6 Tips for Choosing Your New Washer

Whether you’re moving into a new home or it’s just time to upgrade your old washing machine, you have some things to consider before you buy.

Naturally, you’re going to look at price, but there is also the size, where the washer resides in your home, how much you need to wash, who is doing the laundry, what features interest you, and the cost to run it.

It’s a lot to take in, so let’s explore these topics further.

  1. Pull Out the Tape Measure

Washers come in all shapes and sizes these days, and you may have a large laundry room or just a small corner in which to fit your washer.

Before you start looking pull out your tape measure and measure the space where you’ll be putting your washer to see what size will work best.

Keep in mind, you also have to get the washer through doors and up or down stairs as well!

There’s nothing worse than buying something you can’t fit in your house. In addition, check the inside depth of the bin to see if you can reach the bottom easily to get those pesky socks that are always trying to make a break for it.

  1. Consider Where You’re Placing the Washer

In Arizona, common areas for a laundry room are the main floor close to the garage or upstairs. Both of theses locations have their pros and cons.

A washer that vibrates could be really annoying if it’s housed on the second floor. Or if the laundry room is by the garage, then maybe a pretty, colorful washer will make more of a fashion statement than plain-old white one.

  1. Count Your Weekly Loads

Look at how much washing you’re likely to do when choosing your washer. The burden on a washer is much higher for a family of six than for a single person.

What types of things do you wash on a regular basis? Do you have a lot of comforters and blankets you want to wash at home? The bigger the items the more capacity you’ll need.

Washers can range from 2.45 to 5.6 cubic feet, and that’s a big difference. If you want a washer that can handle all types of loads go for the larger one with a quick cycle option which is perfect for smaller loads.

  1. Think of Who’s Doing Laundry in Your Home

If you have children, you’re probably going to get them started helping with laundry. Children tend to be a little smaller than adults, so you’ll want them to be able to reach everything easily.

Some washers come with pedestals for easier access, and many have programmable features so children can just push a button to get things working correctly.

Bells and whistles can be a huge benefit when you’re teaching another (little) person to run the machine!

  1. Fight Stains and Save Your Clothes

According to tests run by Good Housekeeping, a front load washing machine clean better than top-loading machines.

You can also get a washer with a special pre-treatment soaking option that is helpful when fighting stains, as is the steam setting found on some models.

And while you’re pushing to get your clothes extra clean, you don’t want to ruin them. The agitator in many machines can tangle up clothes, rip them when they get stuck, and shrink your clothes.

  1. Save Water and Slash Electricity Costs

Front-loading washers use significantly less water than do top loaders. Look for Energy Star models. They can cut electricity use 20% and water use by 35%. This can save you about $1,400 in ten years and use 110,000 fewer gallons during that time.

Bonus: Get Your Washer Professionally Installed!

Once you’ve chosen the perfect washer for your home and family, the next step is to install it! While this may seem like a simple task, it’s best left to the professionals.

Before you purchase your washer call in a professional plumber for information on which models are top rated and which will fit best in your laundry room.

The plumbers at Forrest Anderson are ready to help! Give us a call! Once you’ve made your purchase We’ll provide feedback on your washer choice and properly install it into your home.

Remember that a poorly installed washer can vibrate, which puts undue wear and tear on the machine. You’ve just made a substantial investment. Don’t leave it to chance!

Five Tips to Prepare Your Air Conditioning for Summer

Although the weather has been up and down lately, in no time, we will consistently be living with triple-digit temperatures.

That means now is the time to get ready for summer and prepare your air-conditioning unit so you have cool, comfortable air in your home day and night.

Here are the five things you can do right now to make sure you’re ready.

1. Check Insulation and Airflow

Whether you recently moved into your home or you’ve lived there for decades, things change. Homes move and little leaks that weren’t there before might suddenly be big issues.

And if airflow through your ducts from the air-conditioning unit throughout your home isn’t clear, the A/C’s efficiency could drop up to 40%. Don’t cool the neighborhood or make your unit work harder. Instead, be smart and check insulation and airflow before the temperatures rise.

2. Switch to a Peak Plan

Both APS and SRP offer peak plans that help to better manage your heating and cooling bill. Since most people aren’t home during the day, these plans allow you to use energy in the evenings and weekends for a lower cost per kW than during the hottest times of the day.

