How to Save Money on AC This Summer

Summer has officially begun! The Florida heat is starting to rise and that means the costs of using air conditioning will also increase. For some, using AC around the clock is the only way they can be comfortable in their homes. They may not care about paying almost double in electricity costs each month, or maybe they just feel that it’s worth the money. However, for others, paying double during the long summer is not an option at all. If that’s you, here are some simple ways to cool down your costs on AC over the next few months.

Keep Your HVAC System Maintained
Throughout the year, you should be keeping up with your HVAC system by changing the filters, cleaning around the area of the unit, checking the coils, making sure the unit is level, etc. Dirty filters and coils can actually block the airflow into your home, causing the unit to work harder to cool the house. Here is a great list on how to easily take care of your unit.

According to “Cleaning and/or replacing filters once per month will lower an AC’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.”

Ensuring that your system is consistently maintained will save you money in the long run. Having to replace your unit because it was not properly maintained will cost far more than those high electricity bills over the summer.

Check for Drafts
Take a few minutes during the late afternoon, around 3-4pm, to check for drafts around the house. Run your hands along windows and doors that lead directly outside. Four o’clock in the afternoon is typically the hottest part of the day so it will be easy to feel if cool drafts are leaking out of your home.

No one wants to pay for cooling the neighborhood, so if you feel drafts coming from your house, you may want to look into replacing the insulation around those doors and windows. Don’t let that precious cool air escape, especially when the temperature starts rising to over 100 degrees!

Turn on your Ceiling Fans
Using fans throughout your home can make it feel between 6-10 degrees cooler in a given room. Fans use much, much less electricity – about one-tenth of what is used by AC. That’s a pretty inexpensive way to make your home feel cool.

Using your air conditioner and ceiling fans at the same time also helps to keep the air circulated without turning the AC down too low, thus saving you money once again.

Close the Blinds and Curtains
Everyone loves letting the natural sunlight illuminate their homes but during the hottest part of the summer, that beautiful sunlight just might not be worth it. By closing your blinds and curtains, you can “reduce heat gain by around 45%,” the article by HEAMB stated. Drawing your curtains also helps to insulate your home by blocking the hot air seeping through the windows.

If it still feels like heat is getting in despite your curtains and shades being drawn, you may want to try using heat-reflecting curtains or shades. You can find these at almost any home store, such as Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Walmart, or Target and they are typically not expensive.

Be Economically Smart
If you are keeping in line with the previous tips by closing your blinds and using fans, this will allow you to keep you from turning the AC unit down too low when you’re home. Try to set your air as high as comfortably possible and, NEAMB says, you could potentially save another 10%.

When you’re not home, turn the AC up very high or simply turn it off completely right before you leave the house. A common myth regarding air conditioning is that your AC unit will run more economically if you leave it on all the time and that is simply not the case. It runs best when at its highest capacity for a short amount of time.

If you have a programmable thermostat, you may want to take advantage of it by setting it at a higher temperature when you leave for work and program it to turn down a little while before you come home. If you’re without these luxuries, you may just have to brave the warmth inside your house for a short bit while your AC kicks in.

All of us here at First International Title wish you a fun-filled summer regardless of the heat! Please leave a comment below to let us know if this was helpful to you or a client.


Comments? Questions? Contact your local Title rep today!

Lawn Care Do’s & Don’ts

Taking care of your lawn can feel like such a task on top of your normal day-to-day routines, especially if yours is larger than average. Unfortunately, if you don’t put enough love and care into your grass, then it will certainly show on the outside. We can’t keep up with the Joneses with a brown and patchy lawn, now can we?

Fortunately, there are a few simple steps that you can implement each year to ensure your yard stays healthy and green. And no, it shouldn’t eat too much time out of your week to do so.

Create a Schedule for Yourself
Just as you would get an oil change in your car every 5,000 miles or change your bedsheets every week, your lawn also needs a little bit of maintenance each season to keep it pretty. Try not to get too far behind or else you will end up creating more work for yourself in the end.

  1. Spring

Bill Martin from suggests that spring time is best to test your soil and fertilize in preparation for the hot months of summer. Use a fertilizer that is three parts nitrogen, one part phosphorus, and two-part potassium. Also, don’t fertilize too often or else you risk drying out your lush grass.

