The climate in south Florida is quite different o most parts of the country so home maintenance is also a little different!

6 Air Conditioner Tips for Staying Cool

Air Conditioning Tips

In south Florida we realize that air conditioners are indispensable for most of us for close to 12 months a year.  If the air conditioner goes down it can be unbearable, so here are some air conditioner tips to help you avoid that situation.

Plants around the air conditioner

Plants around the air conditioner

  1.  Make sure you change the filter regularly.  Depending on the traffic in your home and whether or not you have pets, that is anything from 1 to 3 months.  Check it every month to make sure.  I recommend stocking up so you have a filter on hand.  You can get a good deal online.
  2. Have it serviced once or twice a year by a professional.  It may seem like an unnecessary expense but there are companies who will do this very inexpensively.  They will clean the condensation drain (very important)., lubricate the belts, check the pressures and the coil.  This will also help you avoid having a flood from a blocked drain.
  3. If you have plants growing around your outside unit, make sure you keep them pruned back about 2 feet so that air flow is not reduced.
  4. Check the fins on the outside unit to make sure they are not clogged with dead leaves or debris .  If so, turn the unit off and clean them carefully with a brush, vacuum or hose, taking care not to bend them.
  5. You can make it last longer (and save money) by not working it so hard.  2 or 3 degrees can make a significant difference in how hard it has to work.   Turn it up to 78 degrees when you are not home.  Using a ceiling fan will also make you feel cooler and you won’t have to set it so cold.
  6. Check your duct work.  It’s amazing how often I find cold air blowing into the attic because a join in the ducts has come loose.

I hope that these air conditioning tips help keep you cool all year round!

How I Nearly Burned My House Down!

My daughter could smell something burning.  She walked into the laundry and opened the dryer.  Red hot embers were glowing in the vent at the back!  Had she not been home, we likely would have burned the house down!

Did you know that the most common cause of house fires is the clothes dryer? More than 15,000 fires are caused every year by clothes dryers, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Lint  can build up in your dryer vent, reducing air flow to the dryer, causing it to overheat and creating a fire hazard.

The leading cause of home clothes dryer and washer fires was failure to clean (32%), followed by unclassified mechanical failure or malfunction (22%). Eight percent were caused by some type of electrical failure or malfunction.

dryer lint trap

dryer lint trap

Dryer Safety tips

  • Make sure you clean the lint filter every time you use your dyer.
  • Turn the dryer off if you leave home or when you go to bed.
  • Make sure that there are no kinks in your dryer vent.  If you have a soft, flexible vent that kinks easily, have the more rigid vent installed.
  • One of the most common spots for blockages is the exit on the wall or roof.  This usually has a wire cage to prevent animals from getting in to your house, but lint tends to build up over time and can become completely blocked.   Make sure the air exhaust vent pipe is not restricted and the outdoor vent flap will open when the dryer is operating. Once a year, or more often if you notice that it is taking longer than normal for your clothes to dry, clean lint out of the vent pipe or have a dryer lint removal service do it for you.
  • Gas dryers should be inspected by a professional to make sure that the gas line and connection are intact and free of leaks.
  • Make sure the right plug and outlet are used and that the machine is connected properly.
A clogged dryer lint trap

A clogged dryer lint trap

Maintenance Tip – How to Prevent Water Damage in Your Home

Flood damage is a common problem for many homeowners.  There are a few simple precautions you can take to minimize the chance of  water damage in your home.

Common causes of floods are burst water pipes, especially from the hoses  to your washing machine.  If ywasher hosesou have rubber hoses, it is a good idea to change  these out every five years or change to metal flex hoses.

 

 

 

 

Also, chehot water tank panck your hot water tank at least once a year.  If you notice signs of rusting around the base, it could be a good time to have it replaced.  At least monitor it regularly.  It is a good idea to have a pan under the tank to catch water in case of a leak.
Pipes under the kitchen sink and under bathroom vanities are less likely to burst but often leak, which can damage the cabinet and also lead to mold, so it is a good idea to check these annually too.  Turn on the hot water and let it run for a couple of minutes which will cause the pipes to expand.  Then check for any leaks.

 

The air conditioner can be another source of water leaks, but not usually a flood.  In warm climates like Florida, algae tends to grow in the drain pipe, clogging it up.  Your air conditioner should have a safety float switch which will turn the unit off if the water does not drain.  These are not 100% reliable and many people put a drain pan unsafety float switchder the air handler in case of leaks.  Other remedies are pouring a little bleach in the pipe each month or using a wet vac to suck out the pipe.

 

 

 

If you have polybutylene pipes in your home, you need to be extra alert.  These are gray plastic pipes that were installed in many homes built from the late 1970s to about 1992.  This is a common cause of flood damage. They are not always obvious as they usually have copper connections through the wall.  You may be able to check by climbing into the attic. polybutylene pipe 2

 

 

 

 

 

A final preventative measure, especially if the washer or hot water tank are on the second floor or if you live in a condo is to place a leak detector on the floor where there is concern about possible leaks.  These can be bought for about $30.  Flood Buster

I hope these tips will help prevent flood damage from happening in your home.