General Construction Services
We know how challenging this topic might be, and sometimes it is just easier to pay than to bother with electricity, heating, plumbing, or roofing.
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Central Air Conditioner Types
A central air conditioner can be a packaged unit or one that has a split system.Split-system air conditioners fitted for central cooling have a metal cabinet placed outdoors that houses the compressor and condenser, while a cabinet that is indoors contains the evaporator. You will find that in many split type central air conditioners this indoor unit may also have the indoor part of a heat pump or a furnace. If your home is already equipped with a furnace, the most economical air conditioner to install will be the split-system type. Packaged central air conditioners on the other hand, will have the evaporator, the condenser, as well as the compressor all fixed in the same cabinet, which is usually located on a roof, or next to the foundation of the house on a concrete slab. Small commercial buildings opt for this type of air conditioner. This packaged air conditioner is usually located outside the house and the ducts, both supply and return, run outside from inside through a opening in the exterior wall of the home. These packaged air conditioners can also include heating coils or a furnace that runs on natural gas. The combination of a heater and air conditioner makes it unnecessary to install a separate furnace inside the home.
Choose or Upgrade Your Central Air ConditionerThe efficiency of central air conditioners is much higher than that of window air conditioners. To add to that, their being installed out of the way, makes them quiet and convenient for operation. You can save both energy and money, if you buy a central air conditioner that is energy-efficient and also limit its energy use. Air conditioning your average sized home will result in the electricity consumption of 2000 kilowatt hours every ear, and which results in power plants emitting 3500 pounds of CO2, as well as 31 pounds of SO2.
The deciding factor in opting for a central air conditioner is the need to install ducts in your home.The compressor of older central air conditioners are best replaced with modern units that have a high efficiency. If you are doing so, take the advice of a local contractor who does work for heating and cooling, and ask him to determine whether the compressor that you are contemplating buying, matches with the indoor unit. Recently many changes have been made in air conditioning systems and refrigerants, it may be more advisable to replace the complete system rather than the expense of air conditioning repair.
Modern day air conditioners produce the same amount of cooling as those made in the 1970s, but use 30% to 50% lesser energy.Even if your air conditioner is just 10 years old, the savings in energy can still be 20% to 40%, if you do the replacement with a model that is newer and more efficient. The efficiency of a central air conditioner also can be dependent on its proper sizing and installation. A larger unit will not be able to remove all the humidity. A smaller unit will not give you a comfortable temperature on days that are very hot. Efficiency gets greatly reduced if the installation of ducts is not proper, the unit is incorrectly located, or there is a lack of insulation. Look for high efficiency models when you are buying that central air conditioner. SEER, or seasonal energy efficiency is the rating given to central air conditioners. It indicates, the relative quantum of energy for providing a specific cooling output. Older systems have a rating of less than 10. Look at buying an energy efficient model to replace your old air conditioner. Units that are qualified with an ENERGY STAR or Energy guide label have a 15% higher efficiency than standard models. On January 1, 2015, new standards came into effect for residential central air conditioners. You need to look in detail at these efficiency standards, and will have greater savings if you purchase a system with Higher SEER ratings. These standards do not require you to change any system that you have already installed earlier, and you should still be able to avail of services and the needed replacement parts for it. Most central air conditioners have a life span that is between 15 and 20 years. Even after the new standards have become effective, manufacturers of your older equipment will still continue to support it by honouring any maintenance contract and making parts available for this.
Buying an air conditioner will require you to have a look at other features as well, and this includes:
- A high efficiency operation when the summer heat is at its peak, needs a thermal expansion valve that has a high temperature rating (EER) that should be more than 11.6
- A new ventilation system needs a variable speed air handler
- A unit needs to operate quietly
- A fan only switch that can be used for ventilation at night so that air conditioning costs can be reduced
- A check light for your filter that reminds that your filter needs to be checked after your unit has worked for a predetermined number of hours
- A fan switch with automatic delay, that switches off the fan a few minutes after the compressor is turned off
Locating and Installing Air ConditionersA correctly installed air conditioner, or one that has had its installation problems fixed after it has been found faulty, is an air conditioner that will only require minor maintenance while it performs efficiently for years. The fact, however, is that many air conditioners are not correctly installed. The result is that even the modern energy efficient models can perform as poorly as the older models that were considered inefficient.