You may also opt to have the same bill amount each month through the year so you can budget better; rather than a $40 bill in the winter and a $400 bill in the summer, you might pay $200 a month year round. Contact your electric company to ask about switching to a peak plan this summer.

3. Install a Programmable Thermostat

If you’re going to take advantage of a peak plan, the best way to ensure you’re following through is to install a programmable thermostat. For a minimal investment and a little time learning how to use it, you can program your home to be a bit warmer in the day and start to cool down as you come home from work and while you’re sleeping.

Nest is probably one of the most popular brands on the market right now, and you can even control it remotely through your home’s Wi-Fi with your phone or tablet. Conserving energy has never been easier.

4. Replace Filters and Clean the Unit

During the warmer months, you may have forgotten about changing the filter in your air-conditioning unit, but now that it’s warmer, make yourself a reminder.

Change your filter each month and clean the intake vents to the unit—both inside and outside. If you have easy access to the unit, sweep away debris away each month, perhaps when you clean the pool or maintain the yard. Dirt and debris make the unit work harder, reduce the efficiency of your A/C system, and can put more of what you don’t want in your home.

5. Schedule A/C Maintenance

Before the summer really gets going, it’s not too late to set-up your maintenance and get someone in to inspect your air conditioning unit. One of our experienced technicians will inspect and review your complete system, from the outside to into your home, to ensure that your air is blowing cold and your unit is working efficiently.

And if there is a problem, you’d rather find out at the end of our inspection than in the middle of the night.

Be smart this summer by ensuring your air conditioning works better. Forrest Anderson is here to help.

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Commercial Clogged Drains: An Ongoing Problem

Whether you run a restaurant, daycare, office, or retail location, there’s a possibility that you will have clogged drains at some point.

When many people use the same facilities, it’s likely that things that really shouldn’t be put down the drain will be.

And that backs everything up—literally!

What can you do to keep your clogged drains clear?

Educate Employees and Guests

As much as we might like to think that everyone learned at home not to put foreign objects down the drain, that’s not always the case.

Things get shoved down there that shouldn’t be, and that is what wreaks havoc on your commercial plumbing.

Post signs near sinks to remind employees and guests that only liquids should be put down drains. If you have a commercial kitchen with a garbage disposal, let employees know what shouldn’t be sent through the disposal, items such as stringy foods, grease, eggshells, pasta, rice, and non-food items.

If you’re in a salon with lots of hair going through drains regularly, you’ll have just as many issues as a commercial kitchen. Hair bunches up and can wrap itself around the drain stopper as well as farther down the pipes. Keep Forrest Anderson Commercial Services plumbing team on speed dial!

Flush Drains Regularly

You can do this yourself with a commercial-grade liquid drain cleaner. The frequency of use of your drains will tell you how often to flush them, but once a week is likely ideal.

When you’re flushing drains, be sure to pull out the stopper and clean it. Gunk can get caught on there quickly and cake up, causing the real problem, even with clean pipes.

Even if you are taking a DIY approach to drain maintenance, it’s important that you also schedule regular maintenance with Forrest Anderson to help maintain your drains.

Sometimes, the issue isn’t in the building; it’s in the external line. And only your plumber can let you know what the difference is. Your plumber will also be able to suggest a quality liquid drain cleaner to use in between visits.

What to Do When You’re Stuck

Even with preparation, there will likely come a day when you can’t get water through the drain. If you can use a different sink for the day, perfect, but you’ll need to get help quickly. A plunger and a snake can be your best friends in this situation, but use caution. Just like doing anything with electricity can be tricky (and dangerous!), the same can be said of plumbing. Only take on the tasks you feel equipped to handle.

When it feels out of your control, it’s time to call Forrest Anderson, the commercial clogged drains specialists!

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Before You Sign Your Commercial Lease, Check Your A/C

Moving is always an exciting—and stressful—time.

This can be even more so when you’re moving your business into a larger office or retail space.

There are so many things to consider to insure you’re in the right location with the right amenities.

Hopefully, your commercial real estate agent will help you with most of those areas, but what about the A/C unit? Have you thought about cooling your new location?

Standalone or Neighbors?

