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Spring 2011

Simple Reasons Not to Neglect AC Maintenance

Especially if you’ve just had a new air conditioning unit installed, it’s tempting to assume the system is working fine and leave it alone. After all, you just spent a good deal of money on that state of the art system. Why spend even more to have someone check for problems that likely don’t exist?

This line of reasoning seems to make sense. But the truth is that the better you are at keeping up with regular maintenance on your AC system, the more you’ll save in the long run on your energy bills and the longer your system will last.

What Goes into Good AC Maintenance?

The problem is that a lot of people don’t understand what actually goes into regular air conditioning maintenance. Sure, changing out air filters is an important part of it, but there’s actually a lot more involved in keeping an AC system functioning properly.

The cooling coil needs to be cleaned thoroughly at least once a year. Without this type of attention, the coil is sure to accumulate sediment and debris which in turn impedes its ability to cool the air that passes across it.

The dirtier your cooling coil is, the harder your air conditioner must work to keep your home cool. And if your air conditioner is working harder, it’s using more energy and costing you more each month on your cooling bill.

But really the increased monthly cooling costs will be the least of your concerns if you don’t get your AC unit the proper care it needs each year. That’s because regular maintenance also allows a technician to thoroughly inspect your system for any damaged parts, leaks or cracks that could put more strain on the unit or cause it to break down entirely in the near future.

This type of preventative work is the best way to ensure that you won’t have to call for emergency repairs. Problems can often be caught early, even before they start to show symptoms. And even if repairs are required, they’ll be much less expensive than if the problem was allowed to develop further and affect other parts of your home comfort system.

Since an AC system is so expensive to purchase and have installed, you want to make sure it lasts for a good long time. Regular maintenance visits are the best way to ensure that your system continues to work well for its expected lifespan and potentially longer. After all, the longer your system lasts, the less you will have paid each year, and that cost savings will more than pay for the yearly maintenance visits.

It’s a Vacation Season – How to Take Care of Your Home before You Leave

So your next big vacation is just around the corner. You’ve finally finished the last of your work, the kids are out of school, and the bags are packed. But, what about your home? Have you properly prepared your home for two or three weeks of emptiness while you’re away?

Millions of people go on vacation every year and most have no problems while gone, but to ensure issues are minimized for the entire trip and you come home to a clean, sound home, here are some tips for your next trip:

  • Talk to a Neighbor about Watching Your Home – Always make sure someone has an eye on your home. If you can’t find a neighbor to help, have a friend house sit. They could alternately stop by every few days to make sure everything is okay. If you can give your neighbor a key as well, that is even better so they can check inside or feed any pets you may have.
  • Hold Mail and Newspapers – Not only do you not want to risk missing an important letter, you don’t want to advertise to thieves that you aren’t home by letting old newspapers and mail build up on your porch.
  • Remove Spare Keys and Lock all Doors and Windows – If you keep a spare key in the mailbox or under a rock somewhere, take it with you. No one should need the spare and if someone thinks to look for it, they could easily get into your home while you’re away.
  • Turn Off Gas and Hot Water – Turn off your hot water heater while away to save money and if you have gas supplying your home, call the gas company. Only do this if you plan on being away for a long time and can’t get someone to check in periodically.
  • Treat Your Tanks and Sinks – A little dab of baking soda in the toilet and your sinks is all you need to avoid the unpleasant smell of stale water. Additionally, keep in mind that if you’re gone for too long, water can evaporate from your traps and sewage gasses can back up into your home. If someone checks on your house, have them run the water in each drain every day or two.
  • Throw Away Old Food – Clean out your refrigerator of any food that will go bad while you’re gone. Just because it’s okay now doesn’t mean it will be when you get back. No one likes cleaning out the refrigerator when they get back from vacation.
  • Unplug Everything – Unplug all appliances and electronics while away. Not only do they waste electricity, surges can put them at risk and increase fire risks if a disaster or storm occurs.
  • Take Out the Trash and Clean Up Lingering Messes – Trash, old food, dust on the floor and anything else you don’t want to see when you get home should be cleaned up. It will make returning from vacation much less stressful than usual.

Not only will this checklist help you prepare for your next big trip; it will ensure you come home to a clean, safe house that never became a target for burglars or mischief in your neighborhood. If you’re careful, your next trip will be a blast, not weeks spent worrying about whether the gas is off or you left a light on.