Hurricane Season Preparation

In Florida, hurricane season is right around the corner. This six month period can develop hurricanes that destroy lives. We’ve seen pictures and videos of the lengthy lines at the home improvement stores and grocery stores for plywood and batteries and the bumper-to-bumper traffic at the gas station just to find out that there’s no more gas. To save all of the hassle right before the storm, here’s a checklist to make sure you’re prepared for the next hurricane that hits our area.

Listen to Local News and Check Latest Weather Updates

When prepping for a hurricane, it’s crucial to see when a storm will hit the local area. Minutes can matter in this situation. That’s why keeping the TV on as long as possible to listen to updates or use a backup FM radio (some new phones have the ability to connect to FM radio) to ensure you and your family will be safe. Also check websites like weather.com to look at detailed paths and other important information.

Make Sure You and Your House Are Ready

If the storm is approaching within the next few days, take the necessary precautions to keep you safe. Bring in items that can easily be picked up with wind like patio furniture, umbrellas, and bicycles. Set your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest temperature setting and keep it closed as much as possible during the storm. Create an evacuation plan  and discuss it with your family if you live near an area prone to damage during extreme weather events. Board up windows if possible (duct tape has very little protection for windows) and keep your doors locked and closed as much as possible.

Have Supplies Ready

Essential goods are needed for storms in case electricity fails. Have enough water for three days (1 gal. per person per day) as well as food (non-perishable, easy to prepare foods are recommended). Have a flashlight, a battery-powered radio, extra batteries, first aid kit, personal hygiene items, portable batteries and chargers for smartphones, extra cash, pet and/or baby supplies, 7-day supply of medication, and any other essentials for a severe weather event. Generators are also handy for backup power but make sure to use it properly.

After The Storm, Inspect The Area For Any Damage

After the storm has passed entirely, check on neighbors, especially elderly ones, and your valuables. Stay alert for any additional rainfall or subsequent flooding even after the major storm has moved away. Take pictures of damage to show your insurance company and report any emergencies like washed out roads or downed power lines to local officials. If there is damage to your home AC system, call us and we’ll help you every step of the way.

Hopefully this 2019 hurricane season doesn’t bring any disastrous events to our local area but if it does, use this info to keep you and your family safe.

Nest vs. Carrier Cor: Which is Best For You?

There are many different systems that you can choose from and both have advantages and disadvantages. The Nest Thermostat and Smart Home ecosystem has a larger user base and has been on the market longer than Cor and others. The Cor has the backing of Carrier, one of the leading HVAC experts for over a century. AC Masters carries both products and to help you decide, here’s a comparison of the two systems.

Nest

What makes a Nest a Nest? Well, the Nest Smart Thermostat features a sleek design that blends into any home. It also has intelligent capabilities like detecting when nobody is home and automatically adjusting the temperature to save you money. You can control it from anywhere with an Internet connection through the free iOS or Android app or nest.com. You can even control the temperature from any of the Google Home products by just saying “Ok Google, set the thermostat to 72 degrees.” Along with voice control, it also has numerous other products that can work together with the Nest ecosystem like cameras and smoke detectors from Nest and light bulbs from Phillips and smart locks from Yale. And by learning your schedule and adjusting the thermostat accordingly, it saves the average user between $131 and $145 annually (source). The Nest Thermostat offers great design, a well connected interface with smart features, and pays for itself in less than two years, or no time if you buy a new system from AC Masters which comes with a new Nest or Cor thermostat.

Cor

Now that Nest is out of the way, Carrier’s Cor system has similar capabilities to Nest. It learns your schedule and sets the thermostat accordingly. It also give you helpful tips and ideas like setting to specific temperatures and modes to save even more money on your power bill. It even has Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit support. The app provided, however, is basic and not as comprehensive as competitors. The Cor thermostat does have a built in weather app with temperature and forecast when heading out. Also, if you have specific Carrier equipment, the Cor has advanced humidity controls that improve you system’s performance. With the backing of Carrier and its expertise in HVAC, the Cor is a good choice for a smart thermostat.

The Verdict?

Both of these thermostats are good choices for your home. If you use Apple products and want specific statistics from your thermostat, look into the Cor with its HomeKit compatibility (Nest does not have HomeKit compatibility.) But if you want a well designed thermostat with an easy to use app, wide ecosystem of products that work in tandem with Nest and Google Assistant compatibility, look into the Nest thermostat. If you are still having trouble deciding, call AC Masters at (904)-722-8995 for a consultation.

How to Use Space Heaters Safely

As cold weather approaches the First Coast, the need to stay warm is a must. Blankets and hot chocolate are a necessity and turning up the thermostat on the central heating system. But, if you only need to warm up a small area for a short period of time, using a space heater can be an option.

That said, safety is a major issue with space heaters. The National Fire Protection Association states that one third of all home fires and 80% of heating fire deaths are caused by space heaters. Many use these heaters improperly, increasing the chance of damage, injury or even death. To keep you and your house safe of these dangers, here are a few helpful tips to properly use space heaters.

  • Keep anything flammable, like bedding and curtains, at least 3 feet away from a space heater
  • Keep small children away from space heaters and never use it in a kid’s room
  • Install smoke/carbon monoxide alarms and test monthly
  • Never leave space heaters unattended
  • Run power cords on top of carpet to avoid abrading a cord
  • Don’t use a space heater in damp areas unless it’s specifically made for that
  • Do not place a heater on a countertop unless it’s specifically made for that

Always follow these tips to make sure that you and your family stay safe when using a space heater in the home. If a space heater isn’t enough to meet your comfort needs or you just want to eliminate space heaters entirely, call AC Masters at (904)-722-8995 to discuss any heating and cooling needs.