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Fall Season Air Conditioning System Maintenance Tips for Homeowners

It’s fall season, and the cold weather is just around the corner, so you’re probably using your air conditioning system less and less. This will be the perfect time to take care of air conditioning system maintenance for the winter.

One of the most important air conditioning system maintenance tasks that a homeowner can do without the aid of an HVAC professional is to clean the system. Here’s a step-by-step guide to ensure your AC unit will be ready when the warm weather comes back around next Spring.

Unplug the device

For your protection while cleaning, it’s a good idea to unplug your AC unit or turn off the breaker before you start the cleaning job.

Remove any obstructions

Your air conditioning system maintenance should include trimming back any vegetation.

Be sure to remove any obstructions to your outside unit. Trim any vegetation growing around the condenser. If you don’t its growth could start to impact the performance of your system and maybe even lead to costly repairs. If you have a leaf blower, use it to drive away any dirt and debris that may have accumulated on or around the unit.

Remove the top grille and spray clean the unit

Take off the grille and pull up the fan. Peer inside and check if any debris found its way into the AC interior. If you live in a windy location, this can be quite common. Use your hose to carefully spray the fins of the unit. Use only light pressure. For any debris that has become lodged in the fins, you can use any thin metal tool such as knife or chisel to remove them. Be careful not to push your tool too hard so you won’t damage the fins. You can also use the same tools to straighten any bent fins.

If you’re not confident with opening up your AC unit, you can always schedule a service appointment with your HVAC professional to handle the air conditioning system maintenance for you.

Give us a call at Brown and Reaves Services, Inc. today at 843-497-9867.  Or contact us via our convenient form and tell us you’re interested in air conditioning system maintenance. We’ll get back in touch with you as soon as possible to schedule your maintenance ASAP.

Don’t forget to find us and like us on Facebook for more timely tips, and follow us on Twitter too!

Leaky Plumbing Can Drain Your Bank Account

Leaky plumbing can really cost you, big time. Next time you get your water bill, take a look at your usage. If it’s more than 12,000 gallons a month for a family of four, or 6,000 for just a couple, you’ve likely got some serious leaky plumbing somewhere. That means you’re paying for water that’s literally going right down the drain.

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends checking your home for the most common causes of leaks.

To Find Leaky Plumbing:Check your water meter for leaky plumbing when all water is turned off everywhere around your home.

Before checking for individual leaks, check your overall water usage by monitoring your water meter over a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter keeps turning, you probably have some leaky plumbing somewhere. The good news is that many common leaks are easy and inexpensive to fix. Here’s how:

Toilets: Typically, toilets begin leaking when the toilet flapper or valve seal becomes old or worn out. A good way to check is to put some food coloring in the toilet tank and wait 15 minutes to see if the coloring shows up in the toilet bowl. If it does, you’ll need to fix it. You can probably find the replacement part at your hardware store but to be sure, take the old part with you for comparison.

Faucets: Old and worn washers and gaskets are frequently the cause of leaky plumbing at the faucet. If you attempt to fix this leak yourself, remember to turn the water off under the sink before you start. You should also close the drain and cover the bottom of the sink or bathtub with a cloth so you don’t lose any of the small parts. By making a quick Google search, you can find how-to videos on YouTube as well as online instructions.

Showerheads: Some leaky showerheads are easy to fix while others may need professional attention. Make sure there is a tight connection between the showerhead and pipe stem. You can use pipe tape, also called Teflon tape, to secure it. You may also need to replace the washer. If you suspect a valve leak, that’s the time to call in a professional.

Outdoor faucets: Check your garden hose for leaks at the connection to the spigot. If it leaks, try replacing the washer to ensure a tight connection to the spigot. You can also use pipe tape and a wrench. If you have in-ground irrigation, you should check to make sure it wasn’t damaged by frost or freezing during the cold winter nights. If it leaks, you may need professional irrigation assistance.

Top-rated replacement fixtures: If these simple fixes don’t work, it may be time to replace your toilet, faucet, or showerhead. Replacing your old fixtures with WaterSense models not only saves water but money too.

If you need assistance with leaky plumbing in your home, give Brown and Reaves Services a call. 843-497-9867. Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook and grab your 20% off coupon on our next service call.

Heating and Cooling System Maintenance Checklist

Heating and cooling system maintenance should be done now, before you turn your heat on for fallIt’s important to have a heating and cooling system maintenance checklist for your equipment to prevent future problems and unwanted costs. Keep your heating and cooling system at peak performance by having a contractor do annual check-ups. Contractors get busy once summer and winter come, so it’s best to check the cooling system in the spring and the heating system in the fall. To remember, you might plan the check-ups around the time changes in the spring and fall.

Your Heating and Cooling System Maintenance Checklist Should Include:

  • Check thermostat settings to ensure the cooling and heating system keeps you comfortable when you are home and saves energy while you are away.
  • Tighten all electrical connections and measure voltage and current on motors. Faulty electrical connections can cause unsafe operation of your system and reduce the life of major components.
  • Lubricate all moving parts. Parts that lack lubrication cause friction in motors and increases the amount of electricity you use.
  • Check and inspect the condensate drain in your central air conditioner, furnace and/or heat pump (when in cooling mode). A plugged drain can cause water damage in the house and affect indoor humidity levels.
  • Check controls of the system to ensure proper and safe operation. Check the starting cycle of the equipment to assure the system starts, operates, and shuts off properly.

