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Freon vs. Puron. What’s the big deal? How does it affect you?

by Platinum Home Warranty Team

You may have caught wind of a big change underway in the air conditioning industry. Freon is being phased out. Puron is the new go-to. If you’re wondering what this means and how it affects you, here’s the scoop.

The story in a nutshell, Freon (R22) used to be the standard refrigerant used in air conditioners. It’s being phased out due to environmental concerns and will eventually be unavailable. Instead, Puron (R410A) has become the refrigerant of choice. Though Freon and Puron serve similar functions, they cannot be used interchangeably. This means that you cannot just start using Puron if your air conditioning system was designed to use Freon. You actually need a different system altogether. Because manufacturing of Freon is intentionally being reduced each year, it’s becoming increasingly difficult and costly to acquire it. Prices have jumped significantly and are expected to keep skyrocketing as time goes on. Freon will be completely phased out by 2020.

How does this affect me?

If you have a maintenance issue that involves Freon (like a leak or compressor issue), what was once a basic repair may now be quite costly. Given the shortages of Freon, many homeowners are finding that paying top dollar for it no longer makes sense. Instead, they choose to put that money towards a new air conditioning system. Regardless of whether you have an immediate repair issue, we recommend that you begin to consider your upgrade options if your system uses Freon. Whether you choose to upgrade now or plan for the future, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) phase out plan will push you to make the switch eventually.

How do I know my if system uses Freon?

You’ll need to reference your system documentation or have a professional take a look. All air conditioners manufactured after December 31, 2014 use Puron and are already up to date. If your system was manufactured prior to 2015 though, the answer is less clear cut. Puron was introduced as early as 1995, so it’s possible to have an older system that uses it. If you are considering an upgrade, reach out to us. We can take a look and see whether your system uses Freon. If an upgrade is right, we’re happy to work with you to determine the best system and payment plan for your needs.

What is Freon, and why is the EPA phasing it out?

Freon is a type of refrigerant. Refrigerant plays a substantial role in the cooling process within your air conditioning system. The EPA has recognized Freon as an ozone-depleting substance that causes environmental harm. For more scoop, check out the EPA’s website.

Is it true that you can convert an old system to use Puron?

Yes, some people are more or less hacking their old system to use Puron in place of Freon. We don’t recommend this. In most cases, this conversion voids your warranty (whether that be your manufacturer’s warranty or your home warranty) and the cost of labor is high. In the long run, you’re much better off purchasing a new system designed to use Puron.

10 Tips to Maintain Your Pool This Summer

by The Aladin Group LLC

It’s that time of year. Temperatures are absolutely ridiculous. So, if you’re a lucky (or just wise?) homeowner with a pool, you’re likely spending LOTS of time in it. Given that, it might need a bit extra attention. To keep your pool in top shape during this prime swim season, we recommend doing the following:

1. Skim Debris

Skimming the pool’s surface by hand every few days is one of the fastest and easiest ways to keep your pool clean. Floating debris will eventually sink, becoming harder to remove. Use a long-handled net called a hand skimmer or leaf skimmer to remove leaves, bugs and other unwanted items. Skimming significantly increases the efficiency of the pool’s circulation system and lowers the amount of chlorine you’ll need to add to your pool.

2. Clean Out Baskets

Cleaning out strainer baskets at least once a week also helps circulation and lowers chlorine demands. Locate strainer baskets attached to the side of aboveground pools and in the pool deck of in-ground pools. Simply remove the plastic basket and shake it out; spraying the inside with a hose can help dislodge stubborn objects.

3. Vacuum the Pool

A pool should be vacuumed every week to keep water clear and reduce the amount of chemicals you need to add to it. There are many types of pool vacuums. If you have a manual design, work it back and forth all over the surface of the pool like you would if vacuuming carpet. It’s good form to slightly overlap each stroke. Check the filter each time you vacuum, and clean it if necessary.

4. Brush Walls and Tile

Vacuuming isn’t the only maintenance that should be done once a week. Brushing the walls and tile helps minimize algae buildup and calcium deposits so they don’t fester and become larger problems. The material your pool walls are made of dictates what kind of cleaning tools you should use. Select a stiff brush for plaster-lined concrete pools and a softer brush for vinyl or fiberglass walls. For tiles, use a soft brush to prevent scratching or degradation of grout. A pumice stone, putty knife or a half-and-half mixture of water and muriatic acid can also work well.

5. Clean the Pool Filter

There are three kinds of pool filters: cartridge, sand and diatomaceous earth. While there are different maintenance procedures for each type, all require periodic cleaning depending on the type of filter and how often a pool is used. Cleaning the filter more often than recommended can actually hinder the filtration process. A clean filter is less efficient than one with a mild amount of dirt in it because the dirt helps trap other particles, which removes debris from the water. However, you don’t want to let the filter get too dirty. A sign that it’s time to clean is an increase in flow between the pressure gauge and flow meter. Clean the filter when the difference reaches 10 to 15 pounds (4.5 to 6.8 kilograms) per square inch.

