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Tips

Things to be aware of on your heating and air conditioner systems:



Condensate Drain: 

Due to high humidity it is important to use a chemical/bleach to remove the buildup of algae in the condensate drain lines.

Outside condensing Unit:

It is important to have your condensing unit cleaned once a year.  You can do this yourself with the unit running and a normal garden hose.  We also provide this service and use a special chemical specifically for cleaning condensing coils.  This chemical is designed to not attack the copper or aluminum.  Having this done could save you in excess of $100 per year on your electric bill.
Make sure to keep a minimum distance of 12” between your plants and shrubs and the condensing unit.  In addition, do not allow any tree or shrub limbs to grow over your outdoor condensing unit.

Fresh Air Vent: 

In the newer homes in many areas, the code requires that a fresh air vent/damper be installed at the return air duct.  In most cases this damper is left wide open and causes an excessive electric bill and humidity in the house, by allowing the warm humid air to be drawn into the house.  I recommend you close this down to 10% or less of the opening.  Remember, this is designed for inactive individuals that do not go in and out of their house often during the day.

Thermostat:

With programmable thermostats, you can set your thermostats to have 3 or 4 different settings per day and also weekday vs. weekend.  It gives you flexibility to save money by altering the house temperature according to your schedule.

In extreme weather, heating or cooling, it is a good idea to put the thermostat in Fan mode instead of Auto.  This will allow the warmest rooms to be circulated continuously maintaining the temperature throughout the house.

Ceiling Fan: 

Leaving your ceiling fans running during the day in occupied areas will allow you to set your thermostat 2° higher because the moving of the air will make occupants feel cooler.  However, leaving ceiling fans running in unoccupied rooms does not accomplish anything but adding to your electric bill.

Filter:

  • It is necessary to change your filter at least four times a year, however every home and filter is different.  If you have pets or live in an area that has construction, it may be more frequent.  However, if you use a high efficiency filter, then it can be changed, in most cases, once a year.
  • Make sure that you use a quality filter, such as a 3M filter.  The reason is that there is a certain amount of dust that leaks through inexpensive filters.    This dust attaches to the evaporator coil and over time this can lead to service problems due to dirt buildup and lead to an expensive repair and cleaning or replacement of the coil.  With the Practical Pleat, it is 99% efficient.
  • When replacing your filter, be sure to place it so the arrow is in the correct direction.
  • There are many reasons that I recommend a filter media over electronics, because of the high maintenance required.
  • There are filters and UV lights on the market today that will remove mold and kill any bacteria such as bird flu.  These are items to consider for your health.

Registers:  

The question is always asked of me, whether to shut off or close registers in non-occupied rooms.  The answer is you can close registers down to where they don’t whistle, but only on 2 registers.

Things to know when obtaining bids for new units:

  • The efficiency of a system is known as SEER, with 14 being the lowest allowed for new systems.  SEER ratings above 18 do not make economic sense due to the time required to recoup the investment
  • When purchasing a 2-stge system, the comfort level is worth the price.  These systems control the humidity in the house in normal weather conditions, and operating costs are lower; however, it takes at least 2 to 5 years to recoup this investment
  • Which is the best equipment manufacturer? The reality is that most use the same compressor, it just looks different
  • Some contractors may imply that you need repair to the ductwork. All ductwork has been approved by the City of Georgetown and in over 95% of the homes in Sun City, the ductwork is fine
  • Consider using the Vendor Referral Book in the Social Center to check out reviews on the contractors providing bids
  • Obtain at least 3 bids for new systems
  • This is extremely critical when purchasing your new system: Make sure your contract includes model numbers of the equipment being installed.  Upon installation, verify that those are the model numbers that were actually installed. 
  • If the prices sounds too good to be true, it probably is