spring cleaning and maintenance can improve your system’s energy efficiency and prepare it for the sweltering days of summer.

Indoor:

Spring cleaning: Don’t have time to devote an entire weekend to spring cleaning? Check out our spring cleaning hacks.

Change Air Filters: Dust, dirt, dander, and mold – all dangerous allergens if you have asthma, allergies, or other respiratory issues. Be sure to change your air filters – we recommend HEPA filters – once a month. If you have more severe symptoms, change them out every two weeks.

Clean Ceiling and Floor Vents: Vents get dirty, look unsightly, and contribute to allergy symptoms. You can wash and dry them by hand or clean vents in the dishwasher using the ‘rinse’ cycle without detergent. Skip the heat/dry cycle and dry the vents by hand.

Install an Air Purifier: Spring flowers are beautiful, but they are full of pollen. If you have ever considered purchasing an air purifier, spring is a great time to do it. An air purifier means fewer germs, allergens, and mold and cleaner air in your home.

Put a Shine on Your Windows: Dirty windows mar the view, but even worse, they can be a haven for mold and allergens. Shine those windows until they sparkle and get rid of allergens at the same time.

Clean Your Exhaust Hood: Bad news. If you haven’t cleaned your oven’s exhaust/range hood in a while, then chances are it’s filthy and isn’t ventilating properly. If necessary, look up your exhaust hood brand and how to clean it online.

Install a Smart Thermostat: If your home’s temperature schedule is on a long list of things that you know you will likely forget about, then consider installing a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats allow you to set a schedule according to your preferences, habits, and outdoor temperature.

The ultimate goal is to find the settings that keep you and your family happy and comfortable while saving money on your energy bill.

 

Outdoor:

Tidy Around Your AC Unit: Dead leaves, grass, and weeds collecting around your air conditioning unit? That’s not good. Clean all around your AC unit by removing any debris to ensure airflow.

Spring Clean Your AC: It’s quick and easy! Just vacuum the coils to remove accumulated dust and change your air filters. Doing these two small things improves efficiency and increases the overall life of your HVAC system.

Check Your Drain Line: Turn on your air conditioner and let it run for 30 minutes or so, then check to be sure that water is slowly trickling from the drain line. There won’t be a lot of water, but if there isn’t any, then the drain is likely clogged.

Schedule Maintenance: Spring is an ideal time for an HVAC tune-up. During maintenance, our pros will fix issues and get your system in peak condition. Then when summer arrives, your AC can easily handle the scorching heat.

Benefits of a Preventative Spring Maintenance Include:

  • Lower energy bills
  • Improved performance and energy efficiency
  • Fewer repairs
  • Improved air quality

If you have questions or would like to schedule maintenance on your HVAC system, call 770.813.1316.

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Winter Home Moisture Problems

02.17.21

Most people think about humidity during the summer months when hot days are made even more miserable by the amount of water in the air. But attaining the right amount of humidity in your home during the winter is just as important as it is during the summer.

What is humidity?

Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air around you.

What is relative humidity?

Relative humidity is the amount of water vapor present in air expressed as a percentage of the amount needed for saturation at the same temperature. This means that as temperatures rise or fall, the capacity of the air to hold water changes.

After temperature, humidity is the most important factor in determining your family’s comfort level. The humidity level in your home affects how hot or cold you feel. Too much humidity in the home can result in windows beading up with condensation. Too little, and your sinus cavities can become dry and irritated, and you’ll be more likely to catch a cold or virus.

In dry winters, where does the humidity in a home come from? Let’s start with you! Did you know that you contribute around 3 pints of water per day to your indoor surroundings just by exhaling? It’s true! Houseplants also contribute moisture to the air, as do showers, air-drying laundry, and cooking. If your home is well insulated and sealed, moist air will find a way to accumulate and possibly cause condensation to form on windows.

Outdoor air can help to reduce excess moisture in your home in the winter, but too much can dry out your home’s environment, not to mention making your home’s temperature too cold. Some of the things we naturally do to conserve heat, such as closing curtains at night, can increase window condensation.

So how do we find that magical “perfect” level of humidity in our homes?

A whole-house humidifier is the most efficient way to find the perfect balance of humidity in your home. Whole-house humidifiers work with your existing heating and cooling system to add the just-right amount of moisture into the air.

Like the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, some houses are too hot and moist, some are too cold and dry, and some are just right! A whole-house humidifier can help you attain the perfect temperature and humidity level to keep everyone in your home comfortable.

Learn more about the benefits of a whole-house humidifier here.

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Seniors: Apply to Win A Scholarship

02.17.21

Being a student is tougher than ever during the challenges of the pandemic. That’s why we at Stuart Pro are prouder than ever to continue to help the students in our community. We are currently collecting scholarship applications from graduating seniors from Gwinnett, Hall, or Forsyth County and technical college students currently pursuing an HVAC specialty.

