It Was Warm Just A Minute Ago...
Summer was great while it lasted, but now the colder weather is on the way. In Fall, the temperatures can drop at a moment’s notice. Help keep your home consistently comfortable with these helpful Fall tips for fighting unexpected cold snaps.
Don’t let cold walk through the front door
Doors are great for people and pets. Unfortunately, cold will also try to sneak in every time a door is opened. And it will try to force its way in through leaking seals around your doors even when they’re closed. Replace worn or insufficient weather-stripping to preserve the barrier between cold and comfort.
Make sure your furnace is in shape
The best time to repair or maintain your furnace or heat pump is before you really need it. Schedule an appointment with Blair Heating & Air to get a system checkup, to make sure you’re squared away before it becomes an emergency.
Performing a system check will also make sure your furnace, air handler, heat pump, or air conditioner are all ready for the up-and-down temperatures that Fall can bring, as the weather goes back and forth between hot and cold.
Get out the caulking gun
Small holes can mean small air leaks. And small air leaks are all it takes to let the warmth inside your home escape into the wild. Caulk small holes and cracks yourself, or find a local handyman to give you a hand. Pay close attention to areas around doors and windows, where weathered wood can start to break down.
Let your furnace breathe
Your air handler or furnace is going to be working overtime as the weather gets colder. Make sure it has unrestricted airflow with a clean furnace filter. Drier winter weather can also produce more dust, so checking your filter now will help keep your air cleaner as the season's change.
What's Happening in the Desert?
The Desert Art Festival will return to The River at Rancho Mirage for Thanksgiving weekend, November 26 – 28.
Desert Art Festival will feature artists from throughout the Western United States displaying their original work in all mediums of fine art and fine craft. Artwork on display will include collage, ceramics, mixed media, paintings, photography, sculpture in clay, glass, metal, and bronze, jewelry, fiber art, and more. All work on display will be available for purchase.
Featured artists include Richard Curtner of Cathedral City with collage, Marie Barbera of Yorba Linda, California with her native American and wildlife sculpture, Mariusz Rynkiewicz from Everett, Washington with his blown glass designs, and Nicholas Vicknair from Bend, Oregon with resin paintings.
Also presenting her unique, original designs in mixed media will be Christine Hausserman from Fallbrook, California, and Linda Perkins of Palm Springs displaying mixed media.
The hours of the event are from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Admission and parking are free.
The event is hosted by The River at Rancho Mirage and produced by West Coast Artists.
Trendspotting: The Future of Air
Recently there's been a lot of talk about the future – the future of homes, the future of building materials, the future of energy. But what about the future of air?
At Blair Heating and Air, we keep a pulse on HVAC industry trends. Rooted in industry resources and data, here are a few of the trends shaping the future of air.
Equipment is aging...and likely will need replacing soon
We're 20 years past the new construction boom of the early 2000s, and many HVAC systems are due for replacement. Ideally, you should replace your unit when it's 11-20 years old, which means homeowners will soon start to feel the effects of aging equipment.
More than one-third of recent HVAC buyers considered their purchase an emergency. Don't get caught making a quick decision in the middle of summer as you swelter without A/C. Start your research early to find the best HVAC system and contractor that can provide your perfect level of comfort.
We know these purchases are big decisions, so we offer a suite of products with lasting benefits.
Sustainability on the rise
Consumers want environmentally friendly products in the home. In fact, 75% of people who recently purchased an HVAC system said they will pay more for an environmentally friendly product.
Energy efficiency is also the main reason homeowners purchase a programmable thermostat – 67% reported saving on energy costs. Not only are we concerned about taking care of the environment, but these sustainability efforts also have an impact on our wallets. This means efficiency is one trend that’s here to stay.
At Blair Heating and Air, we're doing our part to help. We've consistently offered the most efficient furnaces, air conditioners, and heat pumps available and offer more Energy Star rated heating and cooling products than our competition.
Smart homes are getting smarter
Smart home technology has evolved significantly over the last five years and will continue to do so. Of those who recently purchased an HVAC system, 25% have home thermostats that are smart, internet-enabled and programmable. This is up from just 14% in 2016.
As homeowners continue to see the value of smart technology and invest in it for their own homes, it's important for them to include the air conditioner or furnace in their consideration set. The smartest, most efficient, most precise heating and cooling systems are the ones that include smart thermostats with smart equipment. An example of such a system is the Dave Lennox Signature collection of products, coupled with the Lennox iComfort® S30 smart thermostat.
As air quality declines, homeowners expect more
According to the EPA, people spend about 90% of their time indoors. We also found that one-quarter of HVAC buyers rate their indoor air quality as moderate to poor.
The air you breathe can affect every aspect of your life, including quality of sleep, mood, energy levels, mental health, and productivity. We offer a full line of Healthy Climate® indoor air quality products such as the PureAir and PureAir S air purification systems that address all common pollutants and help you breathe better.
At Blair Heating & Air, we're on a mission to improve the way people feel about the air in their homes.
Holiday Travel Guide
As the holidays quickly approach, it’s high time to start booking your holiday trips—if you haven’t already. Flying over the holidays can be pricey, but with a little bit of planning and some flexibility, it is possible to find cheap flights. Even if you didn't act by the end of September, all isn't lost—especially in 2021 when we're seeing a lot more last-minute deals than usual.
How Thanksgiving travel will be different in 2021
Procrastinators are in a better spot than usual. In normal years, the best time to search for cheap flights - what we call the Goldilocks Window - is 2-6 months in advance for international travel and 1-3 months in advance for domestic. However, things are different this year. In general, we are seeing many more last-minute fares than we have in years past.
