How to flush a water heater

Many people are not aware that there is preventative maintenance involved when it comes to water heaters. In this article I will discuss how to flush a water heater. It is important to do this atleast once a year to help extend the life of your water heater. Flushing a water heater will help remove the sediment that builds up in in the bottom of the tanks. It is important to know that water heaters were designed to be housed indoors. Although I have seen a few water heaters mounted outside over the years, and it’s not recommended by any manufacturers. They usually are not covered by warranty if they are installed outdoors. Most water heaters will leak enough to destroy the burner. Some people opt to have a drain pain under the water heater to help catch that water that might rust through or leak. Just be warned that a filled water heater contains a lot of water. A little tray will not be able to contain everything if the whole water heater ruptured. An aftermarket water alarm is a handy device that will alert you if it becomes wet. They can be placed inside the drain pan to help monitor if the water heater were to start leaking.

In order to properly flush a water heater. You will need to turn off the heat source. That means you will need to turn off the gas valve or turn off the breaker if it is electric. Your water heater will ruin if you don’t turn it off before emptying it. Next step is to turn off the water fill valve on the inlet pipe. If you don’t have a shut off valve on the water inlet. Then you will need to locate a water main valve that feeds that area or the entire building. You will need to attach a garden hose to the bottom of the water tank. Make sure your hose has the proper seal to prevent leaks and is adequate in length. Direct the hose to a location that will not damage from rusty water and sediment. Open the valve on top of the hose with a screwdriver or pair of pliers.

Once the water heater has emptied. You can close the hose valve, and open the water inlet valve again. Once the water heater is filled again. Then you can light the pilot light, and let water heater resume it’s normal job. Most gas water heaters are difficult to relight once the pilot light is extinguished. It usually takes a few minutes to relight the to pilot light. If you can’t get the water heater back to normal operation or smell gas then you should stop immediately and contact a professional to assist you. I hope this article has helped explain to you what is needed to flush a water heater. Please contact us with any questions or comments at brooksdollar@gmail.com

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How to change your engine oil

In this this article, I will discuss how to change your engine oil in order to keep your ride running smoothly. It is important to maintain your engine oil while running up the miles on your odometer. There are a few important things that you will need to know when replacing the engine oil.

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First thing I like to do when changing the engine oil is to gather the required materials. You can call your local auto parts store with your year, make, model, and engine size. They will be able to set you up with the proper supplies for your vehicle. You should ask the part employee to check the engine oil capacity specification if you need to know how much oil is required. Most scenarios I will opt for a deal that the store will have with 5 quarts of oil and a oil filter. They will ask you if you would like conventional or synthetic oil. Conventional oil needs to be changed more frequently due to the viscosity breaking down from engine wear and tear. Synthetic oil is changed less frequently due the fact that it does not break down from engine wear. You still need to change your synthetic oil due to the fact of it getting dirty. Once you make the change and fill your engine with synthetic oil. Then I personally would not put conventional oil back in. Some Oil brands sell a synthetic blend oil.

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If you have a vehicle that is low to the ground then you will need to jack up the vehicle to a acceptable height. I will always recommend putting a jack stand underneath the vehicle and wheel chocks for a safety perspective. You don’t want to have a mishap where the car falls on you or someone else. Next you should position the drain pan and remove the oil drain plug. Collect the oil into a container with a lid to bring back to the store. The auto parts stores usually have a used engine oil collection tank. I recommend replacing the engine oil drain plug after the oil is fully drained so you don’t forget to put it back in later. Remember to not over tighten the plug, or you will strip out the threads in the oil pan. Next you need to remove and replace the engine oil filter. I will always dip my finger in the used engine oil and pre lubricate the O Rings on the oil filter to ensure a snug fit. Only use your hand to tighten the oil filter back on to ensure you will be able to remove it next time.  You are now ready to put fresh engine oil back in to your engine with a funnel. Please refer to the engine oil capacity specification that you asked the auto parts store employee to know how much oil you need to put in the engine.

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After the fresh engine oil is reintroduced back into the engine. I will remove the jack stands and lower the car back to the ground. I like to start the engine and let it run for about a min before stopping it again. Now you can check the oil level on the dipstick, and you will get a more accurate reading after the oil has filled up the filter compartment and other passages. You should be reading oil levels on the dipstick that are between the normal operating level marks. Clean up your mess, and you are now done with changing your engine oil.

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Get your AC ready for summer!

Air conditioners are the most crucial part of the home or business during the summer months. It is imperative to get ready for the coming summer temperatures. In this article I will go over a few things to look at on your Air Conditioner to get your AC ready for summer.

