June 2, 2010

Changing over from heating to air conditioning

Changing your home over from Heat to Cool is NOT simply a flick of the switch on the thermostat. This changeover is an excellent reminder for you to perform the following quick and simple maintenance items:

  • Prepare yourself for the visit to your mechanical room (people hate going to the mechanical room).
  • If you have a humidifier, you need to look for the damper or flap and close it. Closing the damper ensures the cool air is delivered efficiently throughout the home. If the damper remains open, the cool air will mix with warm air resulting your air conditioning to work for a longer period of time and work that much harder to cool your home.
  • If you have central air conditioning, look for a drain hose stemming out from the sheet metal (referred to as the plenum) just above the actual furnace and ensure the hose is not kinked or blocked and leads to a drain. If the water (humidity removed from the air) does not properly drain, water may possibly backup into the furnace compartment causing furnace maintenance and repairs in the near future.
  • Check the air filter. A clean air filter ensures proper air movement and with cold air being heavier than warm air, a clean filter will only make your rooms cool down that much faster.
  • Have a room in your home that you don’t use often? Why not try closing the vent. Closing the vent will force the cool air to move to rooms requesting cooling.

Cleaning the condenser outdoors:
The outside unit called the condenser usually sits outside next to your house. You should clean the condenser fins, which are fine metallic blades that surround the unit. They get dirty because a central fan sucks air through them, pulling in dust, dead leaves, dead grass and floating cotton from cottonwood trees and dandelions. The debris blocks the airflow and reduces the unit’s cooling ability.

The condenser contains a compressor, cooling fins and tubes and a fan. The fan sucks air through the fins and cools a special coolant, which the compressor then pumps into the house to the evaporator through a copper tube. Using your garden hose (not a power washer) spray the fins of the condenser spraying inside out. If you have access to a vacuum, vacuum the debris. The idea is to remove the debris the same way it entered.

These simple steps will ensure your cooling system works efficiently and cools down your home that much quicker and with time of use rates in effect, quicker equals saving money. To assist in the cooling of your home on those hot summer days, try closing the blinds where windows facing South and West.