Austin American-Statesman from Austin, Texas on May 20, 2017 · T6
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Austin American-Statesman from Austin, Texas · T6

Austin, Texas
Issue Date:
Saturday, May 20, 2017
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Page 6 CM K SATURDAY, MAY 20, 2017 STATESMAN HOMES INDOOR TRENDS LLUM NAT ON Home computers are a mainstay in today's culture, but some environments aren't good for the machines, kevin JARRETTFLICKR Computers need clean air to 'breathe' By David Wilfong SPECIAL TO STATESMAN HOMES Computers are an indispensable part of everyday life in the 21st century. They are in virtually every home, with an elegant edge The "Texas Tuscan" motif is easy to accentuate with custom lighting fixtures made from copper. COURTESY OF TEXAS LIGHTSMITH and more otten than not, also being carried around in laptop bags. That said, it is important where you set up your home desktop - or leave your laptop laying around, for that matter. If left in the wrong environment, computers can suck up harmful material like dust through the cooling vents, which can cause problems down the road. "The worst we see are the ones that come in and they're just saturated with dust," said Scott Snell of the Computer Medic at 111 Ramble Lane, Suite 117, in Austin. "Because they're in a dusty environment or a lot of pets, that sort of thing." For most environments, keeping a can of compressed air and occasionally cleaning out the dust manually should be enough, but if the computer is in a workshop environment steps should be taken to minimize exposure. It's also helpful to remember that second-hand smoke is not only bad for humans, but computers as well. "Cigarette smoke is especially noxious," Snell said. "We see some pretty gnarly systems on occasion. It's no fun at all to take one of these apart that's been saturated with smoke." By David Wilfong SPECIAL TO STATESMAN HOMES Many homeowners are forever looking for a special home accent that will give their home an added dash of elegance and uniqueness. Custom light fixtures can do a lot without being imposing. A small piece of art can be noticed in any room, but a piece of art with light emanating from it will always be noticed. "We refer to this kind of lighting as 'jewelry for the home,'" said John Worsham of Texas Lightsmith at 3410 Andtree Blvd. in Austin. "We give a lot of consideration to our fixtures in terms of how they're going to look in the day as well as how they look at night when they're lit up. They kind of have two lives, because at night they're silhouetted, so you don't really notice what the materials are. In the day the materials can really be significant." The materials Worsham works with lend themselves well to a rustic decor, which he said he sees a lot of demand for in Austin. "That whole 'Texas Tuscan' movement that's been going on for so long, I think a lot of people like to pull the An elegant housing for otherwise simple lighting accents will always get noticed. COURTESY OF TEXAS LIGHTSMITH more traditional or even 'medieval-es-que' fixtures into those homes a lot," he said. With custom options ranging from sconces to luminaries to full-blown chandeliers, the options are endless for making lighting fixtures one of the bright spots in home design. AC is a must in Texas, but some systems run much more efficiently than others, denise ROSSERFLICKR What is high-efficiency air conditioning? By David Wilfong SPECIAL TO STATESMAN HOMES Q: What is a high-efficiency air conditioning system? A: Basically, you have three options, and most manufacturers have something along the lines in each of the three options. One would be single stage, which means that (the) compressor operates at 100 percent capacity. So basically you set your desired temperature inside your house, and that unit comes on at full throttle until it reaches the desired temperature at the thermostat and then shuts itself off. A two-stage system kind of gives you a little more flexibility. Two-stage means it can operate generally at about 70 percent capacity - depending on the manufacturer - or 100 percent capacity. At the top of the line you've got variable speed, and depending on the manufacturer some variable speeds could be five stage, some could be like Trane, which has one that runs 700 speeds. What that means is it could run anywhere from 30 percent capacity to 100 percent. It's not the unit running that uses a lot of electricity, it's the cycling on and off. So when you have a single stage system that's constantly going on and off, it's like having a car in stop-and-go traffic, and it's using a lot of gas. If you have a system that's like a variable speed, it's running much longer cycles at lower capacity, so it's using much less electricity. - Evan Young, www.casamechanical. com, S12-334-7300

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