You can increase the life expectancy and efficiency of your air conditioning system by doing a few simple things between your scheduled air conditioning maintenance. Some of these things are:
DON’T JUST WALK BY THE INSIDE HALLWAY GRATE FILTER
Clean any dust that may gather at your return air grate. This grate is usually located in the hallway or main area of the home. This grate is easily the most important and often forgotten things to clean. The return removes the warm air from your home in cooling and the cold air in heating. Dirty or clogged grates will lead to serious damage to your air conditioning system especially if you don’t also change your grate filter often.
Grate filters are inexpensive compared to the several thousand HVAC system to keep your home hot, cool and in-between. Depending on your filter size, some are sold in sets of 3 or more. Get several because they need changing when they are dirty not just when 3 months have passed.
AC builders are always happy to show you how to take care of your HVAC unit. Maintenance contracts are a little money put towards extending the life of your expensive unit. The stress New Orleans heat puts on an HVAC unit is more to the extreme conditions they operate in compared to the rest of the US. Find a maintenance HVAC builder here.
TAKE CONTROL WITH A PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT
Obtain a programmable thermostat, especially one that works with a smart phone, to set the temperature when you leave your home. Half an hour before you get home you can change the temperature to make the home comfortable when you walk in the door. When retiring to bed, increase the temperature since the weather outside the home is much cooler than during the hot day.
THE OUTSIDE UNIT
Remove any leaves and debris from around your condenser unit. Allow two feet of clearance from your condenser unit to any shrubs, trees, or bushes.
When weed eating your yard, your best bet is to pull the grass and weeds (mostly weeds in New Orleans) by hand. And carefully. The wires and connectors behind your outside unit help your unit function. When a part gets damaged your stress level rises as fast as the heat inside your home.
GET THE SMALL AIR LEAKS TOO
The more you seal the big air leaks the more air will try to escape through the small cracks around doors, windows and vents. Nature can be tricky to tame.
Caulk around windows and doors. Wooden doors are known to show small splits in the wood when they are constantly pounded by the hot sun. A little bit of caulk and paint will pay for itself when compared to how much of your comfort air is escaping.
Windows should be checked for caulking that has cracked or is missing. Carefully scrape away the old caulk with a putty knife before applying a new bead of caulk. By now, you know caulking is fun. No matter how many windows you caulk, you will always want to caulk one more. The caulking gun is a very powerful tool.
CLEANING OUTSIDE UNIT CAREFULLY
If the coil of your condenser unit appears dirty you may need to contact an HVAC contractor to professionally clean it. Otherwise you can use a water hose set at a medium pressure to rinse off the dirt.
WARNING – do not use a pressure sprayer as this will ruin the fins of the condenser unit!
HERE COMES YOUR PROFESSIONAL INSPECTION
Experts recommend having your unit inspected and cleaned at least twice a year. The refrigerant, drains and filters should be checked, and the coils should be cleaned.
HOME INSULATION EVERYWHERE
Insulation in your walls, ceiling and attic reduce your home’s comfort due to energy loss. We have more ideas and suggestions for insulation here.
One of the least expensive, and least intrusive, ways to seal the inside of your home is to check the insulation around your exit doors. The rubber foam or strips lose their ability to seal your doors like when they were new.
At the bottom of the doors you should check for an air draft. If you have a draft install a seal along the bottom of the door.
Electricity companies often provide free or low cost air comfort, quality and air flow checks to see how you can use less electricity or other resources.
IMPROVING YOUR INSIDE COMFORT
The summer months take a toll on your exterior walls, windows, curtains and air comfort to keep your environment balanced.
Use reflective curtains wherever the windows get direct sunlight. Additionally, cover your windows with reflective film that can block out more than 95% of the suns UV rays.
During summer, close the drapes and blinds to keep out the sun’s heat. Use ceiling or portable fans to keep the rooms cooler, and the fans should run clockwise for better cooling.
PORTABLE AIR CONDITIONER
You may consider a portable air conditioner for rooms that face the sun during the day. The room in the back that you only spend a few hours every weekend may be perfect for a portable unit.
Be on the lookout in the air vents for molds and other pollutants that may be entering your house and polluting the air.
Inspect the fan, belts and bearings of the air conditioner system. Though these parts don’t have a direct effect on your IAQ, it is important to inspect them as part of the preventive maintenance program.
Heater Maintenance Tips
Furnaces not only heat your home they also move air throughout your home when you are cooling your home. It is important to maintain your air conditioning system and heater. By following these few tips you can ensure that your system will continue operating at peak efficiency for many years to come.
AIR QUALITY AND SAFETY TO KEEP YOU SAFE
Ensure that your CO2 monitor is operating properly and has fresh batteries. You probably don’t have one installed in your home. You are not alone. But to keep you and your family safe you have to go the extra step. Your next door neighbor doesn’t have one but you should.
Don’t get the batteries at the dollar store. Your home value, possessions and the love you have for yourself and family is worth far more than stale batteries you bought for $1. Do you really want everyone to know you weren’t smart enough to use the best batteries and paid the ultimate cost? We don’t either.
The big box stores rotate their battery stock more often than smaller stores. Keep a few on hand for when you get the urge to change the battery. Otherwise, a new battery every two months.
OLDER NEW ORLEANS HOMES
Clean the radiators, air registers, and baseboard heaters as required. Ensure these components are not blocked by carpets, furniture, and draperies.
Check the filters of your air conditioning system on a regular basis
CLEANLINESS AND COMFORT
Clean dust from supply and return grates.
The Defrost Mode
Did you know that when your heat pump is heating your home that it periodically runs a mode called “defrost”? The defrost mode does the following to your heat pump and is no cause for concern:
Your vents will start to blow mildly warm air not hot like when the unit is running correctly
The outside heat pump will turn off its fan motor
Steam/Vapor will begin coming from the heat pump
After the unit senses that it is defrosted or a period of time passes the unit will move from defrost mode to normal heating mode once again.