Air Conditioner – Spring Maintenance

Air Conditioner – Spring Maintenance

 

The most important step is beginning maintenance is shutting down the power to both air conditioner and furnace. Most new air conditioner installations are required to have power shut off in line of sight of air conditioner. This is to prevent some one inadvertently turning power back on while unit is being worked on.

 

Now we are going to pull the covers of the furnace and clean and vacuum the fan housing out. Also check your filter as this is a very important part of your air quality control. If you can see through your filter check the filter link for more information.

Blower compartment
Blower compartment

 

If your blower fan is noisy now is the time to add some non-detergent oil or call a qualified service technician for maintenance. After cleaning your furnace we then go outside to your air conditioner unit.

 

Remove exterior cover and remove any leafs or debris that may have accumulated over the fall and winter. Use soap and water or commercial grade cleaner to clean coils and clean off using garden hose when completed.

 

Check your insulation for cracks or missing pieces and replace as required. Also check your penetrations into your house to ensure caulking is still in place and sealing all gaps.

A/C Unit
A/C Unit

  Most air conditioner technicians now recommend you do not cover your air conditioner for the winter. This keeps moisture trapped under cover and can lead to rusting and early failure of components. I recommend placing cover on top of unit only which will then allow moisture to evaporate.

 

Spin the blade of the air conditioner unit and listen for any noise, also good time to check fan blade for any accumulated dirt, gummy leafs or cracks which could affect balance or performance.

After replacing all covers on air conditioner and furnace, we will now fire up the air conditioner system. Go outside and listen for any strange noises from unit.  You can check your two lines, small line should be slightly warm and large line should be cool to the touch.

  Take a temperature reading at the return air grill and then do the same thing a at the supply air grill. The difference in readings should be about 15˚ (9.5 °C)

  Written by Roger Frost

 

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Clean Your House – Change Your Furnace Filter

Clean Your House – Change Your Furnace Filter

 

Recently I had my heating ducts cleaned in my house after finishing a renovation project. The duct cleaning company used a video camera to inspect my ducts before and during cleaning, what a sight to behold!   There were pieces of drywall left over from the original construction and of course lots of dust. I talked to many companies prior to choosing Anderson duct cleaning, and as they explained,  the main difference is two fold; one if you don’t use a service that actually contacts all the areas of your ducts you will not remove the dust that is attached to your ducts, and two; using a camera guarantees that all the dust and debris is being removed. Shawn, the owner,  also gave me a great tip, when doing any kind of work in your home that can generate dust, close off your cold air returns to stop any dust from entering your duct work.

 

A typical house contains dust from pollen, spores, pet dander, lint, bacteria, etc. Even regular home activities like cooking or dusting add to the dust in the air inside the house. Such dust particles results in irritation of eyes and on entering the respiratory system, may cause respiratory disorders, damage to the lungs, or in unique cases, even cancer.

 

I now have two transparent inspection plates in my furnace, one on the cold air return and the other on the supply side duct work. As Shawn explained, after the major duct cleaning, I will now only have to have my cold air ducts cleaned when I can visibly see dust starting to collect in the duct work.   Considerably cheaper than having whole system cleaned. The secret to keeping your supply side duct work clean is using a proper air filter. Shawn recommended staying away from cardboard edged filters as they often collapsed inside the cold air return and allowed dust and contaminates to pass.

 

In order to keep the quality of the air inside the home healthy, good quality furnace filters for your furnace unit should be used. There are various types of filters available on the market. These can be disposable, reusable or refillable. They’re usually made from materials like fibreglass, metal, man-made or natural fibres. The efficiency of a filter is decided by fibre size, fibre density, airflow rate and particle diameter. Different types of filters available in the market are:Panel Filter- These types of furnace filters commonly consist of 1” fibreglass filter installed in the ducts. However, these furnace filters are not very effective in removing dust from the air, as its primary function is protection of the internal fan and minimizing dust on the heating coil. These are a very basic filter and can trap only larger particles from the air.

Washable/Reusable Filters- These are meant for extended use, and with regular cleaning and maintenance serve a very long life. Their downside is that it is nearly impossible to get completely cleaned and therefore adds resistance to the airflow. These types of furnace filters are also not very effective in trapping very small particles.

Pleated Filters- These are a modified kind of panel filters that have pleats or folds to increase its surface area. This design change makes it more efficient at trapping dust particles due to increased surface area. However, here too, the furnace filter starts resisting airflow once it starts collecting dust particles and thus should be replaced regularly.

High Efficiency Pleated Filters- These filters have an additional component of electrostatic charge that is designed to capture extremely small particles and various allergens, which make-up 99% of the particulate composition of the air. However, even these should be changed at regular intervals to maintain the air quality, and the airflow. Alternatively, refillable furnace filters are also available in this type.

High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filters- These are extended filters that are able to remove sub-micron particles with high efficiency. HEPA filters have corrugated separators that have the core filters folded back and forth over it. This gives strength and also facilitates air passage between the pleats. However, these types of filters are not designed to fit most of the standard furnaces, as they require a separate system that includes a fan and a filter.

 

 

 

Choosing an air filter can be a daunting task with the number of filters and varying prices. One tip is common with all the experts that I read and watched on TV, if you can see through your filter then it no good. Most recommended the pleated type of filter which gives you more surface area of filter. These filters can then be chosen by the size of particulates that they will pass.   The more particulates they filter the more expensive they become. Electrically charged filters were recommended to be one of the better filters as they also come in a washable model. My particle model has a pretty standard 16 X 25 X 1 inch filter but there are cartridge filters available that are up to 5 inches thick.

 

Electronic air filters charge the particles as they pass which then attracts them to the filter. These filters can then be removed and cleaned in your dishwasher. Both the larger cartridge filter and the electronic air filter have to be custom fitted to your furnaces cold air return.

