Preparing an Outdoor AC Unit

An outside air conditioning unit, often referred to as an HVAC unit, is a lifesaver during hot summer months. During the winter, you may want to winterize the unit to protect it against cold weather, snow and ice. Winterizing the unit also protects it against rust damage. A few protective measures can keep the air conditioning unit in your real estate investment in top working condition.

Find the air conditioning circuit near your unit. Usually, it has a plastic or metal lid that covers the electrical circuit. Open the lid and flip the switch to turn the unit off. This prevents the unit from turning on during an unusually warm winter day, keeping water out of the unit that could potentially freeze.

Wash the air conditioning unit with a hose to remove bird droppings, dead bugs, dirt and dust. Remove leaves, small branches and grass clippings from the unit. Allow the unit to dry completely.

Install foam pipe covers around exterior exposed pipes. Cut the foam to fit the length and diameter of the pipe. The foam covers insulate the pipes and protect them against freezing temperatures. Wrap duct tape around the foam covers to hold them in place.

Cover the HVAC unit with a plastic or vinyl cover. Choose a cover that is waterproof. Some manufacturers make covers that are specifically designed for air conditioners, but you can use any plastic or vinyl covering that fits over the unit.

Wrap vinyl ropes or bungee cords around the air conditioning cover to keep it secure. Make sure the cover is wrapped tightly so it doesn’t blow away in strong winds.

Check your air conditioner once a week to make sure the cover is secure. Brush water, snow and ice off the unit. Remove twigs, pinecones and leaves from the cover.

How to Reduce your Energy Consumption this Winter

A/C, Energy Saving, Heating, Sugar Land

While setting the thermostat to the right temperatures can improve the comfort of one’s home, it is not the only way to do so. Other ways for a homeowner to minimize energy usage and costs, while improving the overall environment inside of his or her home include:

  • Wear warmer clothing and consider setting the temperature to lower than 72 degrees to see more savings on energy bills.
  • Inspect and regularly replace filters.
  • Get an inspection and furnace tune up before the arrival of winter to get the furnace ready for the season.
  • Inspect the home for drafts and leaks. Seal up any cracks, holes or gaps in the home’s entryways, walls, and foundation to prevent thermal energy from escaping.
  • Use weather stripping on doors and windows that are used frequently.
  • Caulk or seal the windows and any unused exterior doors.
  • Set the water tank temperature to 120 degrees to reduce thermal energy costs.
  • Open the curtains or blinds to let the sunlight in to help heat the home.
  • Rearrange furniture so that no one has to sit where there may be drafts coming in.
  • Check all pipes and faucets for leaks. Insulate the pipes by covering them with a blanket.

Prior to the cold weather setting in, homeowners should make every effort to winterize their home. Stop playing with the thermostat and get more enjoyment out of your home by making it as energy efficient as possible.

The Right Temperature for your Home This Winter

For many homeowners, wintertime is the time of year when they are tempted the most to turn their thermostats up to the highest setting possible in order to keep all of those cold drafts at bay. While this may seem like a good idea, it is not. Constantly setting the thermostat to a high temperature during the wintertime will cause a big spike in energy bills. In order to save money and keep your HVAC system from working too hard, here are some ways you can program your thermostat in order to save energy and money during those cold winter months.

Day Time Temperature Setting

Setting the thermostat too high when it is cold outside is the equivalent of tossing money out of the window. The warmer your home is the faster thermal energy will be lost to the outside. The lower the temperature is inside of the home, the slower the rate of thermal energy loss. To achieve optimal comfort, it is recommended for homeowners to set their thermostats between 68 to 72 degrees while there are people inside of the home. 68 to 72 degrees is a temperature range that is not too warm or cool, and is sufficient enough to warm up the home just enough so that everyone is comfortable regardless of the type of clothing they have on.

Night Time and Away Temperature

When the house is empty for an extended amount of time and at night, it is a good idea to lower the temperature to 58 to 62 degrees. When everyone is sleep and less active, there is no need for the heating and cooling system to waste energy when it is not needed as much. That temperature setting is also enough to keep the pipes in the home from freezing when the temperatures outside drop and no one is home.

