Water Heater Maintenance Tips
- A bucket
- A pipe wrench
- Garden hose
- Flathead screwdriver
- Socket wrench with 1-1/16? head
- Check the pressure valve
A pressure relief valve is present on both gas and electric water heaters. This safety device releases pressure from the tank should it over pressurize. If your pressure valve isn’t working properly, the tank could explode from excess pressure. To test your pressure valve:
Shut off the electricity running to the unit and turn off the gas valve, if applicable.
- Shut off the cold water inlet.
- Place a bucket below the pressure relief valve’s discharge pipe to collect any water.
- Pull the valve’s trip lever. If it is operating properly, there will be a minor rush of air and you may see some water and vapor come through the pressure relief valve. If not, the tank should be drained and valve replaced.
- Flush the tank
Over time, sediments can build up in your water heater tank, lowering efficiency and clogging your system. To flush the tank and remove sediment buildup:
- Shut off electricity and gas to the water heater.
- Shut off the cold water inlet.
- Connect a hose to the drain valve, and route it to a bathtub or other location where hot water can safely drain.
- Open the pressure relief valve.
- Open the drain valve and allow all hot water to drain out of the tank.
- Once all the water has drained, close the drain valve, remove the hose, and close the pressure valve.
- Open all fixtures connected to a hot water line throughout your home, including sinks and bath faucets.
- Turn on the cold water inlet.
- Once water starts flowing from the hot water fixtures you’ve opened, go ahead and close them.
- Reconnect electrical and gas power to the unit.
- While you’re in there.. lower the temperature to save money
Another step you can take to save energy while you perform water heater maintenance is to lower your water heater’s thermostat setting. Lowering the temperature reduces energy use regarding standby losses and consumption. The recommended setting for your water heater’s thermostat is120 degrees Fahrenheit for safety as well as energy conservation. To do so:
- Locate your water heater’s thermostat; you may need to consult your owner’s manual for assistance.
- Mark the current setting with a market, and turn down the thermostat.
- In a few hours, check the temperature by turning on the hot water at the farthest tap from the water heater.
- If this setting is satisfactory, mark it on the thermostat for future reference.
- You may need to make a few adjustments to find a desirable setting for your household, so repeat the process as needed.
How to Clean Your Own AC Unit
Cleaning your exterior condenser
Your outdoor condenser’s components can become caked with dirt and other debris, which can restrict the unit’s ability to cool your home by blocking air flow. Your main target for this cleaning is the fins, which are the thin metal blades that encase the unit. To clean your condenser, follow these steps:
- IMPORTANT! Turn off power to the unit at the exterior shutoff, also called a “disconnect”. Also, shut off power at your home’s electrical panel.
- Using a wet/dry vacuum with a soft-bristled attachment, vacuum away dirt, leaves, grass, and other debris from the fins.
- Remove all brush, vegetation, and debris from around the condenser.
- If any of the fins are bent, you can use a fin comb or other thin object to gently and carefully straighten them out. Be careful not to stick the knife more than a half-inch inside the unit or make contact with the (usually) copper tubes that carry the refrigerant.
- Remove the top grille, carefully lifting out the fan. Place it in a safe location and don’t pull at the electrical wires attached to it.
- Remove any debris from inside the unit and wipe the interior clean.
- From inside the unit using your garden hose, gently spray the fins. Be careful to only use moderate water pressure.
- Reinstall the fan.
- Turn the electricity to the unit back on at the outdoor switch and the electrical panel.
- Make sure your thermostat is set to ‘cool’ and lower the temperature setting below the current temperature to trigger the unit to turn on.
- After about 10 minutes, feel the tubing that runs from the condenser to the house to ensure the unit is working properly. The insulated tube should be cool to the touch and the uninsulated tube will be warmer.
Cleaning your interior air conditioning components
Dust and dirt can build up in your indoor air conditioning components, restricting efficiency and even diminishing your indoor air quality. Follow these steps to clean indoor areas of the system:
- IMPORTANT! Turn off the power to the unit at the furnace switch as well as at the main electrical panel.
- Remove your furnace filter and replace with a new one if necessary.
- Open the panel to expose the blower compartment.
