Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Cleaning Your Outdoor Air Conditioning Unit

If you keep your outside AC unit clean you can expect your system to run efficiently while prolonging its lifespan. If you want to clean your unit on your own then here are a few tips that can help!

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How many times should you clean your outside unit?

For most owners, cleaning it twice a year is enough, once before winters as you will be using the heating and once before summers as you will want to turn on air conditioning.

What are the different supplies and tools needed to clean an outside unit?

Here is a list of tools that will come in handy when cleaning the unit:

1. Vacuum

2. Garden hose

3. Screwdriver

4. Replacement filter

5. Rags

6. Fin comb

7. Pipe cleaner 

Preparation

Apart from cleaning the system, you will have to remove any branches, leaves, sticks or other form of debris lying over and around the unit. Also, you must never keep shrubs or plants too close to the unit to ensure better air flow. From gum balls to pine needles and leaves and tall weeds, ensure that the space around the unit is clean and clear.

Time to clean!

1. Before starting, make sure the power to the outside unit is switched off.

2. For any remains you could not clear away, a dry/wet vacuum with a bristled attachment can help to capture any dirt, dust, or other small debris from the system.

3. In case you observe the fins are bent, you can use a butter knife or a fin comb or other small objects are useful for straightening them.

4. Remove the AC filter after locating it, wash it using a tough spray from the garden hose. If your filter is one that's made of fiber or cardboard, buy a new one to replace the dirty one.

5. Remove the panel at the top and put it aside.

6.Inspect for dirt, dust, debris and other kind of build-up that may impact operation. Once you have removed as much dirt as possible just rinse it with a garden hose and clean away the remaining debris. Be careful while vacuuming to make sure you don't end up damaging or bending fins or coils.

7. To clean the fan blades, a wet rag is enough. Check the vents of the fan and wipe or vacuum away any debris build-up.

8. Now it is time to get the access panel back in its position. Just screw it in place, and turn on power.

Cleaning the outside of the AC is not that challenging. However, effort and time spent will be all worth it as your family will enjoy summers and winters comfortably.

Monday, 23 April 2018

What is a Heat Pump and how does it work?

Those who reside in moderate climates may find heat pumps as popular home fixtures. However, for those who live in colder areas, these pumps are far less, as there are more efficient heat generating systems including, boilers and furnaces found more commonly.The difference due to climate is because of the variation in heat pump function.


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Identifying a heat pump:

Heat pumps are available in electric and gas models, and can be installed as a package system, split system, or as ‘mini-split’ or a ductless system. One of the easiest ways of identifying a heat pump is to go outside to the huge metal box, and browse through the information printed on the machine. If the box particularly states, ‘heat pump,’ or contains both ‘Seasonal Performance Heating Factor,’ and an ‘Energy Efficiency Seasonal Ratio’ it is a heat pump.

Working of heat pumps:

There is no heat created by heat pumps. Using a refrigerant, they merely transfer warm air. From outside to inside during winters, and vice-versa during summers. This is why during colder climates, pumps may not be able to cope with the heating needs as there is no heat outside to transfer. During ‘emergency heat mode’ heat is alternatively generated through electricity, which is just not as efficient.

There are numerous kinds of heat pumps, pertaining to how heat is sourced:

Air source

This is extremely common with heat being transferred from the temperature/air outdoors.

Geothermal / Ground source

These make use of the more steady temperatures in the water or earth sources.

Combination

Including air/ ground source, and air boiler/ source combinations for enhanced efficiency.

Using a heat pump effectively:

A lot of users get high power bills as they do not understand the right way to use a heat pump. To make sure you do not end up getting high energy bills, keep these tips in mind:

Do not play with the thermostat:

Just set the thermostat at an ideal temperature and don’t change it after that. If you jack the temperature down or up you will not heat or cool your house any faster. In fact, it will only make your system work less efficiently and harder.

Make sure you plan ahead.

Make sure you add a programmable heat pump friendly thermostat to ensure efficient utilization of your system.

System maintenance.

