Tag Archives: home repair

Got Condensation? Here’s Why and What to Do

We all recognize condensation when it forms on a glass of cold iced tea in August. But what does it mean when it forms on the inside of our windows? The same principal is at work on our windows and the iced tea glass: the cold surface meeting the warm, damp air causes moisture to form on the glass.

What is condensation and what can you do about it?

We usually see condensation forming on the inside of windows in the winter, especially at the beginning of the heating season. The cold air outside makes the window cold, and if the warm air inside has too much moisture, it will form condensation. In North Carolina, where the temperature usually rises well above freezing during the day, the condensation will usually dissipate during the day; however, that doesn’t mean that you should just ignore it.

Condensation on the inside of your windows indicates that your indoor humidity might be too high, which can cause much worse problems than foggy windows. Excessive humidity can cause paint to blister, wood to rot, floors to buckle, and insulation to deteriorate. Ironically, it’s often the newest, most energy efficient houses that can be prone to excessive indoor humidity; these houses are “tighter” and don’t allow air to flow freely through the walls to the outside. This keeps heating or cooling inside where you want it, but it also keeps humidity inside. Older houses were often built with more porous materials that allowed water vapors to escape.

Most experts agree on the following scale for indoor relative humidity, based on a range of outdoor temperatures:

  • -30° F or below – not over 15%
  • -20° F to -10° F – not over 20%
  • -10° F to 0° F – not over 25%
  • 0° F to 10° F – not over 30%
  • 10° F to 20° F – not over 35%
  • 20° F to 40° F – not over 40%

(Assumes 70° F indoor air temperature)

Since North Carolina winters are fairly mild, the humidity in your house should be in the 30 to 40 percent range for most of the season.

If your indoor humidity is too high, there are several steps you can take to bring those levels down:

  • Invest in a dehumidifier. They come in different sizes for different-sized spaces and can drastically reduce humidity. You can also buy moisture-eliminating products for high-moisture rooms like bathrooms or basements.
  • Add some air. Open windows for a little while each day, or run ventilation fans if you have them. If you don’t, consider investing in a ventilation system, which will keep your whole house dry.
  • Add some heat. Turning up the temperature will bring warm, dry air into the house, helping to reduce overall moisture.

How to Clean Condenser Coils on Central Air Conditioners

Clean Condenser Coils Ensure a Safe and Efficient HVAC System!

When the condenser coils of your central air conditioner are coated with dirt and grime, its operational costs increase. Research suggests that you can improve the efficiency of your central cooling system by 16% just by keeping the condenser coils clean.

Keeping your air conditioning unit clean and well-maintained is possibly the best way to improve its efficiency and save on your monthly bills. Not only will it reduce the energy consumption and save on your monthly bills, but clean condenser coils will make your air conditioning unit last longer and keep it running efficiently.

Nevertheless, care needs to be taken when cleaning air conditioning coils, as improper cleaning may cause permanent damage to your air conditioning unit. Even worse, harmful bacteria can grow and multiply in an air conditioning unit that is not maintained properly, causing serious health risks such as asthma, nausea, and more.

Air Conditioner Condensers – What You Need to Know?

The condenser is perhaps the most important part of an air conditioning unit. It collects concentrated heat from your indoor space and takes it outside. As such, a lot of air movement takes place to get rid of this concentrated heat. In order to perform this job, the condensing unit needs to be perfectly clean; a dirty condensing unit will consume extra energy to get the job done.

Since the condensing unit is placed outdoors, it is very easy for dirt, grass, and leaves (if plants are too close) to get into the condensing unit and clog it. And if the coil is not clean, the fan in the condensing unit won’t be able to push out as much air as is required for optimum performance and efficient running. This will not only raise your electricity cost but may also shorten the life span of your condensing unit.

Therefore, the first step that you should take to keep your condensing unit clean is to cut away any weeds or plants that might block the flow of air around the unit.

Before Cleaning the Condenser Coils

When removing  debris, plants, or any objects that may cause problems, be sure to keep the area within three feet of the condenser free of any obstructions. Also, make sure that the upward path of the air from the condenser is unobstructed for at least five feet.

In most cases, the condenser coils are clogged with dust and pollen even when it is not visible to the eye. If you use your air conditioning unit for a longer period, it is best to get it cleaned at least once a year. However, if your summers are long, it is a good idea to get your condensing unit cleaned more than once per year.

Cleaning Condenser Coils – The Steps Involved

  1. Needless to say, the first and perhaps the most important thing you need to remember before cleaning condenser coils is to turn off the power supply to your air conditioning unit.
  2. Next, get rid of any visible obstructions, such as leaves, grass, and dirt from the fins using a whisk broom. Work in the same direction as the fins so that these are cleaned properly.
  3. To make sure that the slots between the fins are cleaned properly,  remove the grill that guards the coil. Wear a mask when performing this task.
  4. Next, spray some coil cleaner into the condenser coil. Give it a good five minutes, and wash it with a water spray. Make sure you use a gentle spray since a strong spray may cause harm to your aluminum fins.
  5. Adjust the fins using a fin comb or a screw driver if the fins are bent. Work carefully to prevent damage to the fins while trying to straighten them.
  6. Once you’ve gone through all of these steps, you can turn on the power to your air conditioning unit and enjoy a much more efficient and smooth-running air conditioning unit.

Contacting a Professional Service

While you can perform the task yourself, hiring a professional  for the  maintenance (and repair) of your HVAC system ensures quality service and maximize efficiency of your unit.

 

 

Reasons to Call Your Heating Technician

Cold Air

Call your Heating Technician when emergency strikes and your furnace is not working as it should be. If your heater is blowing cold air, you need professional assistance to solve the problem. There are many causes for heaters to malfunction, and a technician’s trained eye can usually spot the problem right away.

when should you call a technician?

Unit is Running Constantly or Will Not Turn On

If your unit is not turning on and off regularly, you need to call for help. Many times the thermostat is at the root of this problem.  You can check your thermostat to make sure that it is set at the proper temperature by using a thermometer. If the thermometer reading is different than the thermostat setting when the unit kicks on or off, then you know that there is a thermostat issue.

Ductwork Clogs or Faulty Furnace

If no air is coming out of the vents, a call to your heating technician is in order. You will want to call your heating and air repairman if your furnace is making strange noises also.

After you have determined that you may need to call your Heating and Air Technician, one of the first questions the technician may ask you on the telephone is an obvious one: “Did you turn the unit on at the thermostat?” You would be surprised at how many times repairmen have arrived at homes and checked the thermostat to find that it was indeed turned off instead of on, and the homeowner was charged with a service call. The second question the technician may ask you is, “Did you check the breaker?” If both of those answers are “yes” and the furnace is still not working, then the technician will most likely be on his way to check out your problem.

Gas Leak or Smoke

Another important reason to call your technician is if you smell smoke or gas. First, turn the unit off, and then evacuate your home immediately. Once you are a safe distance away from your home, call your heating technician.

Gas Leak Safety Tips

There are five important safety tips to remember if you smell gas inside your home. Evacuate everyone from your home, and remember that the following actions can spark fires if gas is leaking in your home:

  1. Do not use a cell phone.
  2. Do not light a cigarette or a candle.
  3. Do not use a flashlight.
  4. Do not turn off the gas or propane valves.
  5. Do not crank your vehicle’s ignition.