Hey y’all!  I know, I know, Thanksgiving hasn’t even arrived and here I am sharing winter decorating tips, but it’ll be here before you know it and there is no time like the present (or Black Friday) to shop around for winter decor for your home!

1. Spruce up your mantelpiece – In the Fall, we added pumpkins, acorns, and Fall colors to the mantel. In the Winter season, try to spruce up your mantel by incorporating a mirror with tall vases on either side. Not only will this add the illusion of height to your piece, but will come across very simple and elegant. White flowers are always a great decorating touch!

2. Incorporate greenery and light colors into your home – Greenery and light flowers or decor can make you feel right at home in a clean, orderly and white winter wonderland. With clean lines and colors, you can create an in-home visual landscape. Also this way, when it comes to decorating for the holiday you choose to celebrate during this season, there won’t be any clashing colors either!

3. Hang lights indoors – Lights don’t just have to be outside your home. Incorporate classy lighting in new fixtures around the home, or even dangle some lights over a hallway mirror!

Throughout this season, I will be pinning my favorite Winter decor ideas on my Pinterest board! Feel free to share your own ideas in the comments!

Hurricane season may be over, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t have some rain and moisture in the air during the winter season! It is important to keep your home dry. Mold spores only grow when there is moisture in the air. Control the moisture levels and you will have control over the mold. It is also important to fix any water damaged areas in your home right away, if you do not fix the water damage problem and only take care of the mold, it is likely that the mold will return. Listed below is what you should know about mold according to the EPA.

  • Mold can effect your health associated with allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory issues.
  • There is no way to completely eliminate all traces of mold, only ways to control it, by controlling the moisture level. You can control the moisture level by using a dehumidifier.
  • If there is water damage, fix the source of the water problem.
  • Reduce indoor humidity to 30-60%.
  • Dry and clean off all water damaged objects withing a 48 hour period.
  • Prevent condensation. You can do this by making sure your home is properly insulated.

You can also install into your home a UV Germicidal Lights, to help you breath in the best quality air. So don’t let mold get the best of you! Make sure the air you are breathing in is clean and mold free. Keep the moisture under control to keep that mold out!

At Casteel Heating and Cooling, take our customer service very seriously.  That’s why we are so happy to see so many great reviews- it means we are doing our job!  Take a look at what our customers are saying on Kudzu this month!

“I appreciate Greg’s conscientousness toward his job and knowledge. I knew I was getting my money’s worth and was pleased with the service. He did a thorough job checking the system and that’s what is what is important during the maintenance.”

“These guys are total pros, from start to finish. This was a service call, and the result was bad news – that I needed a completely new furnace – but the tech took his time explaining why, let me see with his video camera inside the furnace, and explained the options for me. Casteel are always polite, on time, take care of your house and belongings (shoe covers, etc.). It’s hard to go wrong with these guys.”

“We are no strangers to Casteel. Our second home and Casteel came to inspect our furnace prior to its first use this season. I am so thankful I called before starting it up. Had a cracked heat exchanger! They are the most trustworthy people, and I cannot imagine ever calling anyone else. Thanks to everyone who helped us; Brian, Chris, Ryan, Chris and Michael.”

“Great service, thorough maintenance check, friendly staff. We’ve worked with Casteel for the past 5 and a half years, and they take their business personally.”

“The technicians that Casteel sends to me are always competent. What makes Casteel different is that their technicians and office staff are also courteous and respectful. Always a pleasant experience!”

“Casteel successfully serviced two units in my home when I thought I was going to have to replace them. Happy Customer!”

Our customers mean the world to us. Thank you to everyone who comes to Casteel for their heating and cooling needs!

Fall just started, but before we know it, winter will be here. Heaters will be run, comfortable blankets and fires will be used, and hot chocolate will become a nightly treat.

With the cooler weather, there is usually a decline in the amount of time spent outdoors and the amount of time that windows are left open to let in a breeze. All of this will contribute to an increase in indoor air pollutants, especially if you choose not to run your air because the weather feels “just right”.

Chemicals and pollutants are present in your home year-round, but in the summer, spring and fall, we are either outdoors more or we make sure to leave the windows open so we can take advantage of the great breezes that come through.  In the winter, however, given that we keep the windows closed and spend more time indoors, we create an environment for these pollutants to grow and make a negative impact in our home.

Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to keep that indoor air at a good quality and we’d love to share that with you!

1. Check your filters.  Make sure you filters are clean and fresh.  In the winter, your filters will fill up faster with these indoor air pollutants and once the filter is at capacity, those pollutants will them escape into the air in your home.

2. Consider an air filtration system.  An air filtration system can remove up to 99.98% of indoor allergens.

With Thanksgiving a little over a month away, I can picture the home decorations, the smell of Thanksgiving dinner and most importantly, the taste of that pumpkin pie!

So, I thought, “What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving time than to share some pumpkin recipes with the readers?” And, here we are!

Pumpkin Turkey Chili [via]

Ingredients:

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb ground turkey
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 cans pumpkin puree
1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 dash salt
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and saute the onion, green bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, and garlic until tender. Stir in the turkey, and cook until evenly brown. Drain, and mix in tomatoes and pumpkin. Season with chili powder, pepper, and salt. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes. Serve topped with Cheddar cheese and sour cream.

 

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese [via]

Ingredients:

2 cups dried elbow macaroni
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
4 oz Fontina cheese, shredded (1 cup)
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1 tbsp snipped fresh sage
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta in a large pot following package directions. Drain cooked pasta, then return to pot.  For cheese sauce, in a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Add whipping cream and milk all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir in cheese, pumpkin, and sage until cheese is melted. Stir cheese sauce into pasta to coat. Transfer macaroni and cheese to an ungreased 2-quart rectangular baking dish.  In a small bowl combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, walnuts, and oil; sprinkle over pasta. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until bubbly and top is golden. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. If desired, sprinkle with sage leaves.

 

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce [via]

Ingredients:

Unsalted butter, for the pan
8 cups 1/2-inch cubed  Pumpkin Bread, or other bread
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 tbsp bourbon
Whipped cream, for serving
Caramel Apple Sauce

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter a 10-inch glass baking dish.

2. Spread the bread cubes on a large baking sheet and bake in the oven, turning once, until lightly toasted, about 15 minutes. Let cool.

3. Combine the cream, milk, and vanilla bean and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.

4. Whisk together the yolks, sugar, maple syrup, and pumpkin puree in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the hot cream mixture until combined. Discard the vanilla bean and whisk in the bourbon.

5. Scatter the pumpkin bread cubes in the prepared baking dish. Pour the custard over the bread, pressing down on the bread to totally submerge it in the custard. Let sit for 15 minutes to allow the bread to soak up some of the custard.

6. Place the dish in a larger roasting pan and pour hot water into the roasting pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the glass dish. Bake until the sides are slightly puffed and the center jiggles slightly, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and the water bath and cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.

7. Serve the warm bread pudding topped with whipped cream and drizzled with spicy caramel apple sauce . Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds if desired.

 

Fall is already here and before we know it, the winter months will be making their presence known as well.  If you have been someone who has experienced an increased energy bill during the winter months, we are here to provide you with some energy and money-saving tips for the upcoming season.

  1. Seal your windows and doors.  If you have any gaps in your windows and doors leading to the outside, not only will your air conditioning be working overtime to compensate for the cool air coming in, but that same produced heat will escape through the gap, resulting in a cycle of increased energy cost.
  2. Lower your water heater temperature. We all need to be able to heat our water, right? You can still do so and lower the temperature on your water heater, all at the same time. Adjust the temperature just a tad and notice a change in your energy bill, without compromising your comfort.
  3. Invest in a programmable thermostat. There are those times that you’ll forget to set your thermostat before you leave the house, leaving it running and wasting energy. With a programmable thermostat, the temperature can be set for a specific time and take that worry off of your hands.

For more energy and money-saving tips, reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter, or contact us to discuss!

At Casteel Heating and Cooling, we read all of the reviews that come in and appreciate every last one of them. Take a look at what our customers are saying on Kudzu this month!

“I have to say that my experience with Casteel was the best experience I have ever had with a service company. Sean and Danny were fantastic, knowledgeable, and polite. I am confident in the quality of their work and am quite impressed by the organization of this company as a whole. Well done!”

“Exceptional and excellent installation job by Aron H, great job also by Chris Michel on the advice.”

“I would use this company again based solely on the the knowledge, courtesy and professionalism of the three technicians who worked on replacing two entire systems at my home – Joe, Thomas and Robert!!”

