“A digital model costs a little bit more, but you can actually set the temperature,” McKee said. “These will shut off when the room reaches that temperature.”
McKee says a new market trend for home ACs is called a split system. A central air conditioning system features an exterior unit with lots of interior wiring and duct work. A split system uses an exterior compressor with tubing that runs to smaller units mounted in the wall.
“It’s a lot less expensive than central air conditioning, but it will give you the same effect,” McKee said.
Central AC can run in the neighborhood of $10,000, while a split system would be about one-third the cost.
As for buying a new barbecue grill, McKee says to first consider three factors: “Where are you going to put it, how many people do you cook for, and what do you like to cook?”
The type of grill you buy should be determined by whether you have a big patio or a small deck, cook for you and your spouse or a small army, and whether the menu is just burgers and hot dogs or ribs and roasts rotisserie fare.
Next, consider if you want to use a propane tank or are able to hook your unit up to a natural-gas line.
Also consider just how handy you are as some assembly may be required — depending on the retailer. Some retailers, including Wilson’s, offer full assembly on grills.
“If you’re good at it, a grill can take 45 minutes to assemble,” McKee said. “If you’re not, it can take hours.”
McKee adds that one of the most important components of the grill is the grate, the actually grilling surface on which you place your food.
Porcelain enamel grates do a good job of retailing heat, but they don’t last that long, McKee said. You’ll need to replace them about every two years. Cast-iron surfaces do the best job of retaining heat but are a little bit hard to clean.