Scholarships

  • High School Students – graduating seniors from Gwinnett, Hall, or Forsyth County
  • Each year, we offer up to five high school scholarships
  • $1,000 each
  • For students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree from an accredited college or university

Technical College Students

  • Each year, we offer up to four technical college scholarships
  • $500 each
  • For students currently pursuing an HVAC specialty

Apply to win a scholarship today! The deadline for applications is 04.17.2021

 

Start Application

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Winter Heating Safety Tips

02.17.21

Everyone enjoys being toasty during the winter, but home fires occur more in the winter months than any other time of the year. With a little forethought, you can enjoy a blazing fire or toasty space heater without risking a housefire or other heat-related accidents. Just follow these tips!

GENERAL

  • Keep flammable objects and materials a minimum of three feet away from heat sources such as fireplaces, furnaces, wood stoves, and space heaters.
  • Kitchen ovens are not designed for heating homes. Don’t try to heat your home using your oven or stovetop.
  • Once a month, test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Smoke alarms should also use a backup battery so that the alarm still functions if your power goes out. Change your backup battery once a year.
  • Keep kids safe from space heaters, wood stoves, kerosene heaters, and fireplaces. Teach your kids the possible dangers of being burned and that things that get hot to the touch are only to be approached with adult supervision.
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary central and space heating equipment, water heaters, etc., to meet the manufacturer’s instructions and local codes.

 

SPACE HEATERS

  • Never leave space heaters unattended; this includes keeping them plugged in while you are sleeping.
  • Don’t use a power strip or extension cord with a space heater. Space heaters should always be plugged directly into a wall.
  • Check for damaged cords and plugs on your space heater. If there is any damage, do not use your space heater.
  • Make sure your space heater has an automatic shut-off so that if it tips over, it turns off.
  • Place space heaters on a solid, stable, flat surface at least 3 feet away from all other objects and materials.
  • Turn portable space heaters off when you leave the room or go to bed.

 

FIREPLACES

  • Use a sturdy glass or metal screen on your fireplace to prevent sparks from flying into the room.
  • Do not leave an unattended fire in your fireplace, and be sure to put the fire completely out before you go to bed or leave your home.
  • Do not burn paper in your fireplace.
  • Have a professional inspect and clean your chimney every year.
  • Once ashes have cooled in your fireplace, put them in a metal container with a lid. Then, place the container at least 10 feet from your home in a place clear of debris and other flammable materials.
  • Make sure fireplace remote controls and ‘on’ switches are out of the reach of children.

 

WOOD STOVES

  • Make sure your wood stove is 3 feet from anything flammable.
  • Do not burn paper on your wood stove.
  • Keep wood stove doors closed unless loading or stoking the fire.
  • Put the fire out before you go to sleep or leave your home, and do not leave the fire unattended.
  • Have a professional inspect and clean your chimney every year.

 

KEROSENE HEATERS

  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and always use the right kind of fuel in your heater.
  • Never refuel your heater inside. Once it has cooled, take the heater outside to refuel.

If you have questions about any of the above, or if you are concerned about your own heating setup’s safety, please give us a call! 770.813.1316

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A Quick Checklist to Help You Find a Furnace Technician You Can Count On

01.25.21

Choosing a reputable furnace service company can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re looking for. To make your choice easier, we’ve compiled a quick checklist for you.

  • Word of mouth – Ask around!
  • Read online reviews
  • Has the company been in business for a while?
  • What other services does the company offer?
  • Are their technicians licensed?
  • Do they do background checks on their technicians?
  • Call the company and speak to someone. What is their customer service like?
  • Is the company open 24/7, and/or do they offer emergency services?
  • Do they put everything in writing?

This basic list will help you narrow down your choices to a few good furnace technicians. And, of course, you can always give us a call at Stuart Pro (770.813.1316) if you need assistance with the above list or to answer any other questions you have.

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Draft-Proofing Your Home to Help Lower Your Electric Bill

01.25.21

Is your home not as warm as you think it should be? Drafts could be the culprit. These tips will help you find and eliminate drafts to help you cut down on your electric and heating bill.

Common Areas for Drafts

  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Chimneys
  • Fireplace dampers
  • Recessed lights and the soffit around these lights
  • Furnace flues or ducts
  • Basement rim joists (where the foundation and wood framing meet)
  • Attics and basements
  • Window or wall-mounted air conditioners
  • Electrical outlets
  • Ducts
  • Switchplates
  • Vents and fans
  • Exterior walls and outlets
  • Baseboards
  • Bare floors, especially wooden floors
  • Wiring holes (electrical outlets, cable TV, phone lines)
  • Pet doors
  • Knee walls (the sidewalls that support your attic rafters)
  • Plumbing vents

 

How to Find Drafts

 

Flashlight: This is a two-person job. Shine a flashlight at doors, window frames, and other areas of concern. If the person on the other side sees the light, you’ve found an air leak.