Energy Efficient Appliances

Older furnaces and heat pumps take longer to heat up the inside of a home. This can cause the home to feel colder than it really is since the appliance is taking more time to heat things up. In order to improve how fast the furnace responds and to maintain the warm atmosphere inside of the home, it is a good idea to replace all older appliances including the furnace with energy saving appliances.

Digital Thermostats

Invest in a digital thermostat to make setting and maintaining temperatures a breeze. Digital thermostats make it possible for homeowners to set their thermostats in advance and not have to worry about setting them again until the season changes. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and install the digital thermostat in an area that is convenient for you to reach and away from all drafts, sunlight, furniture, doorways, and windows.

When setting a digital thermostat be mindful of the times that everyone is awake and sleep. Consider programming the device so that it lowers and raises the temperatures shortly before everyone gets up, goes to sleep, or leaves the house. If the home is going to be empty for three hours or more, do not forget to set thermostat to a lower temperature to save energy and money while you are away.

Winter Preparation for your Home

Winter is already upon us and this means that it may be too late to make preparations for it now. Regardless of where you live, the winter season is definitely one of the most troublesome part of the year to many households all over the country. But it is never too late to prepare for it though. Below are some tips on how to make your home ready for this winter season.

Caulk and Weather Stripping

Caulking is the best solution for drafts. You must never forget to inspect your windows, foundations, and doors for any cracks and seal them with a caulk immediately. Also, you can choose to use weather stripping to get rid of drafts that sneaks beneath your doors. By doing so, you should be able to lower your energy consumption this winter.

Install New Windows

Installing new windows would be a great way to improve your home’s energy efficiency and help lower your energy consumption this winter. However, installing new windows could become expensive and may not be the best solution for households on a budget.

Insulation

Having insulation in your attic, flooring, and walls will help you keep warm inside your house this winter season. Also, a good insulation will prevent cold air from sneaking indoors. Try contacting your contractor to add proper insulation to your home as preparation for winter.

Furnace

You must have your furnace cleaned by a professional before the cold season begins. This is to make sure that your furnace will be ready and will last till the end of the season.

Fireplace

It’s a good idea to have a professional clean your chimney before the winter season arrives. Your contractor will check for creosote buildup and ensure that no small animals are nesting in your chimney. Also, make sure that your damper closes tightly to prevent drafts from sneaking into your home through the fireplace.

Other Measures

Cool air can seep into your home through electrical outlets. You can use pre-cut foam gaskets to prevent the cold air from leaking inside your home. Also, don’t forget to reverse your ceiling fans so they circulate rising warm air downward into the living space of your home. This simple measure can go a long way toward enhancing the comfort of your home.

Leaking Air Conditioners

Leaking Air Conditioners

Leaking air conditioners are very messy and in most cases can be really frustrating. It can cause a significant water damage in your home. A small leak must not be left alone because it can end up getting bigger which will then add more to your problem. Small leaks are at first small inconveniences but if you continue to ignore them they can cause more damage to your home.

Why does an AC leak?

Leakage from ACs are primarily cause by the following issues.

  • Disconnected drain pipes

One of the primary causes of leakage in air conditioners, if the drain pipes or lines are not install properly they may loosen up over time. This will cause the drain pipes to disconnect from the air conditioner unit which then causes the water to drain through the ceiling.  If there’s something that’s clogging in the lines or drain pipes, it will still cause leakage but the location of the leak will depend on the location of your AC system and if whether your primary or secondary drain pipe is the one that is affected.

  • Clogged drain pipes.

If a drain pipe is clogged it causes your AC’s drain pan to overflow. This is one of the most probable cause of leaking air conditioners. As such it is only important that you call a professional to fix the issue for you. Clog in the drain pipes can be caused by rust, algae, dirt and other debris.

  • Pump issues

Another common cause of leakage in AC units is a malfunctioning pump. In some cases, a dirty pump can also cause water leakage in your AC. If a leak is cause by a malfunctioning or dirty pump can lead to flooding in your attic or basement.

Leakage in air conditioning units can also be cause by the following issues:

  • Dirty air filters
  • Low amount of refrigerant
  • Cracked condensate drain pan
  • Lack of p-trap
  • No air vent
  • Un-insulated ductwork

As with other air conditioning problems and issues, hiring a professional to fix your AC for you would be the best thing to do. Fixing a leakage in your AC unit is not a simple task.