Though no one wants to imagine a burglary or other crime happening on their property while they are away, these types of things happen. If you plan on leaving your home to travel for the holidays, it’s important that you take some extra steps to secure your house before you leave. That way, you’ll have the peace of mind in knowing that your home is safe and undisturbed in your absence.

Here are a few tips for keeping your home safe during the holidays while you’re away:

1. Pause your mail delivery.

If you’re going to be gone more than just a couple of days, you may want to pause your mail delivery. There is no bigger sign that you and your family are away than mail piling up in your mailbox or packages left for several days on the porch. If a neighbor or friend is able to pick up your mail, that’s great. But if not, you may want to pause it while you are gone and resume delivery once you’ve returned.

2. Purchase a light switch timer.

You don’t want to leave your lights on the entire time you are gone. This is a waste of energy and money! Instead, purchase a light switch timer. This will turn your lights on and off on a programmed schedule. With the lights on, it will appear as if someone is home. But by using a timer, you don’t have to waste energy to benefit from this tactic.

3. Don’t mention your travel plans on social media.

One common mistake that homeowners make when leaving for an extended period of time is chatting about their travel plans on social media. When you make a post about the dates and times you will be gone from your home, this opens you up to a potentially harmful situation. Notify your friends and family members separately and privately rather than posting publicly on your social media.

4. Ask a friend to check in while you’re away.

If you have a neighbor, friend, or family member who will be home during the holidays, you may want to ask them to check in on your home while you’re gone. Whether they just drive by a few times during the week or actually enter your home to bring in the mail, water your plants, etc. – this can make a big difference in helping keep your home safe.

5. Adjust your thermostat before you leave.

You may be tempted to just turn off your heating and cooling system before you leave for the holidays. However, your HVAC system plays a vital role in keeping your home environment balanced, including humidity control. If you want to return to a home that’s comfortable instead of one that’s sticky or stale, then you should adjust your thermostat before you leave closer to the average temperature outside. This will help you save energy (and money) while still keeping your home climate balanced.

 

If you’re staying home this holiday season and experience an HVAC issue, don’t hesitate to give us a call: (310) 896-4911.

Whether you’re an L.A. native who has lived in your home for a decade or a new transplant to our beautiful city – and new to your home too – feeling comfortable is probably on the top of your list of priorities. We spend a LOT of our lives in places where we’re not comfortable like work, school, the grocery store, a first date, a job interview, and a whole host of other places where everything feels rigid, awkward, too hot, too cold, or utterly unwelcoming. Your home should be different.

At home, you should feel like the atmosphere, the look and feel, the temperature, and even the air you breathe is catered to your preference and desires. You are the king or queen of your own castle, and it should feel that way year round. We’ve rounded up some of the BEST, easiest ways to improve your home comfort whether your home is old, new, or somewhere in between.

Embrace Your Space

Whether you’re in a minimalist one-bedroom home with a partner or roommate or you’re living in a four-bedroom family home with kids and pets, it’s important to love the space you’re in. This means that every room in your home is functional for your needs and that whether you’re working to transform tight spaces or happy spreading out, you can make it yours.

How to make your L.A. house a home:

There are many different ways that you can make your house feel more like home. House Nerd suggests tips like:

  • Diversify where you buy your home goods from.
    If everything in your home comes from IKEA, Target, Crate & Barrell or Pottery Barn this year, your home is going to look more like a catalog of stock images and less like an expression of you and yours. Pick up pieces as you go, and don’t take ALL your cues from the store display.
  • Display sentimental or personal items.
    Your home will feel less staged and more comfortable when you see yourself reflected in every space. This might mean hanging photos, shelving books that mean something to you, or putting up your kids’ artwork.
  • Add some greenery.
    Your home can really feel like you and like a place where real life happens when you infuse your spaces with plant life. Add a hanging pot, a succulent, or a 6-foot tree wherever it suits you, and watch how that little touch of green can impact your environment.
  • When all else fails, relax.
    Don’t worry so much about how your home will appeal to others. Instead, focus on making it work for YOU, and watch how quickly you become more confident and comfortable in every room. That comfort will be contagious when you entertain, and you’ll feel proud to share your home with others.

Revamp a Room Affordably

We all have those rooms that were the last to get the golden touch. Perhaps when you moved into your space you made the living and dining rooms the oases that they should be – ripe for entertaining – but the poor bathrooms lack the luxe finish.

Brainstorm ways to start giving these rooms the attention they need without a pricey, stressful overhaul.  Swap out hardware, paint an accent wall, or add a new texture with drapes, a rug, or even a set of fresh towels in the half bath. A quick touch-up will feel like self-care when you walk into a room and feel at home instead of ill-at-ease.

