Steps to winterize

Winter is coming!!! Now is time to get your systems ready for the colder temperatures if you haven’t done so already. In this article I will show you steps to winterize your units.  Many people don’t really think about their AC or evaporative coolers much after the summer months, but if you continue to do necessary maintenance steps. Then you can help prolong the life of your units, and that will help you save a few bucks eventually.

Most units in Arizona that I come across are heat pump units. Meaning that they are built a special way in which they have a reversing valve. That will cause the hot air to blow across your indoor (evap) coils as opposed to usually leaving your outdoor (condenser) coil. Heat pumps usually are enough here in the desert since we only near freezing temperatures in the winter. Some heat pump units will have electrical heater strips as an addition to the heat pump operation. I have attached some examples of reversing valves below.

Brothers Heat Pump Reversing Valve 2.0 TonBrothers Heat Pump Reversing Valve 2.0 TonGoodman 0151M00019SP Goodman Reversing Valve And Coil (B1227316S)Goodman 0151M00019SP Goodman Reversing Valve And Coil (B1227316S)Goodman 0151R00071SP Reversing Valve (V6-414081-1GD) comes w/ BFKZ-053S Bi-Flow Filter DrierGoodman 0151R00071SP Reversing Valve (V6-414081-1GD) comes w/ BFKZ-053S Bi-Flow Filter DrierGoodman B1225017 24V Reversing Valve CoilGoodman B1225017 24V Reversing Valve Coil

There are many other types of heating systems. Another common set up is a gas furnace. They are sometimes built into package units. They are easily identifiable with their need for a gas line hooked up to the unit. You will want to make sure the units engage when you call for heating on your thermostat. If you have a gas system you will want to make sure the gas valve is open. The thermostat should engage the furnace. Which will cause gas to engage and get lit by the igniters. Electrical heat strips should engage if they are equipped. If you have a hydronic system. You will want to make sure the water pump engages and flows the water through your coils.

Watts Dormont 30C-3131KIT-48B Complete Gas Range Install Kit 48-Inch LengthWatts Dormont 30C-3131KIT-48B Complete Gas Range Install Kit 48-Inch LengthMr. Heater One-Stop Universal Gas-Appliance Hook-Up KitMr. Heater One-Stop Universal Gas-Appliance Hook-Up KitHot Max 24201 Extension/Appliance Hose for Propane or Natural Gas, 25 FeetHot Max 24201 Extension/Appliance Hose for Propane or Natural Gas, 25 Feet

Once engaged, your heating system should produce heat out of your vents in your rooms. I recommend checking this before the winter, and it’s a time you really want to use it.

Etekcity Lasergrip 1080 Non-contact Digital Laser Infrared Thermometer Temperature Gun -58℉~1022℉ (-50℃~550℃), Yellow and BlackEtekcity Lasergrip 1080 Non-contact Digital Laser Infrared Thermometer Temperature Gun -58℉~1022℉ (-50℃~550℃), Yellow and BlackNubee Temperature Gun Non-contact Infrared Thermometer MAX Display & EMS AdjustableNubee Temperature Gun Non-contact Infrared Thermometer MAX Display & EMS AdjustableFluke 62 MAX IR Thermometer, Non Contact, -20 to +932 Degree F RangeFluke 62 MAX IR Thermometer, Non Contact, -20 to +932 Degree F Range

It is a good time to inspect the life of the other working parts of your evap cooler when winterizing it. I usually will replace the pads and possibly the belt at the end of the season if they have mineral build up on them. When winterizing I recommend shutting off the water supply, and removing the drain stem to remove the water from the pan. You can keep the fan plugged in if you would like to use it to bring in fresh air still. This is a good practice to follow because freezing water can shorten your machine’s life.

Clean Machine 120V PumpClean Machine 120V PumpDial Manufacturing 5218 1 Pint Cooler Cleaner TreatmentDial Manufacturing 5218 1 Pint Cooler Cleaner Treatment3434DIAL 51795 In-Line Scale CartridgeDIAL 51795 In-Line Scale Cartridge

I hope this article has helped you prepare for winter. Please comment or email if you need some help answering questions.

dollarmech@gmail.com

 

 

How to make your AC last longer

How to make your AC last longerAbout 12 years ago, I was “Mr Naive” about AC’s. If you would of asked me how they worked. Then I would’ve said something like “PFM” (pure f*cking magic). Since then I have been to several schools that have taught me the ways of how various refrigeration systems run. They have taught me how to best care for pretty much every type of refrigeration machine you can think of. So, I thought I should pass some of that knowledge on to you guys. In this article I will cover some of the most basic things that you can look at to help make your AC last longer.

It is important to remember to safely turn off the power before reaching your hands around the fan blades or handling the electrical wiring.

Things to look at:

      • Filters – Replace your filters regularly with a similar size. I recommend at least looking at your filter monthly. Most filter replacements that I do are scheduled every 2 to 3 months, but it’s all depending on how much your system is running. I always recommend getting the pleated filters. The other ones do not filter the air as well. In my home I run a reusable filter. They are more expensive initially, but can be rinsed off and reused. Saving you money eventually.
      • Coils – A damaged coil will cost a lot to replace. So, I recommend treating your coils well. A few bent fins on you coil won’t really damage anything except the aesthetics of the machine. A loss of air flow across the coils will result if an abundance of the fins getting bent. They have fin combs that you can buy to help straighten the fins, but this is often tedious. It is important that your coils stay clean as well. Various stores sell coil cleaners that you can spray on and rinse off. I have attached some links of some that I approve of using. The reason that most cleaners will state that the outside coils (condenser) will need to be rinsed off is because there is little moisture that runs across the outside coils. The inside coils (evaporator) remove moisture from the air using the condensation method. The moisture that runs across these coils is enough to rinse them from the cleaners. I recommend cleaning your coils every year or two depending on where you live, and how much dust is usually on your coils.

