Tips & Articles

How to Keep Your Home Cool Without the AC

A family using fans in the top 10 ways to cool home without acAs the temperature climbs, you will find no better investment than your home’s air conditioning system to keep you cool. Making smart choices inside your home can prevent your AC from working too hard to maintain a cool temperature and could even help you have a cool home without AC if you want to give your system a rest.

Here are some tried-and-true and a few new ways to cool your house without the AC.

  1. Window Treatments
    Sunlight coming in through your windows can result in up to 30% of the excess heat in your house. Using blinds and light colored curtains can reduce the afternoon temperature in your house by almost 20 degrees. If you don’t want to reduce the light in your house just close the blinds on the south and west facing windows. You can also use sheer curtains to diffuse the light and reflect much of the heat back outside.
  2. Run Your Appliances at Night
    Laundry appliances generate heat whether through the hot water of the washer or the heat of the dryer. The heat generated by the dishwasher also contributes to the inside temperature. It’s best to run them at night when the air is cooler outside.
  3. Plant Deciduous Trees
    Planting trees that lose their leaves in the winter (deciduous) on the south and west sides of the house will generate cooling shade in the summer and allow sunlight to warm your house in the winter. Choose fast growing Poplar, Sycamore or Maple trees. You can also plant Birch trees that have smaller leaves, so the raking is a little easier.
  4. Grill More
    Your oven and stovetop are cooking more than your food. They are also raising the temperatures in your kitchen. Start grilling outside as the day starts to cool. With a little dedication you can grill most of the foods you make in the oven from pizza to oysters and french fries.
  5. Keep the Fans On
    Air circulation is important, especially if you are not using your AC. Many systems allow you to set the fan to run for a set number of minutes per hour. In the evening, running a fan to push the hot air out of the attic and pull in the cooler air will also help lower temperatures. Ceiling fans also do a great job of moving cool air downward within the room.
  6. Dehumidify
    In Central PA; humidity can make all the difference. If you have a dehumidifier keep it running. Also, be aware of the humidity generating activities in your home. Bathing or running the laundry and dish washer can add moisture to your home, so run the bathroom fan or a ceiling vent to pump out that moist air whenever possible.
  7. The Beauty of a Box Fan
    Box fans placed in or near windows can help draw in cool air from outside or pull warm air out of a room depending on how they are placed. If the blades face the window screen, the fan helps pull hot air out of the room. Flipped the other way, it draws in air from outdoors.
  8. Use LED Bulbs
    LED bulbs not only save on electricity, they also generate less heat. In Pennsylvania, electric companies often subsidize the cost of LED bulbs to lower the price, which in turn allows you to save on your electric bill and reduce the heat added to your home at night.
  9. Change Your Sheets
    Cotton sheets are the coolest option of the traditional fabrics. In the summer you will want to use sheets with a LOWER thread count since they breathe more. For those who need to sleep under a comforter or a blanket, try using a crochet blanket with wide openings to keep the air moving. There are also sheets and pillows engineered to absorb moisture and keep you cool. Some people even fill a hot water bottles with cold water and put sheets in the freezer before bed to stay extra cool.
  10. Old School AC
    It’s an oldie but a goodie. Put a pan full of ice in front of a fan. The fan will blow cool moist air from the pan into the room. This trick works best in smaller rooms.

We’re sure if you ask your elders they will have additional ideas you have never heard of and may want to try. In the meantime, sit back and appreciate the blessings of the modern system in your home today. Contact Ranck Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning to keep your home cool this summer!

Simple Ways to Save Water This Summer

Sprinkler on grass in summertimeSummer is peak season for water usage in America. Whether you’re cooling off, watering your plants, or washing your car, the
gallons quickly add up. In fact, the average American family of four uses around four hundred gallons of water a day, but could actually live off about three gallons!

We’ve compiled a list of tips to help you and your family conserve water this season. By putting these tips to use you’ll be able to reduce your water bill, reduce pollution, and contribute to preventing drought in your community.