To make sure of correct installation, make sure that the air conditioning contractor:
- Allows use of an indoor space that is adequate for installation and carrying out maintenance and repair. He must also provide the furnace or duct with an access door that allows the evaporator coil to be easily cleaned
- Uses technology for duct sizing that is an approved one
- Makes sure that the number of registers for the delivering cool air and return air registers for carrying warm air back to the air conditioner are adequate
- That, wherever possible, the ducts are in the space that is being conditioned, and not in the attic
- Heavily insulates all ducts and also seals them with duct mastic
- If possible, locates the condensing units in a place that will not disturb you or your neighbors at night
- Locates the condensing unit so that air flowing to it is not obstructed by any objects
- Verifies that the new installation for the air conditioner has a charge of refrigerant and air flow rate that the manufacturer has specified
- Ensures that the thermostat is not near to any window, supply registers, or any other heat sources
Are you planning to build a new home, add a floor to the existing structure, or update commercial property? New home construction has significantly increased in a couple of years. And, the first thing people are looking to invest money in is the new plumbing system.
Therefore, if you are plumbing your home from scratch, it means you will have a chance to use the latest techniques and technology. According to some estimates, this will save you a lot of money. Now, if you want to install a new construction plumbing, here are a couple of things you should know.
New plumbing trends
A lot of things have changed since the turn of the century. For instance, in the past, plumbing fixtures were mostly made of metals, while today, we have pipes and plumbing-related accessories made of a combination of alloy and plastic.
However, this is only one of the ways how plumbing has evolved through the past decade. Moreover, building regulations have become more serious, while construction materials have gotten more expensive, for instance, metal like copper has become quite pricey. This further implies that any plumbing mistake is costlier than it used to be.
Parts of your plumbing system
The plumbing system has a lot of moving parts, and each piece plays a crucial role. Here is a general overview of what needs to be done when considering plumbing construction.
Every new project demands the installation of entirely new piping and plumbing. This doesn’t involve pipes that distribute water only, but those that take care of gas, drainage, and every single pipe on your property.
It’s essential to ensure that all the equipment is installed properly to avoid damaged or broken pipes, considering they can decrease functionally and cause the whole system to fall apart.
If you are setting up plumbing in new construction, you will want to install plumbing fixtures before completing the interior. You have to agree that showers, sinks, and tubs are much easier to install when doorways and walls haven’t been set up yet.
Once you install your plumbing fixtures, make sure to cover them with a protective wrap or cardboard to keep them clean and dust-free during the remainder of the time.
Sewer and septic tank
Maybe not so appealing part of the plumbing, but equally important, sewer line and septic tank are some of the most challenging parts of a home’s plumbing system. First of all, you need to know the size of the septic tank your household will require. This is easily calculated by the number of rooms on your property.
Septic tanks serve as a form of a filter, and they separate solid from liquid waste. Inside the tank, microorganisms break down solid waste. This process is followed by gas by-products that requires proper ventilation.
Installing a new plumbing system
Even though every plumbing project is unique, each one still has a couple of things in common.
Choose the location for the main stack
This is a pipe roughly three inches in diameter, running from your basement to the roof. It features three parts; the lower one collects wastewater from the toilet, the middle one gathers wastewater from fixtures, while the top part is used for venting.
That’s why it’s important to find a suitable place for your main stack where it will run uninterruptedly.
Drains and vents
Drain and vent pipes are usually up to 1.5 inches in diameter. We should mention that pipes should slant at ¼” per foot to drain properly. Also, a place where pipes are attached to the main stack has to be smooth, therefore, avoid sharp angles. When it comes to fixtures, they need to have a trap to catch water and prevent gasses from entering the room.
Get necessary permits
To install a new plumbing system, you will require the necessary permits. But, to get permits, you need to draw a plumbing diagram, which includes pipe fittings, vents, and drainage pipes. This diagram shows angles of connection, vents, trap, and pipe sizes.
The building inspector uses the diagram to evaluate your project and to ensure that construction is safe.
Maybe you have noticed a couple of missing shingles, or worse yet, your roof started leaking suddenly. After 30 years, every house needs a new roof, and it’s time to call a roofing contractor. You might have looked for possible solutions online, but there is no other way than to hire a professional that will fix your roof.
However, a typical Google search will provide you with dozens of roofers and companies with fancy websites. But, how do you know which one is good, without previously hiring their services? Well, we have a couple of things that will help you unravel this mystery.
How to find a good roofer?
Roofing contractors must meet specific rules and abide by local and government laws. Therefore, it would be a good idea to check your country’s roofer directories and qualifications before hiring a contractor.
Great contractors have:
- License to work in your area
- Previous work
- Willingness to offer references
- Willingness to write an estimate
Now, let’s break down these qualifications and explain each one of them in detail.