Breathe Cleaner Indoor Air

This might seem like a rookie tip, but you’ll be surprised how many people aren’t giving their indoor air quality enough attention. For many homes, swapping out filters as recommended is enough to breathe easy. However, Los Angeles can fall victim to smog, emissions, wildfires, and other outdoor influences that can seep indoors. Indoor air cleaners and purifiers can help ease the burden on your filter and help your HVAC system (and your lungs) work as they should.

Control Humidity in Your Home

Imbalanced humidity is the enemy of comfort. Too much humidity and you’re going to feel clammy, phlegmy, and overcome by that sticky, summertime feeling you DON’T want. Especially here in California, humidity just isn’t that common, so having an excess of humidity in your home will feel strange and uncomfortable for you. Likewise, if your home is too dry, you’ll feel it too. Dry eyes, bloody noses, itchy skin, and red, dry eyes are all signs that your home needs a humidifier.

A professional can come and analyze your home to let you know where your humidity level stands and how to rectify any imbalance but you may be able to identify that need for yourself, too. Once your humidity level is within an ideal, comfortable range, you’ll feel so much better.

Invest in Home Security

If you and your family don’t feel safe, you can’t feel comfortable. Security and comfort go hand in hand. For you, this may mean installing security cameras or an alarm system or having regular pest control appointments to avoid creepy crawlies.

It is also essential that your home is equipped with working and reliable smoke detectors and CO detectors. Learn more about the dangers of carbon monoxide here. Once your home is secured with these measures of safety, you can rest easy knowing that you are doing everything you can to keep your family safe.

Upgrade to a Smart Home

While technology can sometimes feel like a burden, it isn’t the enemy. Smart and conscientious scientists and technicians work to improve our world by inventing and improving technologies to make life easier, safer, and more comfortable for us.

While some “smart home” technologies might be extravagant for your lifestyle, and not everyone needs a refrigerator that carries on conversations with you, there are some smart home upgrades that could make you happier and more comfortable. For example, an Amazon Alexa or other smart device can play music for you, turn your lights on and off at your request, make phone calls, provide answers to your questions, and a lot more that could make life easier.

A smart thermostat is also a good move for individuals looking to upgrade the comfort in their home. The more control you have over your temperature and home environment, the more comfortable you’ll be. Not only does a smart thermostat give you more control over your home comfort, but it can also help you save more energy over time, leading to lower utility bills. (And who doesn’t like to save money while keeping comfortable?)

Feel Cozy Year-Round

So much about home comfort comes down to temperature, doesn’t it? When you’re too cold, it won’t matter how beautiful your wall décor is or how fluffy those bath towels look folded in the master bath – you’re going to be uncomfortable. Similarly, if you’re feeling sweaty in these hot SoCal summers, nothing will make you feel comfortable until the air conditioner steps up to save the day.

At Brody Pennell, we like to think of ourselves as home comfort experts. We’ve been in the business long enough to know exactly what it takes to keep L.A. homeowners comfortable year-round. Below, we’ve put together a little guide with our top 5 expert tips for keeping your temperature RIGHT where you want it.

How to Control Your Home Temperature

  • Learn to program your thermostat.
    When your thermostat is more intuitive to your patterns of life and knows when to level your temperatures up or down, you’ll be able to feel comfortable and catered to all the time. Don’t want to bother changing the temperature every time you leave and return? Invest in a programmable or smart thermostat that will automatically adjust the temperature for you for optimal home comfort and energy savings.
  • Consider zoning your space.
    If you and your family members tend to prefer different levels of warm and cool temperatures OR if parts of your home tend to retain heat or feel more drafty, zoning could help you keep things more comfortable throughout your home. When you use zoning to customize the comfort levels in each room of your home, you can make sure that everyone stays comfy, no matter what their preferences are. You can also use zoning to help balance temperatures throughout your space to make sure that the comfort you feel in the kitchen travels with you to the den, your bedroom, and beyond.
  • Don’t work against your HVAC system
    Being cognizant of your lifestyle and how it impacts your home comfort will allow you to help your HVAC system perform at its best. For example, by turning off lights, drawing window blinds closed, or using fans wisely, you can help make sure your air conditioner isn’t working too hard. This will save you money on energy costs, keep your AC in better shape for longer, and prevent wear & tear. Similarly, by running your heat just a little lower, keeping your filter clean, and warming your home with a fireplace or space heater when possible, you can keep your heat pump or furnace happy and functional for much longer. Using your heater more efficiently will result in cheaper operating costs and more comfort for you.
  • Have your system properly maintained.
    Having your system maintained both DIY and by a professional can extend its life and help ensure that the system keeps working effectively and efficiently. Proper maintenance can also help you get ahead of a major issue, preventing the need for costly repairs or uncomfortable downtime for your system. Though there are some maintenance tasks you can perform yourself, like changing your air filter, you may want to call in the professionals for help with other tasks like cleaning and lubricating your equipment. When your HVAC technician is staying abreast of issues, he or she can help you avoid waiting so long to repair that the system fails and you’re uncomfortable in your own home.
  • Replace your unit when it makes sense.
    HVAC systems – air conditioners, furnaces, heat pumps, ductless systems, and all of their components – have a lifespan. They do not live forever. This means that at some point, your system will need to be replaced. Heed the warnings of your HVAC system itself and consult with a professional if you think you’re getting close to needing a replacement. Waiting too long could result in system failure that will leave you sweaty in July, frozen in the winter, and unhappy with the atmosphere of your home. Here are some signs that your system might need to be replaced.

