From the desk of
Arthur S. Lazerow
Chairman, Alban Inspections, Inc.
Summer is officially here and Mother Nature has paid attention. Yesterday, after a thunderstorm, I walked outside to pick up the mail and I could literally swim in the humidity over the 20 yards to the mailbox. Today was hotter, but without humidity. I was comfortable potting a Meyer Lemon tree my wife gifted me for Father’s Day. This was a rare delightful summer day which we will be able to count on fingers and toes from now until September. Pepco reported to me that A/C for my 3,500 sf house cost $800 last year and was 42% of my electricity usage.
Here are some tips that you can send to your clients:
- Air Conditioning is a human necessity these days. An air conditioning system needs replacement with a higher efficiency system if over 10-12 years old. If younger, annual pre-season maintenance is a must. If you or your clients have forgotten to call an HVAC service company for a routine checkup, do so ASAP. I was having an electrical problem with an otherwise fully operational system at my house last week. We were comfortable but the service tech unexpectedly found a low refrigerant charge.
- Keep your house comfortable. Lower A/C costs by closing drapes and blinds to reduce radiant heating through your windows. Remember the TV ads for canopies over an outside patio, which the ad claimed to reduce the temperature under the canvas canopy 15 degrees by blocking the radiant heating affect. Think how this equates to inside temperature rises and stress on the A/C system.
- Plan to run appliances at night when air conditioning your house becomes easier. A clothes drier and a dishwasher adds significant BTUs to the interor of a home.
- Turn up the thermostat temperature several degrees. A/C works to dehumidify, so slightly higher interior temps will still to continue dehumidification.
- Alban Inspections preaches energy efficiency to all our clients and their Realtors®. After an energy survey of her home and completing an energy efficiency retrofit, we were able to reduce our Realtor® client’s summer air conditioning costs by a half. The home was a small rambler, so other type homes, such as Cape Cods, split levels or other style homes, may not see such a dramatic reduction, but 15% to 25% can be a significant saving.
Every house has air leakage. Simple steps like adding more effective door weatherstripping, recaulking windows and insulating attic hatches can be homeowner chores worth the money. If practical, have a window contractor install storm windows over windows without insulated glass panels. Also, replace incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs that do not operate as heaters. Hold your hand near an older bulb that has been on for several minutes and feel the heat. Close doors to unused rooms and close their registers to better distribute cool air throughout your living areas.
Do not laugh at these, even though they may seem obvious or silly. Should a home not be air conditioned or a system breaks down, remember these:
- For a hot spot that is difficult to cool but where you spend time, create your own localized cooling system. Place a pan of ice and water in front of a box fan and blow cool air and mist directly at you.
- Wear loose cotton clothes and sleep on cotton sheets.
- Enjoy a frozen treat. Ice cream and flavored ices are also cool.
- Take cold showers and place a cold wet clothes on your neck or wrists.
- Stay hydrated.
- Freeze water in your plastic water bottles and apply as needed.
PS: Realtors® and the Pandemic. Please stay safe and Covid-19 free. By nature, Realtors® are social people, from start of a transaction working to establish rapport with a new client through closing. Realtors® thrive on close contact with many others. For most Coronavirus patients, recovery is very unpleasant. Survivors leaving hospitals uniformly report how utterly awful the course of the disease feels. However, I believe news reporters are not stressing enough that surviving CV may leave lasting health deficiencies, including scarred lungs and heart and blood clotting problems and with cognitive processes. It is one thing for an 80 year old to recover with some lasting problems, but currently Covid-19 is rampant among younger people in their 20s to 40s. A thirty year old with cognitive disabilities for the remaining 50 years of his or her life seems devastating.
Public health officials recommend that to have the greatest chance of avoiding CV is to stay at home as much as possible, to wear face coverings, to wash hands carefully for 20 seconds and to maintain social distancing. These should be mandatory for you, your family and your clients. Ignoring these recommendations is now leading to the current second wave surge in new Coronavirus cases.