You probably won’t hire a roof repair contractor who’s been in business for a couple of months. Unfortunately, many homeowners let price determine their choice, and like most things in life, you get what you paid for.
For instance, if you choose a contractor that gives you “too good to be true” price and can’t provide you with a list of happy customers, you will probably end up with a lousy installed roof. Also, keep in mind it’s challenging to collect a judgment against a roofer who simply closes the door after a lawsuit.
You will also meet those fly-by-night contractors who are known for disappearing to avoid paying damage, only to reopen their business under a different name. Therefore, don’t become a victim and choose a company or a professional who has decades in the roofing business and a solid reputation.
License and insurance
Roofing is dangerous work, and it’s never recommended for inexperienced people. When performing a job, it’s necessary to have the right tools, safety equipment, and materials. On top of all, experience plays a crucial role. Reputable roof contractors hold the necessary licenses and permits for every project they perform.
We shouldn’t forget about insurance, which will cover the damage if someone gets hurt during roof installation. As a homeowner, you shouldn’t work with a contractor who can’t provide you with proof of proper insurance for its employees.
Inspect previous work
For the majority of businesses that provide services, reputation is the key. While you can find reviews online, you can ask the contractor to deliver you the list of happy customers for the sake of mind.
Moreover, be wary of roofers who only have five-star reviews. While this might sound great, in reality, they’ve probably fabricated their reviews to look good on the paper. Any company that performs hundreds of roof installations or repairs will have a certain number of less favorable reviews.
Get everything in writing
Every aspect of your roof installation process should be done in writing, but it’s particularly important to understand financing terms and conditions. Suppose you are working with a reputable company or a contractor. In that case, they will appoint a knowledgeable employee to walk you through this process, explain contact, and answer any questions you may have.
No part of this agreement should be left unexplained or up in the air.
What happens if you aren’t satisfied with the results?
Regardless of how carefully you plan everything, sometimes, things won’t go exactly as planned. Therefore, if an error occurs, how will the contractor handle it? This is an important part of your negotiation process and something you should know.
Will you spend hours on the phone trying to find the solution? Will the roofing contractor take your money and run away? Will you be compensated for the damage? All these things require detailed planning. That’s why it’s imperative to work with a company or a roofing contractor who provides a warranty, and if you aren’t satisfied with work, they guarantee they will make it right.
We hope these
Many people identify the terms electrician and electrical contractor. Now, you might be wondering, how do they differ, and aren’t they the same? Well, not really! In this article, we will try to explain the definition of an electrical contractor and share his responsibilities.
What is an electrical contractor?
The easiest way to explain this term would be to say that an electrical contractor is a firm or an individual who is engaged in electrical work. Usually, his work is connected to an electrical system, maintenance, installation, and design.
Electrical contractors ensure that those systems work in an environmentally friendly way, are safe and efficient. Basically, these professionals power our world, and only a couple of projects don’t require their attention.
Electrical contractor – what does he do?
Depending on their specialty, electrical contractors can perform different types of tasks. However, he primarily works with wiring systems, machines, and electrical equipment. In contrast, his work area includes a variety of sectors, ranging from commercial to residential ones, and has specific requirements.
When you hire an electrical contractor, he will offer you input into a design and prepare a plan containing a higher level of details. This is the most important part of the job.
Once you approve the budget and design, get necessary permits, and check liability insurance, the electrical contractor can start electrical construction. In some cases, he might use software to boost project management.
Electrical contractor vs. electrician
Electrical contractor is fully trained and needs to have a license to conduct electrical work. He can either choose to be independent or work for a company.
A lot of electricians will get into this business as apprentices. Some of them might go to the trading school before starting an apprenticeship program.
After spending months training in installation and electrical repairs, they will earn their license and become journeymen. They can further choose to perfect their skills, continue training and education, and become masters in the electrical business.
Moreover, contractors need to choose what type of electrician they will become. For instance, whether they want to work with high or low-voltage installations or work inside or outside.
Making these decisions will significantly impact their licensing, training, or careers. An electrician contractor who has spent the majority of his life indoors working with low-voltage will assume different roles and responsibilities than an outside contractor.
Jobs and responsibilities of an electrical contractor
The electrical contractor has a huge set of duties and responsibilities to cater to. These professionals install electrical systems and wirings for residential and commercial objects and equip them with electrical power.
First of all, the contractor must understand the building structure and its needs. According to these needs, the wiring systems will be laid down. Additionally, the contractor will inspect outlets, panels, and blueprints, which determine the building layout.