6. Professionally Service the Heater

Pool heaters typically require the least maintenance of all pool equipment. Gas heaters can work fine without being serviced for a couple years, and electric ones can last even longer. Consult your manufacturer’s manual for specific care instructions. Sometimes, calcium scales build up inside the tubes of a heater and restrict flow, preventing the water from heating adequately. If this happens, recruit the help of a professional because the heater may need to be disassembled and have its tubes cleaned out with a wire brush or acid. Hiring someone to service your pool can cost $100 or more per month, depending on the maintenance

7. Check and Maintain Water Level

A lot of water will be lost throughout the swimming season largely because of evaporation and normal wear and tear, such as swimming, splashing and exiting the pool. When you remove debris with your skimmer throughout the week, that’s also a good time to check the water level. Ensure it doesn’t fall below the level of the skimmer, otherwise the pump could be damaged. If the water is low, use a garden hose to bring it up to safe levels. If you drain your pool to perform maintenance or once the swimming season has passed, be careful to not let the pool sit empty too long. As a general rule, it’s best to leave water in a pool throughout the winter because the weight of the water counteracts with forces from the ground pressing up against the pool from below.

8. Maintain the pH Level

Pool water should be tested regularly to make sure it’s clean and healthy. The pH scale is a measurement of acidity or alkalinity that runs from 0 to 14. A reading between 7.2 and 7.8 is ideal; this range is safe for swimmers and helps sanitizers work at top efficiency. You can monitor your pool’s pH level with a testing kit. There are many kinds of testing kits available; however, most homeowner versions are either reagent kits or test-strips. Reagent kits aren’t too difficult to use. You take a sample of pool water, then add liquids or tablets to it. The water changes color, indicating its chemical balance. Test-strips work differently. When you submerge them in the pool for a few seconds, dyes they contain cause them to change color. Next, match up the strip to a color chart to determine the pool’s pH level. Use this information to gauge what kind and how much of the chemicals your pool needs.

9. Supercholorinate Water

Organic contaminants like ammonia or nitrogen build up in a pool over time. Massive amounts of such contaminants can interact with a pool’s chlorine to form chloramines, which give off that potent chlorine smell that many people associate with pools. To get rid of this harsh odor, it’s necessary to superchlorinate — or shock — pool water back to normal chlorine levels. While it may seem counterintuitive, adding a large amount of chlorine to a pool can make the undesired odor go away. Some pools should be shocked once a week, while others can go a significantly longer time. Follow manufacturers’ instructions before superchlorinating your pool to get the best results.

10. Find and Repair Leaks

Sometimes it’s difficult to determine if low water levels are due to evaporation or a leak. You can discover leaks in your pool by conducting a simple bucket test. Fill a plastic bucket three-quarters full of water. On the inside of the bucket, mark the water line. Place the bucket in the pool, then mark the water line on the outside of the container. (If the bucket has a handle, remove it to allow for better stability while floating.) Let it float for two or three days. If the water inside and outside the bucket has gone down the same amount, your pool is losing water due to evaporation. However, if the pool water level has gone down more than the water inside the bucket, your pool has a leak. That’s your cue to call a professional to have it patched.

The Purpose of Your Home Warranty

by The Aladin Group LLC

 

When it comes to home warranties, one of the biggest differences between the happy homeowners and the not-so-happy ones lies in expectations. Happy homeowners know that the purpose of a home warranty is to reduce the cost of repairs. They know that some things will be covered and some things won’t. They realize that out-of-pocket expenses are to be expected.

 On the other hand, not-so-happy homeowners tend to be misinformed about the purpose of a home warranty. They believe it will eliminate the cost of repairs. Sadly, they soon find — it doesn’t matter which company or plan you choose, a home warranty does NOT eliminate the cost of repairs in your home. There are, indeed, many things that could go wrong that lie beyond the scope of any home warranty coverage.

 Knowing the purpose of your home warranty can make a big difference in your overall satisfaction with your home warranty! For more helpful scoop on what you can expect, check out our full resource.

 

This post is an excerpt from our resource Your Guide to Home Warranties. For the full guide with more helpful scoop, head to www.platinumhw.com/yourguide

Broker Open House

by The Aladin Group LLC

At The Aladin Group, we pride ourselves in developing new and fun ways to sell our listings. Our unique Cave Creek home is located at 5916 E Highland Rd and has horse property potential!Not only do we feature our listings in our monthly newsletter, we market our homes everywhere online, mail out postcards, drone videos, luxury flyers and do frequent open houses. Our listings are syndicated over 500 websites worldwide and we have a marketing team dedicated to giving your home the most exposure. Our events promote listings and partner up with Title Companies and/or Lenders, offering free appetizers and drinks to potential clients. Click on the link below to see our latest event featuring our Cave Creek home! 

Broker Open Video:

https://youtu.be/nUkNPGuGBCQ

Highland Drone Video:

https://youtu.be/WSVpfUJfcFo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Aladin Group
HomeSmart Elite Group
10601 North Hayden Road, #I-100
Scottsdale AZ 85260
480-359-6789
Fax: (602)507-3263