“Bobby Loeble was on time and very curteous. He was knowledgeable and to the point. He helped me pick the right unit for the job. The installers Chavez and Mike were on time and paid attention to detail. They also educated me on the fine points on HVAC and how to care and maintain my new system. Thank you for the great service. I would recommend Casteel for AC and Heating repair/replacement.”

“#52036 Sean & Danny were the installers. Great attention to detail, professionalism, quality. The Trane and thermostat are quite impressive. I am a Engineer myself and appreciate quality when I see it (both units and installers). Although Trane is more expensive by a bit, I can see why now. And will enjoy the benefits for a long time. If all their staff are as good as the ones I had contact with, you can’t go wrong with Casteel.”

“I love this company. The employees are very professional and nice. They even took extra steps to make sure the unit was secure. Jesus Clavez and his team were great!!!!”

Our customers mean the world to us. Thank you to everyone who comes to Casteel for their heating and cooling needs!

Nobody likes the effect that allergens have on you and while we may not be able to stop outside allergens, we can help you to reduce the allergens found in your home by providing you these simple tips.

First, be aware that having a hot and humid house can breed mold and dust mites.  By keeping your temperature at the ideal level of 70 F, with a humidity level of 50% or less, you are helping to decrease the buildup of allergens.  Another great way to combat mold is to use a dehumidifier.  A dehumidifier will significantly reduce the amount of humidity found in a home, lessening the ability for mold to grow.

Cleaning your home isn’t just for when you have guests, but keeping your home on a weekly cleaning routine can drastically reduce allergens too!  By vacuuming (with a HEPA filter), mopping, dusting and washing surfaces in your home, including windows and doors, you can be protecting yourself from having allergens.  It’s also recommended that you change your A/C filters once a month.

Casteel has dehumidifiers and can offer more suggestions for reducing potential allergens in your home.  Go online or call us today for an appointment at (770) 565-5884.  Also visit us on Facebook and Twitter for helpful tips!

Hey y’all!  The official first day of Fall is September 22nd and I, for one, simply cannot believe it is almost here already and we are nearing 2013 so fast!  Being the decorator that I am, I have been browsing for ideas to bring some Autumn life into my home and I would love to share them with y’all today!

1. Spruce up your mantelpiece - It’s so nice to be able to cuddle with your family in the living room and by golly, I’d like some Fall feel to make this extra special.  You can add candles of all sizes, small pumpkins and leaves to the mantel.  Hanging a painting that has the colors of Fall is a good idea too! Just blame your shopping on needing to keep up with general home “renovations”! [Better Homes and Gardens]

2. Change up your blankets – I’m a true believer y’all in making your house a home.  To me, there is something to be said about Fall; it means comfort and warmth!  When those cold nights hit, you’ll want to grab a throw blanket or snuggle under the comforter.  For a new look, switch out your bedding and couch pillows for Fall-inspired colors!

3. Get inspired with Martha Stewart – I’m not kidding when I say that Martha Stewart is my idol when it comes to decorating and baking yummy treats! One of my favorite places to find Fall decor ideas is on the Martha Stewart website.  I’m a baker myself so as far as the yummy treats go, I will jump right in with my apron and bake all day! I also always have candles on hand that smell like pumpkin pie or apple cinnamon, perfect for getting your family and guests into the seasonal spirit!

Throughout this season, I will be pinning my favorite Fall decor ideas on my Pinterest board! Feel free to share your own ideas in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter!

Duct Sealing – “air duct testing and repairs to leaky duct work could be the most important energy improvement homeowners can make.” (source: Department of energy)

In houses with forced-air heating and cooling systems, ducts are used to distribute conditioned air throughout the house. In a typical house, however, about 25-40 percent of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts. The result is higher utility bills and difficulty keeping the house comfortable, no matter how the thermostat is set.

How do you know that your home has poorly performing ducts?

  • you have high summer and winter utility bills;
  • you have rooms that are difficult to heat and cool;
  • you have stuffy rooms that never seem to feel comfortable;
  • your ducts are located in an attic, crawlspace, or the garage;
  • you find tangled or kinked flexible ducts in your system.

Benefits of Duct Sealing

A duct system that is well-designed and properly sealed can make your home more comfortable, energy efficient, and safer.

Call today or go online to schedule a free evaluation and quote!