1. Water your lawn and plants in either the early morning or evening. When the sun is high, water quickly evaporates. Put your water to better use by watering at times when moisture is more likely to stay in the soil.
2. If you own a pool, make sure to cover it even in the summertime. Leaving your pool open leads to water evaporation, which results in filling up your pool more often.
3. Apply a thick layer of bark mulch to your trees, shrubs, and gardens to help retain moisture and limit the need to water your plants as often.
4. When using a sprinkler for your lawn, make sure it isn’t spraying your house, driveway, or walkway and is truly watering your lawn. And, when cleaning your driveway and walkways, you can conserve water by using a push broom instead of the hose.
5. Purchase a rain barrel to collect water from your gutter’s downspout. You can reuse the water for your lawn and garden.
6. Don’t wash your car at home. You’ll use almost twice as much water than if you took your vehicle to the car wash.
7. After bringing your fresh produce home from the store, rinse them in a bowl of water instead of running water. This way you can repurpose the water for your plants and garden when you are done.
8. Avoid washing your dishes by hand. You could save up to 20 gallons of water by using your dishwasher, just remember to only run the appliance when it is full.
9. Thaw your frozen foods on the counter or in the fridge to avoid using running water.
10. Begin composting instead of relying on your garbage disposal. You’ll use less water and turn discarded fruit and veggies into useful gardening soil.
11. Shorten your showers, there’s no need to take a long hot shower in the summer. You can save 150 gallons a month by shortening you showers by just 2 minutes.
12. We’ve all heard this one before; turn your faucet off when brushing your teeth. It’s one of the simplest ways to conserve water.
13. Fix leaky faucets and running toilets. You could silently be wasting up to 100 gallons of water a day with a leaky toilet and dripping faucets waste about 2700 gallons of water per year.
14. Upgrade to a low-flow showerhead and a low-flush toilet to reduce your water usage by 75%. Contact Ranck and we’ll help you fix your leaks and install efficient bathroom fixtures.
15. When doing the laundry make sure to only wash a full load and avoid using the permanent-press setting, which uses additional water.
16. When eating out, let the waiter know if you are unlikely to drink the complimentary glass of water so it won’t end up down the drain after you leave.
17. Purchase recycled products when you can, they use less water and energy to make. Look for the 100% Recycled label when shopping for disposables.
18. And lastly, work to educate your family on how to conserve water and why it’s important. If each of us does our part we can make a larger impact when it comes to water conservation.

We hope these simple tasks will help you and your family on the path to conserving water, reducing pollution, and lowering your water bill. Should you have additional questions about how your family can conserve water or are in need of a service, give us a call.

Setting Your Thermostat for Summer

Summer Heat Thermometer

Every family has its debates. For some, it’s over what to eat for dinner, while others may bicker over who controls the remote or the best temperature setting for the AC. As an HVAC company we can’t help plan the perfect menu or regulate control of the remote, but we can help your family cool down when you lose your cool over comfort. Here are some of our top tips.

Savings and Comfort

When disputing over what temperature to keep your home, the debate is not always about comfort but rather saving money. Over 40% of the average home’s electricity bill in the US is a result of air conditioning or heating use. Each time someone lowers the temperature on the thermostat, your electric bill rises.

Find a Balance

The best way to approach this issue is to try and find a balance between comfort and expense. After all, what good is having an air conditioner if you don’t use it? You’ll find plenty of sources online claiming they have the golden number for your AC setting. For example, Energy Star recommends setting your thermostat at 78° F during the daytime when you’re home. While that temperature may be too warm for some, it could be just perfect for others. The key is to identify your family’s comfort zone.

Find Your Comfort Range

Instead of focusing on a magic number, try to find a temperature range that best suits your family. Most families are generally comfortable in the range of 70 to 79 degrees. Then try and narrow down the degree that can save you the most money on your electricity bill.

The best way to do this is to start at the low end of your family’s range and raise the temperature one degree each day. When your family starts to raise concerns about being uncomfortable, you know you’ve reached your limit. For every degree you raise the thermostat you could save up to 3% on your electricity bill.

While You’re Away or Sleeping

There are also many debates on what temperature you should set the thermostat to when you are away from home or preparing for nighttime. Again, this is all relative to your comfort, but many sources recommend setting your thermostat between 80 and 85 degrees when you are away from home. The night air is much cooler, so when preparing for bed, try to not always rely on your AC system by opening a window instead. Or if AC is a must, turn on a ceiling fan to help keep the thermostat temperature at a higher setting.

Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

Worried you’ll forget to turn your AC up or down depending on the time of day? Investing in a programmable thermostat is a great way to reduce stress, lower your electricity bill, and keep your family comfortable throughout the summer. Need help setting up your programmable thermostat? Give Ranck a call. 

Use Your Fans

Our final tip to help your family stay comfortable this summer is to use fans. Whether they are ceiling fans, box fans, or standing fans, a fan can help keep you cool while you are home and allow you to keep the thermostat on the higher end of your comfort range. Remember to turn your fans off when you are away, as they only work to cool people not homes.