Properly charged and cleaned system functions a lot more efficiently than a system that has been disused.

Never hold back on a replacement.

At the time of replacing your heat pump, choose an efficient model, paying close attention to its ratings. Heat pump models that are the most efficient produce more heat in comparison to lesser models, utilizing equal amounts of energy. With cooling and heating accounting for almost 48% of the usual electric bill, there is some serious saving annually.

If you feel you are overdue for a heat pump maintenance it is a good idea to schedule an annual professional maintenance with a reputed company.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Do not load your HVAC

A compressor is extremely important to ensure the cooling and heating of your home. By pumping coolant into the system, it produces heat as a standard part of operation. However, in case it gets very hot, it will shut down.

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Overloading of the compressor:

Overload of AC compressor is extremely common reason for malfunction, and normally happens on the coldest or hottest days, when the HVAC is working round the clock. It’s accountable for almost 50% of component failures. This is a very serious issue – and can also be very expensive if it develops into compressor failure. Pertaining to the system’s age, it may require complete replacement of the system.

Compressor Burn out - Causes:

The main cause of compressor burnout is bad installation, neglect, and maintenance, including…

1.     Dirty condenser coils.
2.     Dirty air filters.
3.     Undercharged or overcharged refrigeration system.
4.     Leaks in the refrigerant.
5.     Moisture within the refrigeration system.
6.     Added heat sources situated close to the condenser.
7.     Improper airflow.
8.     Lack of airflow from debris.
9.     Other failures.
10. Loose corroded wires and insufficient electrical supply inside the house, leading to low voltage problems.

How to prevent compressor overloads from damage?

Do not neglect maintenance.

It is a good idea to change the air filter quarterly. Clear all debris from the external system, keeping a clearance of 18-36 inches at all sides, and about four feet above.

Hire a trusted professional.

If you want your HVAC to be properly installed make sure you hire a professional. It is also advisable to undergo routine seasonal maintenance such as, verifying the refrigerant levels, connections and lubrication, operation confirmation, coil cleaning, and the like.

Consider extra protection.

If you add a compressor overload protector, it can secure your HVAC system. Situated close to the condenser, this superior sensor observes temperatures, and shuts the compressor down temporarily for preventing it from overheating. If you turn off the system to let the compressor cool, it can prevent any overload and warn you against problems that may otherwise become very expensive.

In case you have a compressor which is overheated, it is extremely important to uncover why, and not just replace components as that could lead to a repeat. In case your HVAC has experienced increased overheating, make sure you seek help, before it gets too late.

With just a little effort and knowledge, you can make sure that your system runs smoothly and efficiently. It is also a good idea to hire a professional HVAC expert who has the knowledge and expertise to keep your system from running smoothly. Do not neglect HVAC maintenance if you wish to spend less money repairing the system.  

Friday, 23 February 2018

Using a Humidifier

If you are living in a cold climate, you most likely deal with low humidity levels every winter. It is difficult for cold air to hold moisture, so your house dries out naturally this time of year. The best solution is running a humidifier.

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What are humidifiers?

The main purpose of this equipment is to enhance the levels of humidity in an interior space. Essentially, there are two kinds of humidifiers:

Portable humidifiers: these are small enough and can be set on the tabletop. There is a water reservoir that can be refilled periodically for keeping the humidifier running. This is the best option if you wish to humidify just one room in the house, like your bedroom.

Humidifiers for the entire house are installed within the HVAC system and they work together with your furnace. The output of the water is controlled by the humidistat, connected directly to the plumbing. While these units require professional installation, their end result is good, with homes that are evenly humidified.

How do humidifiers really work?

There are various kinds of humidifiers, with each working differently:
             
       1. Evaporative humidifiers: these humidifiers feature a wicking filter and a cold-water reservoir. Air is blown over the filter through a fan. The filter in turn absorbs water, vaporizing the moisture then sending it only at regulated rates.

       2. Impeller humidifiers tend to toss water into a comb-like diffuser from a spinning disc. This separates the water in tiny droplets that puff into the air.
     