     Goodman 3 Ton Uncased Upflow/Downflow Evaporator Coil 13 AC-Safe Foam Coil Cleaner – 19 ounce spray aerosol can: Cleans Evaporator and Condesor Coils, Fan Blades, and Reusable Air Filters 4171-75 – Air Conditioner A-Coil Evaporator Condenser Foam Coil Cleaner – No Rinse- 14oz Spray Can Fin Comb Air Conditioner Fin Cleaner By TOFL (1) ABN Condenser Fin Straightener Comb, AC Evaporator Coil Rake

    • Fan Blades – Inspect your fan blades while they are operating for abnormal operation. Condenser fan blades are notorious for vibrating once they get damaged. Vibrating fan blades will usually reduce your condenser fan motors life. I have also experienced indoor blower wheel fan blades getting damaged from various reason. The best way to repair a damaged fan blade is to replace it.

 Fasco D7909 5.6-Inch Condenser Fan Motor, 1/4 HP, 208-230 Volts, 1075 RPM, 1 Speed, 1.8 Amps, Totally Enclosed, Reversible Rotation, Ball Bearing A.O. Smith ORM5458 1/3-1/6 HP, 1075 RPM, 208-230 volts, 2 Amps, 48Y Frame, Sleeve Bearing Condenser Motor Fasco D7908 5.6-Inch Condenser Fan Motor, 1/3 HP, 208-230 Volts, 1075 RPM, 1 Speed, 2.6 Amps, Totally Enclosed, Reversible Rotation, Ball Bearing A.O. Smith FSE1026SV1 1/4 HP, 1075 RPM, 208/230 Volts, 1.3-1.8 Amps, 48 Frame, Sleeve Bearing Condenser Motor B1086756 – Goodman Replacement Condenser Fan Blade -3 x 18 Goodman B1086756S Fan Blade Goodman B1086775SP Condenser Fan Blade 22 Whirlpool W10156818 Fan Blade – Condenser Goodman B1086750SP Condenser Fan Blade 22 Supco FBP100 Fan Blade And Blower Wheel Puller

    • Belts – Most residential units will not have a belt driven fan blades. Most commercial units are belt driven. Always replace your belt with a similar size and style if it is excessively worn or damaged.
    • Condensation drain – You will always see some sort of drain coming from the evaporator coil. The condensation drains are important to pay attention to. If they back up then could potentially ruin drywall and insulation if your air handler is located in your attic. Click here to see my other article about drains.
    • Contactors – Contactors are heavy duty relays. They use a small electrical current to control the larger current that is used to run your compressor and motors. The points that engage to let the electricity to pass through will get burnt over time. Once they become too worn they won’t allow the electricity to pass through. I recommend the replacing the contactor once they start having the burnt arching marks on the contacts.
    • Capacitors – If you have a multimeter that can check microfarads. Then I recommend checking the capacitor. They should be within 6% of the rating. I have attached a link on a recent article I wrote on capacitors.
    • Wiring – Making sure there isn’t any bare wires that could possibly arch or get caught in the fan blades. I recommend using zip ties to secure loose wires.
    • Fuses/Circuit Breakers – Ensure the fuses and circuit breakers are working correctly.

 Buss HAC-R-40 – Edison Replacement Time Delay Fuse – 40 Amp 250V – RK5 Dual Element Bussmann FRN-R-60 60 Amp Fusetron Dual Element Time-Delay Current Limiting Fuse Class RK5, 250V UL Listed ( Box of 10 ) Fusetron FRN-R-40 – Edison Replacement Time Delay Fuse – 40 Amp 250V – RK5 Dual Element Littlefuse FLNR-60 – Box of 10 Edison Replacement Time Delay Fuse – 60 Amp 250V – RK5 Dual Element

  • Gas lines – If your unit is equipped with gas lines. Make sure they are secure and not leaking. Some tend to rust eventually. Ensure the shut off valve operates correctly.

There is a quick way to ensure your AC is working properly during the cooling mode. You can put your hand above the condenser fan. You should be able to feel the heat coming off from the condenser fan while the unit is in cooling mode.

I hope that this article has helped you inspect your air conditioner. Please comment or email me with any questions or concerns, and I will update the article.

dollarmech@gmail.com

Benefits of Evaporative Coolers

Many people favor evaporative coolers during the early and late summer months in Arizona. They are a great way to cool your home when it’s 80-110 degrees outside. The only real drawback is that they don’t work too well on those high humidity days during the monsoon season. I recommend having an AC as a primary way to cool your home, but having a evap cooler is a wonderful way to help alleviate the steep electricity bills that summer can bring.

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The main reason evap coolers are so much cheaper to run than air conditioners is that they only have 1 motor. While most AC’s have 2 motors and a compressor. Most amps are drawn during the startup of the compressor. It is equivalent to stop and go traffic in the city or non stop high way traffic.

Evap coolers use convection to transfer the heat from the outside air to the water that is falling across the pads. They can drop the temperature 25 degrees or more. The higher the humidity in the outside air will cause the cooling efficiency to decrease.

Proper maintenance on swamp coolers is crucial if you expect them to last more than the first season of operation. They are relatively low cost to maintain. If you do it right then you should only have to inspect and maintain your swamp cooler twice a year. Usually done before and after summer. I recommend doing a pre summer inspection during early spring. In Arizona I recommend to start getting your swamp cooler ready in February. I recommend winterizing it before snowfall or if you experience freezing temperatures where you are located.

Several things to take a look at when inspecting your evap cooler.

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