Cooling System Maintenance Specific

  • Clean evaporator and condenser air conditioning coils. Dirty coils reduce the system’s ability to cool your home and cause the system to run longer, increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.
  • Check your central air conditioner’s refrigerant level and adjust if necessary. Too much or too little refrigerant will make your system less efficient increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.
  • Clean and adjust blower components to provide proper system airflow for greater comfort levels. Airflow problems can reduce your system’s efficiency by up to 15 percent.

Heating System Maintenance Specific

  • Check all gas (or oil) connections, gas pressure, burner combustion and heat exchanger. Improperly operating gas (or oil) connections are a fire hazard and can contribute to health problems. A dirty burner or cracked heat exchanger causes improper burner operation. Either can cause the equipment to operate less safely and efficiently.
Actions To Do Yourself
  • Inspect, clean, or change air filters once a month in your central air conditioner, furnace, and/or heat pump. Your contractor can show you how to do this. A dirty filter can increase energy costs and damage your equipment, leading to early failure.

Remember to Find Brown and Reaves Services on Facebook for more Cooling Tips, and for various tips, tricks and techniques to help you save money and stay cooler, follow us on Twitter!

If you need service on your air-conditioning unit or heat pump during these remaining hot days of summer, give us a call. We service the entire Grand Strand area, in and around Myrtle Beach. 843-497-9867. Or CONTACT US HERE.

Home Maintenance: Fixing Air Leaks Around Windows and Doors

Home Maintenance is something you can do yourself to save money and energy. An average home loses up to 30% of its heating and cooling energy through air leaks. The most significant air leaks tend to occur around windows and doors. To stop air leaks and prevent your home heating and cooling dollars from vanishing in the wind, it’s important to seal any air leaks around windows and doors.

Home Maintenance - Seal air leaks around windowsCheck for Air Leaks

With windows and doors closed, hold a lit stick of incense near window and door frames where drafts might sneak in. Watch for smoke movement. Note what sources need caulk, sealant, and weather-stripping.

Seal Air Leaks Around Windows

If you have old windows, caulking and adding new weatherstripping goes a long way toward tightening them up.

  • Bronze weatherstripping (Around $10 to $12 for 17 feet) lasts for decades but is time-consuming to install.
  • Self-stick plastic types are easy to put on but don’t last very long.
  • Adhesive-backed EPDM rubber (About $8 for 10 feet) is a good compromise, rated to last at least 10 years.

Nifty gadgets called pulley seals (About $9-$10 a pair) block air from streaming though the holes where cords disappear into the frames.

Home Maintenance: Seal Air Leaks Around Doors

Check for air leaks, and replace old door weatherstripping with new.

  • Foam-type tape has an adhesive backing; it’s inexpensive and easy to install. If it comes loose, reinforce it with staples.
  • Felt is either adhesive-backed or comes with flexible metal reinforcement. It must be tacked or glued into place. It’s cheap and easy to install, but it has low durability.
  • Tubular rubber, vinyl, and silicone weatherstripping is relatively expensive and tricky to install, but it provides an excellent seal. Some types come with a flange designed to fit into pre-cut grooves in the jambs of newer doors; check your existing weather stripping and replace with a similar style.

Check exterior trim for any gaps between the trim and your door frames, and the trim and your siding. Caulk gaps with an exterior latex caulk (About $5 for a 10-ounce tube).

Seal Door Bottoms

If a draft comes in at the bottom, check the condition of the threshold gasket. One of the easiest home maintenance things you can do to save money is replace worn gaskets. If you can see daylight under the door, you may need to install a new threshold with a taller gasket (Around $25 for a 36-inch door). Or, install a weather-resistant door sweep designed for exterior doors (About $9). Door sweeps attach directly to the door and are easy to install.

For more tips on home maintenance you can do yourself, check our other articles under “Home Improvements“, or give us a call at (843) 497-9867 for a complete, in-home analysis of your home’s energy efficiency. Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook and grab our 20% off coupon for your next service call with Brown and Reaves Services, Inc.

Late Fall Home Maintenance for November

The holiday season is just around the corner. With a plan and a system, you can get everything done and still enjoy Thanksgiving.

Cut back plants that have been killed by frost.

Clean flower and vegetable beds, then work mulch and compost into soil to prepare for next spring.

Rake leaves.Home Owners Tips From Your Myrtle Beach Contractor

Clean gutters and downspouts.

Sharpen, clean, and oil lawn mower.

Clean, oil, store garden tools.

Clean spray equipment before storing for season. Have automatic irrigation system serviced.

Organize gardening supplies and equipment. Inventory needed products and materials based on year´s consumption and prepare a list for spring garden shopping.

Prepare for holidays. If traveling, have car serviced.

If it´s on your game plan, put Christmas lights up after Thanksgiving.

Organize gifts and prepare to ship out of state gifts by the end of November.

Make cookies and turkey. Enjoy your family. Watch football. Read a good book.

Enjoy your holidays, and if you live in the Myrtle Beach area and need any heating repairs, we’re available, 24/7.  Just call us at 843-497-9867.

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