May 21, 2013

Around the House: Now You Can be Cool

As any Colorado native knows, the weather in our state can be unpredictable at the most inconvenient times. When it comes to cooling season, having a well-tuned air conditioning unit can be the difference between being prepared and being miserable when a gloomy 50 degree-day quickly turns into a blazing 90 degrees. Learn how to prevent the need of our Denver AC repair services.

Think of a cooling system as your best friend. Like any long-lasting friendship, it takes work and care to maintain and to ensure it’s in the best condition. Just as your best friend doesn’t appreciate being neglected for months at a time, neither does your air conditioner!

To increase your cooling system’s efficiency and prevent the need of our Denver AC repair service during our hot summer days, Applewood Heating Plumbing & Electric recommends performing these annual maintenance and upkeep tips before the hot weather hits:

Air Conditioner Maintenance:

  1. Cleaning the evaporator. If the evaporator is accessible you should clean it ­once a year, usually before cooling season begins. If the plenum has foil-wrapped insulation at its front you can clean the evaporator. Clean the underside with a stiff brush as well as clean the tray below the evaporator unit that carries condensation away from evaporator.
  2. Maintaining the condenser. In most air-conditioning systems, the condenser unit is located outside the house. Due to the location, it accumulates dirt and debris from trees and plants, lawn mowing and d­ust. The condenser has a fan that moves air across the condenser coil. In order to properly clean the condenser coil, check to see which direction the air moves across the coils so you are able to clean the coil on the intake side. When maintaining the condenser you should also cut down grass and weeds that have grown around the unit that may affect airflow.
  3. Filter. At the beginning of every cooling season and at least every other month during the season, remove the front grille and clean or replace the filter. If you have a large amount of dust built up, you should clean or replace the filter more often. To clean the filter, use a solution of mild household detergent and water. Other units have a throwaway filter that when it becomes dirty should be replaced with a new one of the same type.
  4. Conduct a thermostat test. One way to test a thermostat is by using a jumper wire kit. If you’re concerned, Applewood has technicians who can perform this and other tests to ensure your home is ready for summer.

Swamp Cooler Maintenance:

  1. Open a window. Swamp coolers use moisture to cool the air when operating. When operating your swamp cooler, it’s important to remember to open a window to reduce the moisture and indoor humidity. If you do not open a window, you risk ruining household items such as furniture.
  2. Wait until it’s HOT. Swamp coolers operate the most efficient when it is warmer. You should not use your swamp cooler if it is less than 85 degrees. This is because there needs to be a significant temperature difference between the air, water and cooling pads.3. 3.     
  3. Replace cooling pads. Cooling pads should be replaced at the beginning of the summer and during mid-season to ensure proper maintenance and optimum efficiency. Remove the old pads and wash the pad frame and retainer to remove unwanted dirt build up. After cleaning, insert new pads in the unit and reinstall the frame and retainer without gaps.
  4. Watch your water levels. When using a swamp cooler remember to frequently check water levels. The water should always be at the proper level in the tank. If the water is not at the correct level, you may need to alter the float arm.

Tips to Increase Efficiency:

  1. Use sparingly. Often homeowners will make the simple mistake of forgetting to turn off their air conditioner when they’re not home. Another common mistake homeowner’s make is running the dishwasher or washing machine during the day producing extra unwanted heat. By waiting to use these appliances until the evening you will reduce the amount of heat circulating in your home.
  2. Limit the sunshine. Perhaps the easiest way to keep the heat out and to give your air conditioner a rest is to keep west and east facing windows closed with the shades down. Limiting the amount of sunlight coming into your home is a quick and easy way to reduce the use of your cooling system.
  3. Use the evening to your advantage. Instead of running the air conditioner all night try opening a window to help ventilate and circulate the cooler outside air into your home. Opening doors is also a great way to improve air flow.

By conducting these maintenance steps you can ensure your cooling system is prepared for Colorado’s unexpected heat surges, increase the longevity of your air conditioner or swamp cooler, save on energy bills and limit surprise repairs.

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