“Also it is time to put out some fire ant control and other insect treatments,” Martin writes. “If you wait too long those little devils will take over a lawn….might even try a hostile takeover of your garage!”

  1. Summer

Water, water, water. Get into the habit of watering your lawn in the early morning hours. Watering during the day can cause you to waste that precious H2O due to evaporation in the hot Florida sun. If you’re able to set your sprinkler system to go off ahead of time, schedule it the night before to water the grass before or as the sun comes up.

Also, if you plan on adding any plants, be sure they’re able to withstand the heat.

  1. Fall

Although your kids and dogs may love to play in the mountainous piles of leaves in your backyard, letting the leaves stay all fall and winter long will make way for not-so-good growth the following spring. So once you and your family are done playing, just make sure you put the leaves in bags and dispose of them.

Martin adds once again that you should give your lawn some more fertilizer and do another insect treatment.

  1. Winter

You’ll like the sound of this! Martin suggests you can’t really do much when there’s snow or frost on the ground anyways, so take this time to relax from your lawn duties. Once spring rolls around again, you’ll be ready to go!

Of course, mowing your lawn is essential, especially for those who live in HOA communities. However, try to avoid mowing the grass too often or mowing it too low or else you risk drying out your healthy yard. Also, wikiHow suggests you try changing the direction you mow in every time you cut the grass.

“It will help cut down on stress to the lawn, and may also prevent divots from forming in your pattern,” the article states.

Carissa Gingras from the Briggs & Stratton Corp. tells us to “be sure to only cut off one-third of the grass’ length at a time and to cut it no shorter than three inches tall. Cutting grass too short leaves it vulnerable to insect invasion and disease.”

A few other tips from Gingras is to keep your mower blades sharpened, change the oil in your lawn mower regularly, and change the spark plug when needed.

Have a Picnic!
After your yard looks as green and luscious as you dreamt it would – take that, Joneses! – make sure you take advantage of it. Have a family picnic, play an outdoors game (football, manhunt, practicing cartwheels, etc.), put in a little tire swing, or have a barbecue. You put it in a lot of work to make your lawn look good, so take advantage of it and have a blast!


Questions? Comments? Contact your FIT rep today!

Common Title Problems: How to Stay Prepared

Your home will probably be the largest investment you ever make in your lifetime. There are so many problems that could put your property title at risk. Here at First International Title, we want you–whether you’re a homebuyer or a real estate agent–to be prepared for anything that could arise.

There are several title issues that could cause a loss of your property, whether it’s a home or a business. “Hidden Hazards” are title issues not disclosed during a thorough search and review of public records. This may cause problems. Thankfully, there is a way to protect your investment.

An owner’s title policy covers you and your heirs from financial loss caused by title issues. The title insurer will defend you against a claim made against the title of your property – all without expense to you. With the owner’s title policy, the home-buyer pays a small one-time premium at closing in exchange for enormous protection.

Look out for these common title problems:

Forgery of deeds and records

Fraudulent Impersonation of the legal landowner

Documents executed under false or expired power of attorney

Undisclosed or unknown heirs

Prior owners who did not divest themselves properly

Deeds by persons of unsound mental capacity, minors, or illegal immigrants

Deeds by persons secretly married

Adoption or birth after date of will

Surviving children omitted from a will

Deeds delivered after death of a grantor or grantee or without consent

Mistakes in recording legal documents

Deeds in lieu of foreclosure given under duress

Claims of creditors against property

Easements not discovered by surveys

Tax record and report errors

Federal condemnation without notice filing

Corporate franchise taxes or liens on corporate assets

Undisclosed divorce of spouse who represents as an heir

Liens for unpaid taxes or homeowner association dues and assessments

Unreleased liens

If you have, or suspect you have, any of these problems regarding your or your client’s property, reach out to your First International Title professional today! We can talk you through the process and give you the correct steps in order to close. An owner’s title policy can protect you against title loss.

The owner’s title policy is effective for as long as the owner or their heirs own the property. It’s a small price to pay for a big peace of mind!


Questions? Comments? Reach out to your FIT rep today!