There are pros and cons to having a standalone commercial location versus being connected to neighbors. When it comes to cooling, you could be looking at an impact to your unit’s efficiency and costs.

As with apartment living, office neighbors can provide additional insulation to reduce costs, but with little control over ventilation, costs could skyrocket.

If your retail location is in a mall or plaza, you will be sharing the air with the mall itself and other neighbors, which could affect your costs. If the mall is kept warmer than you want your location to be, for example, your unit will be working harder to cool your store as well as the warmer air coming in.

Commercial Air Conditioning Works Harder

At your house the likelihood of you opening and closing your front door multiple times per day as people come in and go out isn’t high. Also, you don’t have as much space or as many people there.

In your office or retail space, you’ll have more area to cool, as well as more activity. Public places are usually kept a bit cooler than your home would be, so there’s that consideration as well.

In a large location, you may have more than one unit to cool the space. What impact will that have on your cooling costs?

What Does the Lease Say?

One of the reasons it’s smart to work with a commercial real estate agent is because he or she will review the lease on your behalf. But are they looking for all the things that matter to you?

In some commercial lease situations, the tenant (that’s you) is responsible for maintenance of the heating and cooling units. That can get costly if you’re moving into an older building with older units.

And since most commercial spaces don’t go through the inspection process that a home would before it’s purchased, you may well be biting off more than you can chew.

Insist on a Professional Inspection

Before you sign the lease on your new office or retail location, insist that you be allowed to bring in an HVAC professional to inspect the heating and cooling system.

A technician from your Forrest Anderson Commercial Services will complete a thorough visual inspection of the interior and exterior components of the A/C unit to ensure it is in working condition.

We’ll also let you know if we foresee any challenges in the next year or so, such as if it’s an older unit that will be ready for replacement soon.

Protect yourself, your business, and your investment. When you’re ready for a new commercial location, use a real estate agent.

And have the location inspected by Forrest Anderson. We’ll ensure you’re making the right choice.

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Watch Out for High Cooling Costs In Your New Home

Congratulations on your goal to buy a new home! Whether it’s your first purchase or you’re moving up or down to accommodate your family, buying a house is always a big endeavor.

Since most of us don’t buy property every day, we sometimes forget some of the tasks involved in ensuring we’re investing money wisely.

In the Phoenix area, one of those considerations is cooling costs. Not all homes are equal in this regard, so you should definitely take into account how your new home can cost more than you may have anticipated.

Which Direction Does the Home Face?

A house on the side of Camelback Mountain may be unequivocally gorgeous, but if it’s on the south side, it’s going to come with some high cooling costs. Of course, you don’t have to be in the market for a multi million-dollar home to worry about your A/C bill.

Note where the majority of the home’s windows face and in what rooms. If the great room offers a room full of windows, it may be gorgeous, but if it captures the afternoon sun it could be quite expensive to keep cool, or the drapes may need to be drawn when you most look forward to the light.

How Well Insulated Are the Windows?

While we’re talking about where the windows face, let’s also discuss their insulation. Newer double-paned windows will do a lot to reduce heat transfer, whereas older single-panes are just going to conduct heat.

Certainly, you can go about replacing the home’s windows and upgrading the insulation, but you will want to take that into account when you make an offer. Windows and insulation can add a hefty amount to an already high price tag.

Is the House Ventilated Appropriately?

If you’re eyeing an older home there might have been some additions that don’t quite meet today’s ventilation standards. Count the number of vents in the home to be sure each room has its own way to receive cool air; in larger rooms, there should be more than one vent.

Larger homes often have two A/C units: one for the upstairs and one for downstairs. Since heat rises, having two systems enables you to regulate the home’s temperature better and avoid high cooling costs and keeps you from having to hope downstairs’ cool air eventually makes its way to the second floor.

Ask About the Cooling Costs

If you have the luxury to meet with the current owner, or even the owner’s Realtor, make a point to ask what the utility costs are like. You may even be able to call APS or SRP to ask them what the last year has looked like for the home. Sometimes, you cannot always see any pressing issues, but when you ask, you may get the whole story.

Buying a new home is a big job, but you can make a smarter investment when you know the right questions to ask in the process.

Trust Forrest Anderson, your residential heating and cooling experts, to provide you with sound guidance and advice to make the best choice you can.

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