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Using a "Governor" to prevent HVAC damage

By William May
Published: 06/23/03 Topics: Comments: 0

Now that its heating up everywhere, last week we talked about how using simply thermostats will save you energy over the more sophisticated "set-back" type programmable thermosets.

This week - let's take it a step further and look at how to prevent guests from damaging Air conditioners.

Even the most well meaning guests may mistreat your heating - air conditioning system. So here is a trick to make sure they don't freeze your AC or over use the heating.

To start with, we recommend using very simple thermostats because Guests frequently are unable to use programmable thermostats correctly.

But even with an easy-to-use thermostat, guests will frequently jack the thermostat down to 50 degrees even if its only a few degrees too warm. This can cause your AC to freeze up and damage the system. At a minimum it causes the AC not to work for a few hours in which time your guest will be steaming - even if its their fault.

To prohibit such problems, your local HVAC contractor can install what I call a "Governor" (they may call it something else) that allows you to set a maximum heat and minimum cooling. It is not visible to the guests and still allows them to adjust the HVAC within a range of say 68 degrees cooling to 72 degrees heating.

The Guest can still adjust the thermostat as they see fit, but if they set it too high or too low the governor prohibits the system from going too far.

The governor consists of several parts and will take a good installer just an hour to put in. Not only does it forestall potential repairs it will also save money on repairs.

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Author: William May – Volunteer, Vacation Rental Association
Blog #: 0017 – 06/23/03

Save money on energy during the Hot Hot Summer

By William May
Published: 06/16/03 Topics: Comments: 0

It is either hot in your area or it soon will be (except maybe for homes in Alaska) so I think its a good time to talk about how to get the most of our your Air Conditioning unit and to save energy.

Would you like your electric or gas bills to be lower? Then consider using the simplest thermostat you can find.

Most newer homes feature heating - air conditioning thermostats that can be programmed. You just set the day and time and have the temperature raised or lowed automatically.

But what's good in your full time home doesn't work so well in your vacation rental. Because each type of thermostat works differently guests frequently fail to program the device correctly. Or they leave the units running when they are out of the house.

You can post clear instructions and the guests will still mis-use the device.

That means they heat it too hot or cool it to cold. Or they leave the unit running when it needn't be.

Cleaning and maintenance staff seem unable to operate the thermostats much better.

All of this means your energy bills will usually be far higher than need be.

A better idea is to install a basic thermostat that has a simple on/off switch and the ability to move the temperature higher or lower with a lever or even a digital control.

Best of all these thermostats are cheaper than the programmable ones. Even if you have to remove a perfectly good programmable thermostat the simpler one will easily pay for itself with energy savings.

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Author: William May – Volunteer, Vacation Rental Association
Blog #: 0016 – 06/16/03

The brand new VRA website

By William May
Published: 06/09/03 Topics: Comments: 0

Today we're launching a very comprehensive website for Vacation Rental Owners.

Our goal is to help owners make more money, work less and have more fun. And we've done that by setting up a smorgasbord of information and services every owner needs.

At ( you can see tips & Techniques, make and compare opinions, place classified ads, order books, take classes. There's room for bulletin boards, and lists of suppliers, websites and property managers.

At ( we're designing an on-line directory where guests can locate member properties worldwide. And members will have a chance to get their places certified as blue ribbon quality - something guests need to know.

We've even got room for vendors, websites and property managers to participate as affiliate members to sell their services, offer discounts and specials and see reviews of their products posted by owners.

If you're a vacation rental owner this is the place for you. Owners helping owners. Please take a look and let us know what you think. Your feedback is always appreciated.

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Author: William May – Volunteer, Vacation Rental Association
Blog #: 0015 – 06/09/03

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