We hope this article will help you and your family tackle the debate over the thermostat and keep cool this summer. Should you have additional questions about home cooling or are in need of a service, give us a call. 

A Special Thank You

Ranck employees

“No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” -Aesop

Community and personal relationships have always been important to us. It has been 60 Years since Bob Ranck purchased the property on Marietta Ave where we are still located today. Since then, we have expanded our service area to include residents in southern Berks County. As we grow our service area and work to attract new customers we realize the secret to our success is our long-term relationship with you, our customer, and for that we want to say thank you.

Ranck Referral Program To show our appreciation we have created a Referral program to give back to customers, like you, who have relied on Ranck generation after generation for their heating, plumbing and cooling needs. Your continued business, and referrals allow us to build more meaningful customer relationships and continue to improve our community as a whole.

Building Community

Supporting and giving back to our community is a cornerstone of our business. We are an active partner, sponsor and contributor to numerous charities and civic organizations in the communities in which we work. We also believe in investing in our employees, providing training and creating a culture that keeps our team strong.

Within Ranck, the average tenure for our staff is18 years. This is because we are committed to rewarding hard work and hiring people who have a passion for serving others. This ensures our customers see a friendly face and get exceptional service – every time they need us. That’s part of our promise to you and the reason why an astonishing 85% of our business is with repeat customers like you.

The Importance Of Referrals

“When I recommend someone, I feel as if I am protecting/looking out for my friend or family member by putting them in touch with someone I know will do good work.“ – Connie K. of Lancaster

When a customer like Connie refers a new client to us it is an act of kindness. A referral does more than give us a new customer, it also lets us know you believe in us and that we are still doing things right. Often referred customers will let us why their friend liked us enough to give that referral. This not only provides us with valuable feedback on our service, it also helps renew our purpose to do exceptional work. Your influence in your community then helps us serve those in it. We would like to recognize the value you ad to our business with our Ranck Customer Referral Program.

How Our Referral Program Works

The referral progam is simple. You get $50 from Ranck when a friend or family member you refer schedules a service call or a new system installation. The person you referred also gets $50, after their first appointment with Ranck. To keep track of your referrals you just need to set up a profile and enter the name of the person you are referring. That’s it. The whole community wins!
As we move forward into the next 60 years we’d like to thank you again for your continued business, and the new friends you have referred to us. We hope you enjoy our reward program, you’ve earned it…)

Energy Saving Water Heaters

At Ranck, we have many ways to save energy when heating water. The Geyser, the Heat Pump Water Heater, is the perfect addition to any home or light commercial tank based water heater. It provides numerous important benefits, such as…

The Geyser reduces energy costs.

  • The Geyser is THE MOST EFFICIENT TOOL available to heat water! It uses Heat Pump technology which means that, instead of using traditional energy sources such as gas, oil or electricity to heat the water, it uses the heat and moisture in the surrounding air. The only electricity used is a small amount needed to operate the Geyser, and even that is converted to heat. This is why Heat Pumps like the Geyser are considered a RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCE, like sun or wind power.
  • The Geyser is up to 370% efficient as compared to 60-95% for more traditional water heating systems. This means that for every 1 unit of energy required to operate the Geyser, 3.7 units of energy are generated from the air to heat the water. How many other products do you know of that are more than 100% efficient? Most experts agree that energy costs will continue to rise in the coming years and that it is more important than ever to conserve our natural resources. The Geyser makes a lot of sense for economic as well as environmental reasons.

The Geyser is environmentally friendly.

  • The Geyser from Robert H Ranck, Inc, utilizes a renewable energy source to heat water – air! In recent years, we have become aware of the need to reduce our use of traditional energy for environmental reasons and it has also become very clear that we don’t want to be dependent on foreign sources for our energy supply. For these reasons, the State and Federal Governments strongly promote energy reduction and independence. In fact, use of renewable energy is required to be able to meet both these objectives.

The Geyser dehumidifies and cools the surrounding air.

  • The Geyser provides an added benefit by dehumidifying the air surrounding the unit, which helps to reduce harmful mold, mildew, and germs. The Geyser will dehumidify the area at a rate of up to 50 pints per day providing a cleaner and more comfortable environment for your home. This added dehumidification benefit of the Geyser is substantial – the annual costs of operating an average sized dehumidifier typically run $1 per day, or $365 per year, plus the cost of $200-$400 for the unit itself. Therefore, when you combine the benefits of the Geyser, your choice should be simple – select the Geyser!

Do what is right for our environment and for our future generations – conserve energy now by utilizing the Geyser from Robert H Ranck, Inc!