Tag Archives: summer

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Keep Your A/C Running Cold This Summer With a DIY A/C Checkup

It’s August, the hottest month of the year in the San Diego area. Don’t be one of the unlucky residents to suffer an air conditioning failure. Follow these few steps to make sure your A/C keeps you cool the rest of the year.

Check Your Air Filter

A dirty air filter is the number one cause poor air conditioner performance. As the filter collects dirt and debris the air flow to your unit is restricted. The evaporator coils fail to get enough circulation around them and eventually ice up. Simply changing out your filter (or cleaning it, if you have an electrostatic model) every few months will prevent this from happening.

Remove Obstructions from the Condenser Unit

Another potential reason for poor air circulation in your outdoor condenser unit is exterior obstruction. This could be debris that has blown in against the unit, items like pallets leaned up against it or even vegetation growth surrounding the unit. Make sure that the area surrounding your unit is clear so it is able to get the air it needs to prevent coil freeze and poor overall performance.

Clean the Condenser

Dust and dirt can build up on the coils and fins of your condenser. This problem can be quickly remedied with a wet rag, some cleaning solution and garden hose. Disconnect the power to your A/C unit by switching it off at the breaker. Using a commercial air conditioner cleaner – available from us – spray the coils. Let it sit for about 5 minutes and then rinse it down with your hose. Wipe the coils and fins gently with a clean rag to remove any remaining dirt. Let the unit dry and then turn the power back on at the breaker.

Get an A/C Check-Up

Electricity isn’t getting any cheaper. The best way to make sure your unit is running efficiently and cooling you without breaking the back is to have an annual AC service checkup. It’s never too late to make sure that you have the proper refrigerant levels and your unit is working at its peak. The A/C checkup will also identify small issues with your system before they balloon into expensive fixes.

Prevent AC failure by taking a few small steps now to ensure a cool and relaxing summer!

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Summer Air Conditioning Costs Too High – Old Ductwork Could Be Blowing It For You

How old is your ductwork? No, really, it’s important to know. If your ducts were installed before energy efficiency was a key concern for home buyers (mid 1990s), your ducts could be leaking live a sieve. Ductwork used to be tossed in at the last minute and secured into place with a few metal screws. You’d be lucky if they met minimum building code. This fast and cheap builder mantra could be costing you hundreds of dollars every year.

With Old Ductwork Failure is an Option

Your cheap, old ductwork may be starting to fail if it even worked right in the first place. Your ducts could be rusting out, have significant air leaks, or a complete run may have already fallen and disconnected from main system. This is because the metal joints were often held together with six hex-head screws. That’s it. If you were lucky you got some duct tape to seal around the joints. Duct tape, by design, is only meant to hold ducts in place temporarily because repeated heating and cooling makes it brittle. A good duct tape will last about 5 years.

The point here is that you probably are losing a lot of heating and cooling efficiency behind your walls – maybe up to 30 percent. You’re paying to condition the spaces behind your walls and under your feet. In addition, unfiltered air is getting sucked back into the ductwork when your system shuts off. The negative air pressure created when the fan shuts off draws in dust, debris, insulation and chemicals into your system that are then pushed into your living areas when the unit kicks back on. We’d like to help you fix that.

Let’s Inspect Your Ductwork

First, there needs to be a visual inspection of your ductwork to make sure there are no major areas of concern. This is the place you’ll find disconnected duct runs, potential blockages and other problems. We suggest checking the attic and crawlspaces that are hard to access. These will be the places that the construction crew was likely to hurry through. Look for peeling duct tape, dust lines around joints and any areas of rust. If you don’t find any of those, congratulations! If you did, you’ll probably need to get a professional to fix it the right way.

Smaller leaks are harder to find, but easier to fix. Here’s a professional trick. Get yourself a smoke candle or incense stick and turn on the blower fan at your thermostat. Run the smoke candle along the joints. Any small leaks will become immediately visible. Aluminum backed tape can be used to seal these leaks – fast and affordable.

Once you’ve sealed up the leaks that you can find, do this last thing – check the airflow in each of your rooms. If you don’t have air movement somewhere, or the temperature is significantly different in one area, you could have a leak behind the walls where you can’t get to it. This is another time the professionals have the right tool for the job. We can run a video snake through the ductwork and see what is going on. We can also schedule a blower test to check for high pressure leaks in your system and clear them up as well.

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Summer Plumbing Issues

You might not think that some plumbing issues would be seasonal, but they are. Summer has it’s own peculiar trends; the holidays have others.

Here are the top summer plumbing issues and what you can do to prevent them.

Sprinkler Issues

Of course, you might think, that certainly is a warm-weather-only problem. Yes, it is. But that makes it no less common for that. Make sure that your sprinklers are all in the down position before mowing or weed whipping.

Washing Machine Malfunctions

Washing machines get a heavier workload in the summer from all the outdoorsy things we do — going to the beach, working in the yard, and so on. Getting dirty outside is all to the good, but make sure not to overload your machine, use extra rinses, and pull the unit a little away from the wall in order to keep the drainage hose from kinking.

Clogged Disposal

This one shows up during the holidays, too. Why? Because people are entertaining. That’s a lot more plates to scrape and scraps to clean up. To avoid clogging your disposal, avoid putting animal bones down the drain. Add food slowly and run cold water through the disposal between plates. And don’t drain fat down it. That’s the worst offender.

A great summer full of fun outdoors and great dinner parties can be yours, headache free, if you follow these simple guidelines. But if you should run into problems, be sure to call your San Diego plumber My Plumber. We offer weekend and emergency service at a fair price.

Singing the Summertime A/C Bill Blues?

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Don’t suffer through another month of sky-high electricity charges. If an overworked or an under-maintained air conditioning unit is to blame, take these hints and get a grip on that utility bill.

  • Make sure that your filter is clean. Many people think that changing the filter or cleaning it twice a year is plenty of protection, but the filter should be checked once a month. If dust is apparent on the filter, it is time to change it. A dirty filter means that dirt is siftingthrough into the system and a dirty system requires more energy to work.
  • Ifyour home is on two levels, make sure the upper level vents are wide open andthe lower-level vents areslightly closed. Shutting them completely can stifle proper air-flow and harm the system. Heat rises,and limiting the intake on the lower floor will ensure that your home receives equal cooling distribution.
  • Check that your airconditioners fan is in the “on” position instead of on “auto”. This will improve air circulation andwill allow you to be comfortable at a higher room temperature.
  • Keep curtains drawn against the summer sunshine. The sun beating through the window may brighten the room, but it plays havoc with the utilitybill and sends electricity charges through the roof.
  • Get your A/C system cleaned and checked by a professional HVAC technician. This will improve your systems operations and the technician can spot potentialproblems before they causea midsummer breakdown.

Summer is almost over but it is not too late to be a cool operator. Use these tips in the name of “going green” or because youwant to maintain a level of comfort while you save. Either way, using these tips will help you maintain your cool and keep your electricity under budget.