After a full inspection, he will plan and set up an electrical system that isn’t only in accordance with the client’s demands but fulfills industry safety codes and standards.
One of their most important duties is maintaining, testing, installing, or assembling electronic wiring systems, apparatus, and equipment using either hands or tools. It’s crucial to diagnose malfunctioning systems, components, or circuits and locate the cause of breakdown.
Now, if we had to map out how one of his projects should look like, then it would look something like this:
- Set up project: in this case, he will plan the necessary steps to get the permits and complete the project within the designated time frame.
- Create milestones: each milestone will serve him to check the process.
- Administer resources: arrange resources to be available throughout the project.
- Take care of budget: manage the budget to keep the project on the right track.
- Handle relationships: these relationships include both the staff and key stakeholders, in this case, clients.
Type of electrical contractors
Video/Voice/Data electrical contractors
They are also known as integrated building electricians. Usually, they manage low-voltage systems, such as security systems, telecommunications, fiber optics, wireless networks, backup power, power controls, etc.
Line electrical contractors
Compared to the previous example, line electrical contractors manage high-voltage power distribution and transmission lines at power plants. They are responsible for power reaching buildings and homes.
When it comes to heating and cooling, making sure you’ve hired the right person for the job can make a significant difference between wasting and saving money. When you are inviting another person to your home, you are trusting him to be honest and fair about the costs and repairs.
Since the summer is just around the corner and we are only a month away from the hottest season in the year, your AC will be in high demand. Therefore, you will need someone to perform a routine check, right?
Now, how to locate the right heating contractor? What to look for and how to make sure you are found the right person? Don’t worry; we have a couple of tips and tricks that can help you hire a great heating cooling contractor.
Know what you want
Before even considering hiring an AC contractor, know what needs to be done in your home. You have to get familiar with your air conditioning and heating system, understand your current system’s brand, and maintenance history. If you have noticed some irregularities in work, like uneven heating or cooling, write those down and ask the AC contractor when he comes.
Ask for referrals
If you trust your friends with home remodeling or a hairstyle advice, why not trust their experience with a contractor. You can ask a family member, friend, or even an acquaintance who they used and how satisfied they were with the service.
You can also check reference sites, which provide reviews and share customers’ experiences. Moreover, you can Google “best ac installation contractors near me” to find a local business with the highest reviews. We suggest you pay attention to contactors with a higher number of reviews because they will have a better average.
Check their license
This is an important part you shouldn’t skip. The specific type of license ensures that the contractor has passed the knowledge and quality standards, and that’s the person you will want in your home. In most cases, you can check their license on their website; if they don’t have one, find out about the type of license online.
You might be surprised to know, but installing AC and cooling equipment can be pretty dangerous due to height. Therefore, the contractor you hire must have insurance, worker’s compensation, and liability insurance. In this case, he can’t sue you if he gets injured in your home.
Don’t hesitate to ask for proof when setting up an initial meeting.
Ask for special offers
Your home’s cooling and heating system is one of the most significant purchases you will ever make. So, it’s in your right to ask for special offers. First of all, you can check whether you can get any discounts on energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment.
You should get all the necessary information online. Also, get familiar with local regulations; you might be able to find something there. If you need to replace your existing AC and cooling system, only consider Energy Star equipment because it meets strict energy efficiency guidelines.
Schedule a system audit
The contractor you are planning to hire should spend a significant amount of time inspecting your current system and assessing your home’s needs. Keep in mind that installing a bigger cooling or heating system isn’t always the best choice.
An experienced professional should know how to size the system based on the size of your property, number and condition of windows, amount of existing installation, the age of your house, and much more. If you already have a forced-air system in place, a contractor should inspect your duct system for any leaks.
Get everything in writing
Before you decide to move with a proposal, make sure to review all terms and conditions thoroughly. If you have any questions about the proposal, don’t hesitate to ask. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t agree to anything, just because the price is right or you like the contractor.
Once you are sure that everything is done according to your demands, you can proceed with signing your part of the paper. This written proposal should include warranty information, job schedule, type of equipment, model and brand, and project costs.
Get a second opinion
You don’t have to accept a proposal right away. If something doesn’t seem right, you can always ask for a second opinion or opt for another air conditioning installation contractor. Have him look at the proposal and write an estimate of the costs. Ask questions as to why one service might be cheaper or more expensive than another.
Trust you gut
Usually, it’s best to trust your instincts. Sometimes, everything might look perfect, but if you feel that something isn’t right, don’t hire that contractor. Skip his offer and find another one.