 

Remember to periodically to check your furnace filter as the more particulates they collect the more frequently they should be changed as they will affect the air flow to your furnace.

 

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Hardwood Flooring – Maintenance and Care

Hardwood Flooring – Maintenance  and Care

Hardwood is one of the best choices when it comes to flooring options. Hardwood floors are preferred over carpet flooring because it does not retain allergy causing pollen. Also, carpets need a lot more cleaning and maintenance than hardwood floors. Carpets also tend to smell over time, while hardwood doesn`t.

Aside from carpets, hardwood floors also beat other synthetic materials in the sense that hardwood floors are more durable and elegant. Hardwood floors will add style, grace and value to your home that other types of synthetic flooring can`t do. If you want a romantic and warm tone to your home, hardwood floors will also have an advantage over other extracted flooring material like stone. Beyond these however, one of the best benefits of having wood flooring is the ease of cleaning these beautiful hardwood floors.

Cleaning hardwood floors entail occasional sweeping with a regular broom to get rid of dust that may have settled on the floor. Be sure however that when cleaning hardwood floors, you use only a soft broom that will not scratch the polyurethane varnish off the floor. You can also even just use a slightly damp mop immediately followed by a dry one to make sure that dust will be thoroughly picked up in cleaning hardwood floors. One thing you cannot do in cleaning hardwood floors is to scrub with a hard brush on the floor surface. By doing this, you will create marks on the even and shiny finish of your hardwood.

Another thing is that you should not excessively wet the area when cleaning hardwood floors to avoid the water from seeping into the wood and making it swell. Swelling, which results from incorrect methods of cleaning hardwood floors, will cause the wooden planks to become uneven and in some cases, chip off. Be very careful not to spill or mop up quickly any spills that may occur on your hardwood.

Generally, modern wood stains and polyurethane varnish finishes the wood and gives it a protective coat that will shield it from untoward accidents like spills and the like. You also don`t have to worry about too much wear and tear on the hardwood floor because the usual protection from the varnish usually lasts for years before a reapplication is needed.

Even cleaning hardwood floors is made a breeze by these modern wood finish and varnish aids because the surface of the floor becomes very even and smooth, which makes it hard for dust to settle. Any dirt or dust is easily lifted off the surface without much effort.

In collecting the aid of cleaning tools for your hardwood floors, make sure that you don`t use any substance that can ruin your floor`s protective varnish. For instance, some cleansers may contain alcohol or other harsh liquids that can ruin your floor`s finish.

Also, be sure not to use equipment not meant for cleaning hardwood floors. Some surfaces or edges from certain equipment may unduly scratch and create grooves on your floor so be sure to think twice or better yet, consult a hardwood floor expert for advice. Whatever the case, cleaning hardwood floors can be a total breeze with a little effort and common sense. No more scrubbing or back breaking work. Just give it a few sweeps and your floor will retain its warm luster and look like new.

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Furnace Filters – Choosing the Right One

First item to check is to make sure your filter is properly sized for your furnace. Ensure that the filter completely fills the holding area, with gaps at top, bottom or sides. Also the filter should be thick enough to seal off any avenues for air to bypass the filter.  Another item to check is your owners manual for the furnace and check that you have the right style of filter for your furnace. Some people buy universal re-usable filters that might provide too much resistance for the modern high-efficiency furnaces used today. If no manual is available check on the internet for manufactures site and look up specifications for model of furnace you have. If no specifications are available, send them an email, most companies gladly provide information on requests from customers. Clean or replace your disposable furnace filter periodically during the winter–check the filter monthly. Brush and vacuum the heat exchanger surfaces every year, if recommended by your owner’s manual. Before the heating season, clean the blower blades and seal any air leaks in ducts with several wraps of duct tape. (use the metallic duct tape only)

A little maintenance goes a long way toward keeping your forced-air equipment working properly. Start by cleaning or replacing the filter. With forced-air furnace systems, air returning to the furnace’s blower first passes through an air filter designed to catch dust and debris and help clean the air before it’s recycled to your home. On new homes, check all your ducts by removing grills and vacuuming any debris that you can reach. If extremely dirty, notify builder and have him clean the ducts. This is only possible on new construction.A good furnace filter can help reduce allergens but isn’t designed to significantly improve air quality in your home. For that, you’ll need a special air filter (talk to a heating specialist about this).

When typical filters become clogged with debris, they cut down on a furnace’s efficiency and, over time, can cause parts to wear out faster. Change filters quarterly or sooner if they look dirty. Pleated fabric filters are a good, inexpensive choice for reducing dust and allergens.

Here’s how to change a replaceable filter:
1) Turn off the power to the unit.

2) Look for the door or panel that conceals the blower; sometimes this is marked “Filter.” Lift this door or panel off of its holding hooks or unscrew its retaining screws to remove it.

3) Standard filters are mounted next to or under the blower motor. Newer furnaces have the filter installed on exterior of furnace on supply side. A good installation will have a metal cover over side of filter to prevent air leakage. Remove cover and slide the filter out along its tracks. Check to see whether it is a disposable filter or intended to be cleaned and replaced–this should be marked on the filter’s edge, along with directions for cleaning if applicable. If it’s a disposable filter, its size will probably be printed on the frame’s edge also. Make a note of its size.

4) Buy a replacement and slide it back into place, noting that arrows stamped on the side indicate the proper direction of airflow; be sure you face these in the proper direction. If your smoke detectors or carbon-monoxide detectors start going off after cleaning your filter, you have installed the filter facing the wrong direction. Remove and reverse filter, this will resolve your detector alarm problem. More home improvement articles are available on diy.napoleon.cc website.