Excelvan M6013 Digital Auto Ranging Capacitance Meter Capacitor Tester Professional 0.01pF to 470000uFExcelvan M6013 Digital Auto Ranging Capacitance Meter Capacitor Tester Professional 0.01pF to 470000uFLCD Digital Meter XC6013L Capacitance Capacitor Tester mF uF Circuit Gauge Capacitance Meter TesterLCD Digital Meter XC6013L Capacitance Capacitor Tester mF uF Circuit Gauge Capacitance Meter TesterACM03 Digital Clamp Multimeter AC DC Current Voltage Resistance Capacitance Hz Meter Tester NCV FunctionACM03 Digital Clamp Multimeter AC DC Current Voltage Resistance Capacitance Hz Meter Tester NCV Function

Capacitors are one of the most common things that go bad during the summer temperatures. You can prevent this by testing the capacitor Microfarad level by using a multimeter that is equipped with the feature. I recommend testing the indoor fan capacitor and outdoor fan capacitor. You can test the capacitor by removing one side of the circuit on the capacitor. Put the test leads of the multimeter across the top prongs of the capacitor. It should give you a microfarad reading of what the capacitor is rated for. So for example if you have a 12.5 microfarad capacitor. It would be most likely rated for plus or minus 6%.

12.5 x .06 = .75 So the capacitor shouldn’t be lower then 11.75 microfarads. Let’s say you have a capacitor that tested 11.13 microfarads. Then you would want to replace the capacitor with one that is within the range.

MARS - Motors & Armatures 12905 370V Oval 5 Micro-Farads Motor Run CapacitorMARS – Motors & Armatures 12905 370V Oval 5 Micro-Farads Motor Run CapacitorMotor Run Capacitor, 370 Volt, Oval, 10 Micro-FaradsMotor Run Capacitor, 370 Volt, Oval, 10 Micro-FaradsPowerWell 35 + 5 MFD uf PW-35/5/R 370 or 440 Volt Dual Run Round Capacitor for Condenser Straight Cool or Heat Pump Air Conditioner 35/5 micro faradPowerWell 35 + 5 MFD uf PW-35/5/R 370 or 440 Volt Dual Run Round Capacitor for Condenser Straight Cool or Heat Pump Air Conditioner 35/5 micro faradPowerWell 40 + 5 MFD uf PW-40/5/R 370 or 440 Volt Dual Run Round Capacitor for Condenser Straight Cool or Heat Pump Air Conditioner 40/5 micro faradPowerWell 40 + 5 MFD uf PW-40/5/R 370 or 440 Volt Dual Run Round Capacitor for Condenser Straight Cool or Heat Pump Air Conditioner 40/5 micro faradPowerWell 45+5 MFD 45/5 uf 370 or 440 Volt Dual Run Round Capacitor PW-45/5/R for Condenser Straight Cool or Heat Pump Air ConditionerPowerWell 45+5 MFD 45/5 uf 370 or 440 Volt Dual Run Round Capacitor PW-45/5/R for Condenser Straight Cool or Heat Pump Air Conditioner

Most home AC’s use Dual run capacitors. These are two capacitors that are built in one. One is used to run the Compressor, and the other is used to run the outdoor fan motor. Capacitors are used in a electrical circuit to boost the amperage. So they can hold a charge when removed from the circuit. It is important to discharge the capacitor by putting a piece of metal between the sets of prongs on the top of the capacitor. I like to use a screwdriver.

Fan motors should be working without any excessive vibrations or bearing sounds. It is important to be careful of bending fan blades.  It is hard to repair a fan blade when a fan blade gets damaged. It is easier to just replace the fan blade with the exact same model of blade.

Goodman B1086756S Fan BladeGoodman B1086756S Fan BladeLomanco 003 Power Blade VentLomanco 003 Power Blade VentFAN BLADES FOR EVAPORATOR MOTORS- 8FAN BLADES FOR EVAPORATOR MOTORS- 8A95231 Metal Fan Blade 9A95231 Metal Fan Blade 9

Condenser coils get dirty over the years with dust and other things. You can spray off the coils with a garden hose to help remove the dirt. I recommend using a condenser coil cleaner if the coils are really dirty. Most common spray on cleaners will require water for the condenser coils and no water required for the evaporator coils. Since there is a build of condensation on the evap coils during operation that will rinse the chemical cleaners off.

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Most drains will get clogged over time with dirt, animal hair, and a sludge build up. I recommend checking the drains coming off the evap coils. You should clear the piping with water or compressed nitrogen if there is a clog. I like to use the drain dawg kit that has a long hose attached to a nitrogen regulator and tank.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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