       3. Ultrasonic humidifiers work silently with the use of a metal diaphragm that shakes at a very high frequency to create a cool mist.

      4. Vaporizers or steam humidifiers boil water and tend to release the warm steam in the air.

What are the benefits of humidifiers?

Here are a few ways humidifiers benefit you in the winters:

      1. Keep healthy: Humidification assists in decreasing the spreading of germs in the air. Balanced humidity also helps in easing congestion and helps you recover from illnesses.

     2. Sleep well: when you keep your room in comfortable humidity level you are able to sleep soundly and get up feeling relaxed instead of dried out.

     3. Prevent dry hair and skin: a lot of people only make use of lotion during dry winters. To prevent flaky scalp, dry skin, and brittle hair, use a humidifier at your house.

    4.  Save on utility bills: When you humidify, less moisture vaporizes from your skin, which means you can reduce the thermostat by a few degrees without feeling any discomfort.

There are so many benefits of humidifiers. However, for best results make sure you use a whole-house humidifier. It will ensure that the entire space is comfortable. It’s particularly beneficial to run a humidifier when you feel congested, or are prone to bloody noses or dry skin during the winters.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Inspecting your Heater before you turn it ON

The chilly winter season has started, but is your house really ready for the cold? Before you take out your winter wear make sure your house is safe and comfortable with a pre-season evaluation before you turn on the furnace for the very first time this season.

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Not every system is GO

Before you turn on your unit, a thorough pre-season examination is required to ensure proper and safe operation. This preventive but simple maintenance keeps you and your family safe, secured against unproductive operation and wasted power, and most essentially decreasing the likelihood of costly and unexpected repairs on the coldest days of winter.

How do you actually execute a pre-season inspection of your heater?

1.     Make sure you clear the way:

Get rid of any objects that block airflow around the vents, furnace, and registers, storing inflammable items inside a space which is away from the heating furnace. Make sure you clean nearby areas with the help of a vacuum.

2.     Replace air filters:

Make sure you get rid of last season’s air filters and install new ones.

3.     Install or test safety detectors:

Change batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide to make sure everything is working correctly.

4.     Make a test run. 

It is advised to perform a test on your heater before the setting in of chilly winter nights.

Get in touch with a pro.

Experts suggest that you get your unit serviced every year. Professionals can easily recognize a cracked combustion chamber or heat exchanger, which is usually invisible to am amateur as well as get rid of other blockages in the vent that may cause carbon monoxide leaks within the house. Professional inspection may also identify costly duct leaks that reduce levels of comfort and cause a lag in system performance.

In case you notice any peculiar smells when running the heater the first time in the season, there can be a range of probable causes. If you’ve just changed the filter, you can discount any issue with the filter. However, there could be dust on other components of the system such as, the heat exchanger and air ducts that burn off with early operation – normally in half an hour. Foul smells, however, must never be overlooked, as they may indicate towards something important. A smoky smell may indicate towards a chimney/ vent blockage, and a possibly lethal carbon monoxide level. In case the issue persists and you have been able to change the air filter, get in touch with a professional HVAC service provider for maintenance and service immediately. Remember, it is always a good idea to get the heating looked at by a professional instead of doing it yourself. 

Friday, 22 December 2017

Is Your Air Conditioner Making You Sick?

Most of us are extremely thankful for air conditioning – especially those who live in California where high temperatures make it a necessity and not a luxury. That being said, there is a downside to air conditioning that many people are not aware of in terms of health issues. The causes are usually simple and so too are the solutions if you know what needs to be done. These are a few of the most common of them and the fixes.


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Breathing Problems

The stuffiness you feel in your nose or the congestion in your chest may not be simply due to having the temperature set too low. It could be due to the fungi and bacteria that have collected in the air conditioner filters and are being blown around the interiors. Air conditioning units are also high moisture environments that are a breeding ground for black mold. Inhaling the bacteria, fungi or mold can cause all kinds of respiratory problems which, if not dealt with in time, could become serious.

The solution to this problem is a very simple one – ensure that the unit is cleaned regularly and air filters are changed on schedule.