If you find yourself in the market for a tune-up, a repair, or maintenance on your HVAC system OR if you would like to consult about upgrading your HVAC system, contact Brody Pennell today!

Ultimately, feeling comfortable, safe, healthy, and happy in your home doesn’t have to be expensive, impossible, or difficult to attain. With a few tweaks and more focus on the important things, your home comfort is 100% in your control.

Which tips will YOU be implementing this summer? What else do YOU think makes a home more comfortable? Let us know on Facebook or poll your friends by hitting the SHARE buttons below!

When it comes to heating and cooling installation, maintenance, and repair, we know that you have a variety of options for choosing an HVAC service provider. However, we have also been in the business long enough to know that not every HVAC technician or company is created equal. If your HVAC tech isn’t making you feel comfortable and empowering you to make the right decisions for your home comfort system, it’s time to replace him.

Choosing an HVAC Technician: Importance of Education

The one thing that sets a great HVAC technician apart from the other guys is customer education. A trustworthy HVAC contractor will give you the information you need to understand your HVAC system and any issues you may be dealing with. Not only will they be knowledgeable and experienced, but they’ll be able to show you what they’re talking about.

By educating you as a homeowner, the HVAC technician is showing you why they need to do the work. This gives you the information you need to make the right decision about your home comfort system. Be sure to ask any questions or voice any concerns you may have. If your HVAC technician can’t address these questions or concerns, it may be time to replace him.

Get to Know Your HVAC Contractor

Whether you are getting a new HVAC system installed or calling an HVAC tech to diagnose and repair your heating and cooling system, it’s important for you to know that you can trust your HVAC company. Though many homeowners may be tempted to go with the company that offers the lowest price, they may soon find out that this doesn’t always get you the quality service you need for long-lasting home comfort.

To avoid HVAC company scams, make sure that you are working with a reputable HVAC company. Choose an HVAC company that has a history of reliable service and complete customer satisfaction. This is the type of company that will be there for you when something goes wrong with your HVAC system. That type of peace of mind is priceless for homeowners!

Brody Pennell: We Want to Help You!

At Brody Pennell, our ultimate goal is to be helpful. That involves going beyond just installing or fixing your HVAC system. Our entire team is dedicated to educating and building relationships with our customers. We aim to empower each and every one of our customers to make the best decisions for their home comfort.

As part of this dedication to quality service, every member of the Brody Pennell team is Trust-Certified. This means that they are trained to the highest standards, bonded and insured, and committed to 100% customer satisfaction. Not only are our HVAC technicians NATE-certified, but they wear ID badges, shoe covers, and have passed stringent drug, background, motor vehicle, and technician training exams.

When you meet with a Brody Pennell HVAC technician for the first time, you know that you’re dealing with a knowledgeable professional who is there to serve you. You should never be afraid to ask questions about your system or service options. We want you to know what is going on with your HVAC system and help you make the best decisions for your home comfort.

For more information about choosing an HVAC company, check out our guide for choosing the right contractor.

If you need help right away, don’t hesitate to call us: (310) 896-4911.

Many homeowners spend a significant amount of time thinking about how to save money on home costs throughout the year. Your heating and cooling system contributes to a big part of your home spending. That’s why it’s vital that you look for ways to increase your energy efficiency to decrease your total costs. With a little planning and some small changes to your habits, you can be on your way to saving more energy (and money) in no time. Below, we’ve rounded up some of our best tips on energy efficiency from our top blog articles.