- Gently vacuum away any dust and debris that have collected in the chamber.
- Locate the condensation drain tube and gently disconnect it. To prevent algae growth, you can either replace the tube or clean it using a bleach and water solution of a 1:16 ratio. Pour the solution through the tube.
- Clean the drain port using a soft-bristled brush or pipe cleaner to remove any debris which have collected here.
- Reconnect the drain tube.
- Turn the power back on at the furnace switch and at the electrical panel.
If you are uncomfortable performing any of these air conditioner cleaning steps or have questions, please don’t hesitate to call us at 951-894-6830. Also, remember that your air conditioner needs professional maintenance each season as well, so don’t forget to schedule your tune-up!
How Back-to-School Season Can Save You 10% on Cooling Costs
The new school year brings new expenses. So if you’re like most parents, you’re probably looking for ways to save some money.
We have an easy money-saving tip for you: Simply raise your thermostat 7°–10° Fahrenheit while you’re gone during the day to save up to 10% on your cooling costs.
Here’s how it works: When you set your thermostat to a higher temperature, your AC uses less energy to cool your home.
And less energy used by your AC more money saved on your energy bill.
According to Energy.gov, “the smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.”
If your kids are back at school, and you’re at work, that means no one will be at home. You don’t need a cool home when everyone is gone, so why not turn up the thermostat to save some money?
Here’s how it could work with a hypothetical daily schedule:
You wake up at 6 am, get yourself and the kids ready for work/school
Before you leave out the door at 7:30 am, you turn your thermostat up 10°
When you and the kids get home around 5:30 pm, you turn your thermostat back down to your desired temperature, and then repeat the same schedule the next day.
Pretty simple, right? The only thing you have to do is remember to raise your thermostat before you leave home.
But if you’re worried about forgetting or turning this tip into a habit, there’s another solution...get a programmable thermostat.
HVAC CARE FOR THE PET OWNER
Proud pet owners have to put up with a lot in order to keep their furry friends around. Pet hair on furniture and dander floating in the air are among the most irritating downsides of sharing your home with a dog or cat. But if those hairs and particles are being scattered around your home, you can bet they’re ending up in your HVAC filter -- and that’s just one way owning a pet can affect your climate control system.
There are special considerations for pet owners when it comes to maintaining an HVAC system and controlling energy use:
Replace filters diligently. If you have one or more shedding pets in the home, you should check your HVAC filter before it’s due for replacement. It’s not uncommon for it to be matted with hair, and the skin cells and other particles your pet produces may also prematurely clog the filter. If your filters are clogging up quickly, it might be wise to switch to a reusable filter that can be cleaned with a garden hose.
Clean your home regularly. One of the keys to avoiding those filter clogs is preventing most hair and dander from reaching the filter. A lightweight cordless vacuum can make it fairly easy to suck up pet hair around the home every other day.
Bathe and brush your pet. The other key to controlling hair and dander is to harvest it right off your pet’s body before she can scatter it around the home. Brushes designed specifically for pet hair removal make this DIY job much easier, or you can just take your pet to the groomer every few weeks.
Fence off your outdoor AC unit. If you leave your pets unattended in the yard, you can help keep them and your air conditioner safe by creating a breathable barrier around your outdoor unit. It’s safe for pets to be around these units, but restricting access will make sure cats don’t claw at the fins and dogs don’t chew on the cables.
Please call Air Temperature Specialists at 951-894-6830 when you are in need of HVAC service.
Don’t Look for HVAC Quotes Online if You…
- Don’t know what you’re looking for. The average homeowner doesn’t know the ins and outs of an HVAC system – and that’s OK! Contractors don’t expect you to – that’s their job! To provide a quote for a new system or repair work, a contractor needs to assess your home or business, the comfort issues you face, and what type of equipment or repair is necessary. An HVAC quote online may not consider important installation or repair factors that increase or decrease price in your situation, making it inaccurate.
- Don’t know what’s wrong with your system. Heating and cooling systems are complex – it will be difficult for the average homeowner to determine the problem and repair issue they face, in most cases. When looking at HVAC quotes online, you may think you need one thing, but when the contractor shows up, you need a fix entirely different – the costs are likely to be vastly different.