Dollar bill or paper: Place the piece of paper or dollar bill under the door. If you can slip the paper under the door without it dragging, then you have a draft.

Incense: Shut all windows, exterior doors, fireplace flues, etc. and turn off all appliances that have exhaust fans or create air disturbances. Light incense and hold it near potential drafts like the ones listed above. Pay attention to how the smoke acts. If it is sucked out or blown into the room you’re in, or it moves erratically back and forth, you have an air leak.

Thermal leak detector: If you suspect you have a severe leak, you may want to invest in a thermal leak detector. Thermal leak detectors read surface temperatures of walls, baseboards, doors, floorboards, etc. There’s a draft if the TLD reading is much colder than the air.

 

How to Get Rid of Drafts Now That You’ve Found Them

 

Door Draft Stopper

The easiest way to prevent door drafts is to purchase or make a draft stopper. Draft stoppers are available at online stores like Amazon, or you can order a more personalized version on Etsy.

Cracks ¼ Inch and Smaller – Use Caulk

Find a weatherproof, sun-proof, and freeze-proof caulk for tiny cracks that are ¼ of an inch and smaller. If the crack is exposed to outside air, be sure the caulk is made for outdoor use made with mold-free technology.

Larger Cracks Between ¼ and 3 inches – Spray Foam

Find a spray foam that comes equipped with a straw. Test out an area first to see how the foam acts. Once you are confident about using the spray foam, get spraying!

Bigger Issues? Fix Your Insulation

There are some problems caulk and spray foam simply cannot fix. If your insulation is inadequate, then caulking up a few cracks won’t make much of a difference in your home.

Fixed your air leaks and still having trouble heating your home? Call on us! At Stuart Pro Heating & Air, we are here to help anytime, day or night: 770.813.1316

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Is Your Furnace Leaking Carbon Monoxide?

12.15.20

Most furnaces are gas-burning and produce carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that can be deadly if it is not vented out of a home or business correctly.

An efficiently burning gas furnace produces tiny amounts of carbon monoxide, but problems can occur over time. CO leaks can quickly develop, endangering your family and pets.

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Leaks from Your Furnace

 

Schedule Your Annual Maintenance with Stuart Pro

Regular maintenance on your HVAC system means catching and avoiding all kinds of possible problems, from a broken furnace to a carbon monoxide leak. Our Stuart Pro technicians know how to spot and prevent potential issues before you are aware of them. Every maintenance visit includes a system clean and inspection, during which any number of potential problems can be identified and solved. Best of all, annual maintenance gives you peace of mind.

Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors Throughout Your Home

Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas, making it incredibly dangerous as most people will not know when it has accumulated in their home. A CO detector warns you when there are high levels of carbon monoxide in your home. Note: Many fire detectors are also built to recognize carbon monoxide, but not all. You will need a separate carbon monoxide detector if your fire alarm isn’t dual function.

Change Your Air Filter

You’ll breathe more comfortably if your furnace can breathe easy! Why? A common cause of carbon monoxide leaks is an airflow backup to your heating system. What’s the solution? Change your air filter at least once a month.

Keep Outdoor Vents Clear of Debris

Ice, snow, leaves, frisbees – make sure your outdoor vents are clear of debris.

Portable Generators are for Outside Use Only

Never use a portable generator inside your home, shed, garage, crawlspace, etc. Carbon monoxide quickly collects in these areas and often lingers for hours even when the generator is turned off.

Furnace Installation

Is your CO detector continually going off? It could be that your furnace was installed poorly. Your blower motor or ductwork could be the culprit. If you are concerned that your furnace isn’t venting carbon monoxide as it should, please give us a call.

Signs of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Do you know the signs of CO poisoning?
Signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Dull headache
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Blurred or impaired vision
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Chest pain
  • Impaired coordination

If you have questions about protecting your family from carbon monoxide leaks from your furnace, or if you would like to schedule annual maintenance, give us a call at 770.813.1316. We’re here to help and put your mind at ease.

Contact Us

Stuart Pro is a family-owned business that believes in putting our customers first. That’s why we want to hear from you. Fill out the form and we’ll get back to you soon.

Contact Info

770.813.1316
Info@StuartProAir.com










    Contact Us

    Stuart Pro is a family-owned business that believes in putting our customers first. That’s why we want to hear from you. Fill out the form and we’ll get back to you soon.

    Contact Info

    770.813.1316
    Info@StuartProAir.com










      Contact Us

      Stuart Pro is a family-owned business that believes in putting our customers first. That’s why we want to hear from you. Fill out the form and we’ll get back to you soon.

      Contact Info

      770.813.1316
      Info@StuartProAir.com