Los Angeles Energy Efficiency Tips

Want to cut costs while saving the planet? Here are some of our favorite energy-saving tips from past blogs that you can use to reduce your energy usage and lower your monthly costs:

  1. Use a ceiling fan to help circulate cool air through your home.

Many homeowners feel like they have to choose between their ceiling fan and AC. Though the ceiling fan certainly uses far less energy than the air conditioner, it does not always keep you comfortable. In Energy Efficiency: Using Fans vs. Lowering the A/C, we take a look at how homeowners can use their ceiling fan and AC together to keep their home cool and comfortable while saving a significant amount of energy.

  1. Weatherproof your home.

Does your home ever feel drafty? Warm or cool air may be leaking out of cracks around your doors, windows, and air ducts, which makes it harder for your HVAC system to keep your home comfortable. Weatherproofing your home can help you find and eliminate these air leaks that waste energy and cost you money. Want more simple tips like this? We’ve got an infographic for that. Check out 6 Simple Tips for Saving Energy (And Money Too!) for more easy ways to save energy and cut down on monthly home costs.

  1. Invest in an energy-efficient furnace.

Your heater uses a lot of energy while keeping your home warm and comfortable during the colder months. By investing in a more energy-efficient furnace, you can heat your home without wasting energy or money. To learn more about furnace efficiency ratings and what they can mean for your monthly energy costs, take a look at our article, What are the Ratings for Furnace Efficiency? This is a great read for anyone that is thinking about replacing their furnace this year.

  1. Make sure that your HVAC system coils are clean.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, dirty evaporator coils can increase your compressor’s energy consumption by about 30 percent. These dirty coils decrease airflow, which in turn decreases the efficiency of your system. That’s why it is vital to have your HVAC system’s condenser and evaporator coils inspected and cleaned annually. For more great tips like these, check out Going Green While Saving Green: How to Increase Energy Efficiency and Lower HVAC Costs.

  1. Purchase a start thermostat.

By now, you’ve probably heard about the smart thermostat. This device allows you to control your home temperature remotely from your smartphone or mobile device, and the system even gets to know your habits so that it can automatically adjust your home environment to your ideal home comfort settings. But did you know that this innovative piece of home technology can actually help you save energy and cut down on monthly heating and cooling costs? We explain all of this and more in What is a Smart Thermostat, Anyway? If you have been considering a smart thermostat, this is a must-read.

Want to learn more about energy efficiency, home improvement, and HVAC? Be sure to check out our blog each month for more great content. While you’re at it, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ so that you never miss an update from Brody Pennell.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “prevention is the best medicine”? Well, the same is true for your HVAC system. Just like your vehicle needs a regular oil change and routine inspection, your HVAC system needs to be inspected, cleaned, and lubricated at least once a year. A maintenance agreement makes this process easy and hassle free, helping you keep your air conditioning and heating system well maintained and working efficiently throughout the year. Below, we’ll discuss how a Maintenance Agreement from Brody Pennell can benefit you as a homeowner.

Benefits of a Maintenance Agreement from Brody Pennell

Regularly maintaining your system is an important part of keeping your air conditioner and heater running smoothly. During regular maintenance visits, your HVAC technician can identify wear and tear or small repair needs early before they become more expensive problems. Not only does this reduce the risk of major breakdowns and malfunctions, but it also ensures that your system is running efficiently, which can help you save money on energy costs while also getting the most life out of your HVAC system.

With a maintenance agreement, Brody Pennell customers are also able to easily maintain and validate manufacturer’s warranties on their heating and cooling equipment. In addition, this maintenance agreement includes warranties on all parts, labor, and repairs completed under the agreement for 12 months.

In the end, one of the greatest benefits that the maintenance agreement can offer is convenience. Homeowners no longer have to worry about maintaining their HVAC system or whether or not their system needs repairs. The maintenance agreement offers improved comfort and reliability as a trained HVAC technician from Brody Pennell is inspecting your system to ensure that it’s working properly and efficiently. Yet another convenience that the agreement offers is extended appointment times that better fit your schedule.

Maintenance Agreement Specials

In addition to saving money through improved efficiency, reduced costly breakdowns, and longer equipment life, homeowners can also save money on HVAC repairs and products with the maintenance agreement. Brody Pennell offers the following specials to customers who have an agreement:

  • 10% discount on heating and air conditioning repairs
  • 10% discount on heating and cooling equipment
  • 10% discount on air quality accessories such as air cleaners, humidifiers, duct cleaning, and more

This is just another added benefit that the maintenance agreement offers Los Angeles homeowners. Though it is hard to say that any benefit compares to the peace of mind that homeowners get in knowing that a Brody Pennell certified technician is only a phone call away to help keep their families comfortable year-round.

