Tips on Air Conditioning
Clean or replace filters on a regular basis, but certainly no less than twice a year. Dirty filters not only restrict air flow they can also contribute to equipment breakdown.
Have the service technician drain and clean your humidifier. You probably won’t need it during the humid summer months and shutting it off saves electricity, as well as wear and tear on the equipment. Remember to shut off your humidistat, which powers and regulates your home’s automatic humidifier.
One of the most important things you can do to get your air conditioner ready for heavy summer workout is to clear the area around the outdoor condenser of dirt, leaves and other debris that accumulated over winter. Also, periodically throughout the summer you should trim excess shrubbery growth around the outside condenser unit.
Central air conditioning units should be inspected, cleaned and tuned by a professional technician once every year or two to extend the life of the unit and cut down on energy consumption. Check with your contractor on the proper maintenance schedule for your unit.
Helpful Tips & Resources
At IPH, we install and maintain air conditioning, plumbing, and heating systems every day in Kamloops and throughout the BC interior. Here are some suggestions, tips, and troubleshooting to help you with your air conditioning units, sink disposal units, frozen pipes, drains, and furnaces.
Tips on Air Conditioning
Tips on Disposal Units
It is best to use cold water — NOT hot water — when you run your disposal. Let the cold water run as long as the motor is running, and be sure to avoid overloading the disposal.
Corn husks, artichokes, onion skins, celery, and other high-fiber material can clog your disposal.
Do not pour fats or cooking oils into your sink. Liquid fats can solidify in cold drainpipes, trap food particles, and clog the drains.
Do not put coffee grounds down the drain.
If your disposal is clogged:
Turn off the motor and the water, Call the service department for assistance.
Food particles which remain in your disposal can cause odors. Put a combination of ice cubes and lemon peel in the disposal, run it for about thirty seconds, and then run cold water through the disposal. Disposal cleaner or degreaser may help too.
Tips on Drains
Place a strainer over kitchen and bathroom drains if they do not already have one; this will prevent hair, pieces of soap and other debris from clogging drains. Clean the strainer as needed.
Unclog a drain mechanically rather than chemically when possible.
Use chemical drain cleaners sparingly, especially if your pipes or traps are brass, steel, or cast-iron; some chemicals may corrode metal pipes. Try this instead: pour a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar down your drain every month.
The drains in showers and in bathroom sinks typically need extra care; pour two or three gallons of boiling water down each bathroom drain about once a month to clear out hair and greasy particles.
Tips on Preventing Winter Freezing
Don’t let your outdoor faucets freeze up in the winter:
Un-attach your garden hoses before freezing temperatures arrive in the fall.
Close the shut-off valve on the pipe(s) which lead to your outdoor faucet(s), then open the outdoor faucets so that any residual water can drain.
If your indoor faucets sometimes freeze in very cold weather, try leaving the cabinet doors under the faucets open so that they can get a bit more heat. In extreme cases let the water trickle very slowly into the sink.
Insulate water pipes which may be exposed to freezing temperatures or wind.
Water pipes which are not being used should be drained for the winter in areas where there may be severely cold weather.
If there is plumbing in your garage, be sure to keep your garage door closed when it is very cold. Pipes in unheated garages or basements should be insulated.
If your pipes do freeze:
Turn off the water at the main shut-off valve so that you don’t have problems as the ice melts.
Leave the faucets on to relieve pressure as the ice melts.
Use a blow dryer or heat gun to thaw frozen pipes.
Don’t even think about using a blow torch! It’s too dangerous.
Tips on Furnaces
You should change your disposable filters on a regular schedule. We recommend checking them monthly and changing them every 2-3 months depending on the activity in your home.
Keep the area around your furnace clean and unobstructed.
Keep the burner area of your furnace clean.
Furnaces that require lubrication on the motors and bearings should be attended to by a qualified heating technician once a year.
Do not have anything combustible within six inches of your vent pipe.
Do not close off more than 20% of the registers in your house. This can cause high resistance and unnecessary heat build up in the furnace.
Do not store combustible material such as paint thinners, gasoline, etc. near your furnace.
Get to know where your main water shut off is and label it along with other isolating valves in your home. Turn these valves on and off about twice a year to make sure they work!
Have your Boiler serviced regularly, to avoid faulty functionality and the production of poisonous carbon monoxide. Most heating engineers are very busy in the winter months so we suggest you get your appliances serviced before the cold weather sets in.
Replace washer taps rather than let the family turn them off tighter to stop them dripping; this causes more wear and shortens their life span.
Keep your boiler or geothermal heating system clean inside by adding some corrosion inhibitor; this will add years to the life of the system and will improve functionality.
Your water heater is one of the most important household appliances. Over time sediment builds at the bottom of the heater, which can hamper performance. A good professional will check this on an annual basis. He or she will also check the drain valve for signs of leakage, and the anode rods for corrosion.
Check every faucet in your home for leaks. Just a slow drip can waste 15 to 20 gallons a day. Fix it and you save almost 6,000 gallons a year.
Put a bit of food coloring in each toilet tank. Without flushing, watch for a few minutes to see if the color shows up in the bowl. It’s not uncommon to lose up to 100 gallons a day from one of these otherwise invisible toilet leaks. And that’s more than 30,000 gallons a year!
Try this simple, natural way to keep your drains running freely: pour in one cup of baking soda, followed by one cup of vinegar. Repeat every month.