August 22, 2012

Around the House: Getting Your Home Ready for Summer

When we think of regular maintenance we usually think of our cars. Change the oil, check the plugs. If we took the same approach with our homes – the cooling and heating systems to be exact – we might have less frustration and greater efficiency. With the recent cool weather, you may not be thinking about the heat of summer, but the warms days will be upon before you know it.

This kind of attention is a way to not only maintain your home, but a way to ensure your investment remains viable, especially in a tricky economic environment. Applewood Plumbing Heating & Electric recommends this same kind of maintenance to get ready for summer. It’ll keep you cooler and running smoothly in the long run.

If you have an air conditioning system, swamp cooler or attic fan a little maintenance at the beginning of the season will mean cooler days this summer plus fewer repair bills and longer life for your cooling system, according to John Ward, owner of Applewood Plumbing Heating & Electric. “We can even see savings on monthly utility bills,” he said.

Applewood recommends some easy-to-do maintenance of your cooling systems. Here are some summer tune-up suggestions:

Air Conditioning:

The easiest place to start is with the filters. If you can’t remember changing them, the likelihood they need to be changed is pretty good. We recommend changing or cleaning the filters on your air conditioner and furnace monthly. Having your furnace and air conditioning system professionally checked and tuned annually is a good idea, too.

Changing or cleaning your furnace/air conditioning filters regularly means the system will run more efficiently and you’ll be breathing cleaner air. Did you know most household dust is actually dead skin we all shed daily? It also contains things like pet dander, plant and mold spores, pollen, bacteria and tiny dust mites that are a major cause of allergies and asthma. Dirty filters mean more of these things reach your nose and lungs.

Swamp Coolers:

Before gearing up your swamp cooler, be sure to remove the panels and clean out any debris that’s collected at the bottom over the winter months. This is also a good time to check the fan belt for proper tension. If you can move it more than an inch, it’s time to replace it.

Like a car, the motor needs oil to operate efficiently. Check the oil receptacle and lubricate it with the proper oil. Don’t forget the cooler pads — that’s what the water runs through. Regular checks and replacement ensure they are in good shape. Your cooling efficiency decreases with worn or shabby pads.

Some other items to check before operation include turning on the motor and pump to make sure water is flowing evenly through the cooler pads. Check for cracks or holes in the structure of the frame and make sure the water fills to the proper level. The floater arm should shut off the pump when the water reaches the correct level.

Attic fans:

Lubricate the motor, clean the fan blades and housing, tighten screws and bolts. Make sure the setscrew securing the blade to the motor is tightened. Clean screens and attic vents for cleaner air quality.

You can do some of these things yourself. Or we can do it for you. Either way, do them now for a cooler summer.

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