Contact us today if you are interested in saving time and money with our maintenance agreements.

Today it seems like there are so many green products on the market, it may be hard to determine which environmentally-friendly products are right for you and your family. But you don’t have to be an environmentalist to see that increasing energy efficiency is both beneficial to the environment and your wallet. When it comes to your HVAC system, there are a few ways that you can increase efficiency while saving money in the long run.

How to Increase Energy Efficiency and Lower HVAC Costs

There are many simple steps that you can take right now to help increase your energy efficiency and lower HVAC costs. With these tips, you’ll be on your way to making your heating and cooling unit run smoother and more efficiently while also preventing unnecessary wear and tear to your HVAC system:

  1. Change your air filter regularly.

This is one of the easiest things that business and homeowners can do to improve the energy efficiency of their HVAC system. Yet so many people forget to change the air filter on a regular basis. A dirty or clogged filter slows down air flow, making your HVAC system work harder than it needs to when heating or cooling your home or office building. This wastes energy and can also lead to costly maintenance as dust and dirt builds up within the system.

  1. Make sure your heating and cooling ducts are properly sealed and insulated.

Ducts move air to and from your central air conditioner or forced air furnace. When there are cracks or air leaks in your duct system, this can become a real energy waster. By sealing and insulating ducts that run through the attic, garage, and other crawl spaces, you can help cut down on energy loss. In fact, according to Energy Star, sealing and insulating your air ducts can improve HVAC energy-efficiency by as much as 20 percent.

  1. Make sure that your HVAC system coils are clean.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a dirty evaporator coil decreases airflow, which can cause an increase in compressor energy consumption by about 30 percent. That is why it is important to have your home or building’s HVAC system condenser and evaporator coils inspected and cleaned each year. Not only will this help improve efficiency, but it can help prolong the life of the unit, saving you even more money over time.

  1. Get an annual HVAC tune-up from a professional technician.

All homeowners should get an HVAC tune-up once a year from a qualified HVAC technician. Studies show that effective HVAC preventative maintenance can cut energy costs by 5 to 40 percent depending on the system and equipment in your home. Not to mention regular maintenance can also extend the life of the equipment and improve its ability to keep your home comfortable throughout the year.

If you would like more information on how you can increase energy efficiency, contact the HVAC experts at Brody Pennell today. We would love to discuss all of your home comfort options with you from new energy-efficient HVAC systems to affordable upgrades.

From Beverly Hills to Los Angeles you’ll find stars, historical sites and an endless supply of great restaurants. But we have some facts that will blow your mind, check them out and see how many you know. If you’re in need of any HVAC or plumbing services, please feel free to call us anytime for all your HVAC needs.

BrodyPennell Interesting Facts about Los Angeles - Main

Carbon monoxide is a gas produced by burning any type of fuel. If humans inhale too much of this gas, it replaces oxygen molecules in the bloodstream and causes poisoning, which can be deadly. You should take the steps necessary to prevent the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning in your home.

Many appliances in the home, including fireplaces, space heaters, wood-burning stoves, water heaters and gas central heaters, are sources of carbon monoxide. If the area where the appliance is in use has poor ventilation or the appliance leaks, carbon monoxide can escape into the atmosphere and pose a threat to the home’s occupants.

Common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include, fatigue, headache, nausea, irregular breathing and dizziness. One sure sign these symptoms are related to excess carbon monoxide is if walking outdoors makes the individual feel better but going back inside triggers the symptoms.

Every level of the home should have at least one carbon monoxide alarm and one smoke alarm. Every alarm should meet the latest safety standards set forth by the Underwriters Laboratories. Set a reminder or choose a day of the year that is easy to remember to change the batteries in each detector.

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Always open the flue before burning any fuel in a fireplace. Leave the flue open until the fire is completely out. Do not burn charcoal in a fireplace or attempt to use a barbecue grill indoors. It is a good idea to hire a professional to clean the chimney once a year.

Remain alert for signs of rust, corrosion or soot buildup on major appliances, vents and chimneys. Have a qualified technician perform an annual inspection to make sure there are no leaks.

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If you use a space heater, always use the proper fuel and keep the area well-ventilated to allow any fumes to escape. If you have a wood burning stove, verify that it complies with current EPA emissions limits and all local regulations. Never attempt to burn anything except wood in this type of stove.

Homeowners who take these precautions can keep their families safe from the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Follow our blog for more information on heating, cooling, and keeping your home energy efficient.