IT goes without saying that the key to an efficiently and properly working air conditiondoit2ing system is preventative maintenance and saving money by avoiding unnecessary repairs. In order to understand the importance of this, you need to learn more about your HVAC system and understand what is involved in preventative maintenance by exploring the tasks you can do yourself and which ones should be trusted to a Nichols & Phipps technician.



HVAC Do It Yourself Tasks:


Change Air Filters

Change your air conditioning air filters at least once a month.  Clean filters enable your unit to run more efficiently, causing less wear and tear on the equipment.  Air quality will also better and cleaner during allergy season and the dry winter months.

Visual Inspection

Perform a visual inspection of air conditioning ducts to ensure they are not leaking. Inspect outdoor equipment for obvious items(leaves, dirt, obstructions and etc.) that could prevent the unit from operating correctly. Clean the outdoor condensing coil and fan blades with a normal water pressure hose. Keep all plants at least two feet away from unit.  Try to avoid water contact with electrical equipment.

Weather Stripping

Replace or install weather stripping around doors, windows and baseboards. Cracked or worn weather stripping allows cool air to escape. Replacing weather stripping annually could result in a 15 percent savings.

Insulation Inspection

Make sure that your home is well insulated. Fiberglass insulation is the easiest to install and the most effective. Insulation with an R factor between 30 and 49 is effective and can save consumers up to 10 percent.

Regulate Temperatures

Regulate the temperature. Keep the temperature cool at night and warmer during the day when no one is home. Programmable thermostats are an affordable way to regulate indoor temperatures for optimal comfort and efficiency. A programmable thermostat is ideal to safe run time. Adjust the thermostat to accommodate your lifestyle and save money as well.

Shades & Blinds

Block out direct sunlight with window shades, blinds and drapes. Window tinting is another options to reduce heat transfer through windows in the cooling season.

Doors & Windows

Make sure all windows and doors are properly closed to ensure heat and cooling remain in the house.

Ceiling Fans

Check to see if large rooms have are equipped with ceiling fans. The use of ceiling fans circulates the air so the unit doesn’t have to work as hard. In the cooling season you want operate the fan in a forward clockwise motion to push the hot air from the higher areas. In the heating season you want to reverse the operation in a counter clockwise manner to pull the colder air up to the higher areas.

Working Around The House

Plan hot work for cooler morning and evening hours. Basic household functions such as washing, drying and ironing clothes, baking and cooking all make it harder for the cooling system to do its job.

Plumbing  Do It Yourself Tasks:

Toilet Tank Overflow

You’ll know it when you see water flowing into the bowl even after you have flushed it. You can do this on your own simply by turning off the shut-off valve on your tank. Move the float arm inside the toilet tank in such a way that the flapper valve eventually closes. Continue adjusting and running test flushes until the overflow stops. However, you may need to Schedule Repairs if the problem continues after several attempts to adjust the float.

Leaking Pipes

This is one plumbing task for the professionals. Your responsibility here is to turn off the water valve connected to the leaking pipe, but everything else must be done by a trained professional. Pipes usually leak due to some form of corrosion, and may result in mold build-up if not attended to immediately.

Burst Pipes

Obviously, this is another job for a professional plumber, but you’ll have to do a few things while waiting for them to get to your house. First, turn off the main water supply to prevent flooding. Make sure all faucets in your home are turned off so that the water can drain completely. Turn off all appliances that might have come in contact with the water, and turn off your water heating systems as well. Investigate the source of the leak. That way you can be prepared for the plumber’s arrival and make his job easier.

Clogged Drains

Don’t use chemical cleansers just yet as a rubber plunger might do the trick. The only time you should resort to these store-bought cleaning agents is if the clog still remains. And if that still isn’t removing the blockage, you can place a container or vat beneath the pipe located below the sink. This pipe is known as the trap. Loosen it, try removing the blockage and replace it after flushing out the residual blockage with hot water.

Clogged Sinks

Try using a plunger at first, You’ll know if it works rather quickly. Secondly, remove and clean the trap under the sink. If the clog is further down try using a clothes hangers to force the debris down. Be careful and not apply to much force, you don’t want to damage the pipes Make sure you have a bucket handy to catch all the water and debris.

Clean a Clogged Kitchen Sink Trap

This one is a little messy, but when you’ve done it once or twice, you could do it with your eyes closed. The important part is to put a bucket under the trap to catch the water and stuff that will come out. Loosen the slip joint nuts at either end of the u-shaped trap and pull the trap loose. Clean out the clog, rinse the trap (in another sink) and re-assemble. Make sure your slip joint nuts are in good shape, and replace them if necessary. Check for leaks, and you’re done.

Replacing a Shower Head

This one is a piece of cake. Pick your new shower head at your local home supply store, and unscrew the old one from the shower arm. Clean off the threads on the shower arm and wrap some Teflon tape around them, then screw on the new shower head. You might want to use a rag to prevent wrench marks on the shower arm and new shower head. Check for leaks, and enjoy your shower.

Replacing a Toilet Ballcock

A leaky ballcock assembly can run your water bill up in a hurry, but it’s easy to replace. Get a new assembly at the hardware store, turn off the water at the supply valve on the wall, and drain the tank by flushing. Take the float arm and refill tube off and loosen the coupling nut where the water inlet pipe enters the tank. Unscrew the nut under the tank and remove the old ballcock assembly. Put the new ballcock assembly in place and reverse the process, replacing all the washers with new ones. Turn the water back on and check for leaks, make sure the float isn’t rubbing anywhere, and then watch your water bill go down.

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