Fatigue, Headaches and Feeling Low

Many people find that after spending a full day in an air conditioned environment they tend to feel more tired than normal and often have headaches or a feeling of general fatigue. Studies have shown that a common cause for this is having the temperature set too low which places an unnatural strain on the metabolism.

The fix is to turn the thermostat up a bit. If that does not help, have it checked by an expert. If it is defective, the room may over cool no matter what the setting is.

Dry Skin and Nasal Passages

The cold dry air that an air conditioner produces causes the natural oils of the skin to dry up and this leads to dry skin and soreness of the nostrils. The more time you spend in an air conditioned room the drier your skin gets.

You  can prevent this from happening by drinking lots of liquids while in an air conditioned environment and by applying moisturizer to the skin.

Colds and Coughs

Studies show that people who spend long hours in air conditioned rooms are often more prone to colds and coughs. The reason for this is not simply that the room is too cold, although that could be part of the problem. What many people do not realize is that just because an air conditioned room restricts the entry of dust and dirt, it does not completely stop it. This dirt can collect in carpets, curtains and crevices, besides collecting in the air filter units. The more time spent in a room with this hidden dust, the more you will be prone to coughs and colds and the more medication you take, the more resistant to it you will become over time.

Like any other appliance, an air conditioning system needs regular maintenance to not just keep it working smoothly and efficiently but also to ensure that the indoor climate it creates is a healthy one. Having your air conditioner regularly serviced and maintained by an air conditioning specialist is the simplest way to be sure that your air conditioning will keep you both comfortable and healthy.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Allergens air filters eliminate

There is so much your HVAC air filters do to ensure your unit is protected. In fact, they even help safeguard your health. High-efficiency HVAC filters can be a very strong line of defense for asthma and allergy sufferers, decreasing triggers by filtering out airborne contaminants to offer clean indoor air.

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Here are some of the contaminants that can cause major issues to your health, but can be kept at bay if you have strong filtration systems installed within your HVAC:

           1.Household dust:

The toxicity of the dust may vary, depending on what it is made of- anything from dirt to skin cells and pollutant particles from power stations to manufacturing facilities.

2.Dust mites
50% of asthma occurrences and 25% of allergies are a consequence of dust mites that consume dust, pollen, and skin cells, and can get inside your nose from furnishings when sleeping.

3. Lint

Lint inside your house can create a dangerous cocktail of chemicals such as, softeners, detergents, and fabric preservatives that can lead to distress and respiratory inflammation, disorders of the central nervous system, and even major diseases like cancer.

4. Bacteria

Bacteria ranging from non-pathogenic to normal to dangerous pneumonia, tuberculosis, and legionella can be found flying around in our houses. Air filters help eliminate them from coming through the HVAC.

5. Pet dander

Small and lightweight, skin cells from pets tend to remain suspended inside the air for a very long time, leading to allergies and asthma in individuals that are affected.

6. Smoke

Smoke from fires and cigarettes discharge toxic matters that can get inside the lungs, leading to a range of reactions from acute bronchitis and asthma attacks to stroke, cancer, heart attack, and death due to long-term exposure.

7. Pollen

Pollens are extremely bothersome for sufferers of allergies, and almost dangerous for those who suffer from asthma, going outside sneezing to lead to anaphylaxis in individuals who are hyper-sensitive.

8. Mold

Almost 20% of people have allergy from mold spores, but even the ones who are not affected by dangerous compounds – mycotoxins – released by certain species, suffering from respiratory issues, flu systems, fatigue and headache.

9. Virus carriers

The best way to stop the spreading of viruses through sneezes and coughs is through the right air filter.

10. Microscopic allergens

The truth is smaller the particle, bigger the chance of bloodstream and lung penetration

For those who suffer from severe asthma, allergies, or have multiple pets, higher filter efficiency can help in breathing easy, but may necessitate a blower motor boost for counteracting the airflow restriction due to filter’s tighter weave. If you wish to make the most out of your HVAC and want to keep the allergies at bay then ensure that your filters are working well.