This can largely be attributed to the fact that demand has lagged supply on many routes. Airlines increased capacity very quickly, particularly on a lot of leisure-focused routes, and though travel demand has bounced back, it’s still below pre-pandemic levels.
Cancellations, lines, and delays may be more common, especially on certain airlines. Throughout the travel and hospitality industries, from airlines and airports to car rental offices to hotels and restaurants, businesses are dealing with staffing shortages, so you can generally expect to encounter some delays and long lines throughout your travels. Some airlines have already started cutting back on flights through the fall and early winter based on lagging demand, which means you may see your scheduled flight change.
Hotels and car rentals have returned to normal prices or lower. Over the summer car, rental prices soared as travel quickly rebounded and car rental agencies played catch-up after selling off their fleets in 2020. Things got so bad that at one point, the cheapest possible car rental in Maui was $650/day. But with the summer travel season over, demand for rental cars has dropped significantly. Add on the fact that agencies have spent months replenishing their stock and you now see rental prices back to a pre-pandemic normal.
Tips for finding cheap flights
Always book before the 21-, 14-, and 7-day marks. If you absolutely have to buy a last-minute ticket, here's a way to avoid predictable price jumps. Every time you purchase a flight, the ticket has fine print dictating, among other things, how it’s priced. These are known as “fare rules” and tickets are lumped in many different “fare buckets.” One of the most common fare rule items is an advance purchase requirement, which mandates that a particular fare bucket is only available if booked, say, 21 days or more in advance of travel. Also common: 14-day and 7-day advance purchase requirements.
Try hidden city ticketing if the place you want to go is a hub. One way to hack airline prices is to look at other ticket options that might have you connecting in the hub you’re attempting to travel to. In other words, a flight from San Francisco to Nashville with a layover in Atlanta might be cheaper than a direct flight from San Francisco to Atlanta; if you’re looking to go to Atlanta as your final destination, you’d take the first leg and not the second. Just remember when you skip a leg on a hidden-city flight, the rest of your ticket will be canceled, so book two one-way tickets, or else skip the flight only on your return leg.
Look at alternate airports. Expand your search to encompass airports within a short drive radius. For example, if you’re going to New York City, flying into Newark, or even Philadelphia, might yield cheaper flights than JFK or LaGuardia.
If you’re flying internationally, focus on getting across the ocean as cheaply as possible. This might mean booking a round-trip flight to a major hub like Paris or London and then another cheap roundtrip flight to your final destination via a low-cost regional carrier (or taking the train, bus, or ferry).
Travel pro tips
Fly early in the morning or late in the evening. Most people will want to arrive at their destination in the late morning or early afternoon, so the least crowded (and likely cheapest) flights will be the undesirable super early morning flights and the flights that leave later in the evening.
Arrive extra early. Prepare for longer-than-usual lines by arriving at the airport earlier than you might otherwise. And if you have a connection, make sure you give yourself plenty of time.
Pack light and go carry-on only. Everything takes a bit longer during peak travel periods, so avoid a lengthy wait at baggage claim by packing only a carry-on. If you can, now is also the time to pay for services like priority boarding. With full planes, overhead space will run out, so boarding earlier ensures you don't get stuck having to check your bag.
Don't forget extra masks and sanitizer. Masks are required in airports and on planes, so bring an extra or two in case you lose one or it gets soiled. And remember, you can now bring up to 12 ounces of hand sanitizer, unlike other liquids that are limited to 3 ounces or less for carry-ons.
Monthly Recipe Recommendation
Green Bean Casserole
- 1 lb. green beans, trimmed
- 6 tbsp. butter, divided
- 1 onion, sliced into half-moons
- 8 oz. sliced mushrooms
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
- 3 c. whole milk
- 1 1/2 c. French's fried onions
- Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare an ice bath: In a large pot of boiling water, add green beans and cook until bright green, about 6 minutes. With a slotted spoon or tongs, quickly transfer green beans to an ice bath to cool, then drain and transfer to a large bowl.
- In a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until mushrooms are golden, about 5 minutes more. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute, then transfer mixture to green bean bowl.
- In the same skillet over medium heat, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Whisk in flour and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat, then add green bean mixture and toss until evenly combined.
- Bake until warmed through and bubbling, about 30 minutes.
- Top with fried onions and bake 5 minutes more.
Monthly Restaurant Recommendation
When Coachella Valley locals hear the phrase "the desert," they usually think of home. But the world contains many deserts, and the owners of Salt Flats in Cathedral City want to take you on a culinary journey through all of them. The restaurant, which opened on Oct. 21, promises "modern American food." Despite that rather generic description, owner Vincent Combrevis said the restaurant's dishes are based around an uncommon concept: take desert fare from around the globe and add an "American flair." The result is plated such as "Tangier Chicken" — which comes with apricots, olives, and preserved lemons are served with cardamom and saffron rice — and a lamb burger with garlic and mint, pickled beets, and a tabbouleh salad. "We have no borders," said Combrevis. The "American flair" unfortunately means that some Middle Eastern delicacies like sheep’s head don't make it onto the menu. So if you're looking for those experiences, you'll just have to book a real flight.
Hours: Open 3:30 to 8:30 p.m. every day except Monday
Location: 68-718 E. Palm Canyon Drive Suite 101, Cathedral City
Blair Heating & Air is a great place to work, and we’re hiring! If you’re a highly motivated, quality conscious HVAC Installer or Technician (or know of someone who is), we want to hear from you. We’re proud to offer above-average wages, as well as excellent perks and benefits:
Interested? E-mail your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 760-537-1120 for more information.