October 2014 - ACS Absolute Comfort Heating & Cooling

It’s Time for Fall Home Maintenance in Houston

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fall home maintenanceSoon Houston’s hot summer weather will give way to chilly winds and rain puddles. These last remaining warm days offer the ideal time to take care of some essentials around your house. Using a checklist can help ensure you take care of the most important fall home maintenance tasks.

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

  1. Look at the exterior of your home to see if any repair work is needed on broken bricks or damaged stucco. Fix, replace or paint any siding or trim that needs it as well. Lastly, make sure outdoor electrical boxes are watertight.
  2. Examine your property’s grounds to determine whether or not there’s damage to your walkways that should be repaired.
  3. Inspect your gutters and downspouts to ensure they’re clear of leaves and debris and are attached securely. Take a quick visual inventory of the condition of your roof and chimney while you’re up there.
  4. Clean your patio furniture and store it in a dry location to avoid cracking and fading.
  5. Check out your HVAC system’s air filter monthly to see if it needs to be replaced or cleaned.
  6. Promote effective airflow by cleaning dust and debris around your HVAC system, cold-air vents, dryer vent, baseboard heaters, room fans and stove hood.
  7. Seal any air leaks that are in your home with caulking or weatherstripping to prevent energy waste and uncomfortable drafts inside the house.
  8. Make sure you have enough attic insulation, with an R-value of 38 or more to lock in more warmth during the winter (and to keep warmth out in the summer).
  9. Fix leaky pipes in your kitchen, bathrooms and utility room to avoid problems in the middle of winter.
  10. Have your fireplace flue and liners cleaned to prevent the buildup of creosote.
  11. Schedule a pre-season maintenance appointment for your heating system. Annual tune-ups play a major role in having an efficient and safe unit. Professional care also decreases the likelihood untimely breakdowns will occur and helps maximize the life expectancy of your system.

For more info on these fall home maintenance tasks, please feel free to contact us at ACS Absolute Comfort anytime.

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What Are Some of the Causes of Evaporator Coil Leaks in Your Houston Home?

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evaporator coil leaksUnder some conditions, the evaporator coil in your air conditioning system can develop a leak. When this happens, refrigerant will be lost and the performance of the equipment will decrease. Here are some of the causes of evaporator coil leaks and what you can do to prevent them.

Causes of Evaporator Coil Leaks

Evaporator coils are usually made of copper. They contain the refrigerant that circulates through your HVAC system, absorbing and releasing heat as needed. The coils are designed to be sturdy and difficult to damage, but sometimes outside factors can create problems and cause the coils to leak.

The most common cause of evaporator coil leaks is the presence of formic acid inside the coils. Formic acid causes corrosion to the coils that can eat away at the copper and open holes in the coils, creating leaks. The acid can be created during a chemical reaction that occurs between copper, water, and oxygen. These things are commonly found around evaporator coils, which means that the conditions that create leaks are often present.

Evaporator coil leaks can also be the result of damage to coils caused by reactions between the coils and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as cleaning solutions, aerosol sprays, air fresheners, and emissions from products created by or treated with chemicals. When VOCs contact the copper, they can create formic acid which damages the evaporator coils.

Preventing Evaporator Coil Leaks

Leaks caused by formic acid are more common in hot, humid southern climates. You can help prevent leaks if you:

  • Replace the coils: Copper coils can be replaced with nonreactive aluminum or plastic coils.
  • Clean the coils: Make sure the coils are cleaned during regular preventive maintenance visits.
  • Reduce the use of VOCs: Cut back on the use of materials that contain VOCs.
  • Increase ventilation: Increase the flow of fresh air around the coils to disperse VOCs.

ACS Absolute Comfort serves heating and cooling customers in Houston and the surrounding communities. Contact us today for more information on the causes of evaporator coil leaks and what you can do to prevent these types of leaks.

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How Does Rain Affect My Air Conditioning Unit?

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How Does Rain Affect My Air Conditioning Unit?Your A/C consists in part of a large, vented metal box that sits outdoors and is filled with all sorts of complex electrical equipment. That being the case, you may sometimes find yourself wondering, “Does rain affect my air conditioning unit?” It’s not an unreasonable question, considering the various other factors that can have an impact on your HVAC use. However, for all intents and purposes, the answer is no. Rain has no significant impact on how your air conditioner operates.

Outdoor Elements and Your A/C

Since the unit is designed to be outside, it has to be built to withstand the elements — light rain, heavy rain, and more — and still operate efficiently. In fact, you’ll do more harm to your system if you try to cover it with a waterproof tarp during inclement weather, as it it restricts air circulation, which keeps the components from drying.

“But,” you counter, “Does rain affect my air conditioning unit when it’s actually in use? It being electrical, wouldn’t the water cause problems?” Again, no. Not only is your A/C safe to use in the rain, it can actually be beneficial. Rain increases the humidity, which in the Houston area is often already dangerously high. Your A/C system, however, dehumidifies your home. And the drier air will not only make your house more comfortable, but also reduce the mold, mildew, bacteria, and other contaminants that are fostered in overly humid conditions.

The Exception to the Rule

There is one exception when it comes to rain and your A/C. If the area is completely flooded, then it will cause problems. Rain beating down on the unit is not a problem, but if it becomes submerged, it’s finished. If you know a flood is coming, turn off both the unit and the circuit breaker to prevent shocks, and cover the unit to keep out both water and debris. However, short of a flood, your outdoor A/C unit is built to be strong and resilient, and can be used whenever you have need of it, no matter the weather.

For more advice on operating your air conditioning unit in all types of weather, contact our experts at ACS Absolute Comfort today.

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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: What You Should Know

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Carbon Monoxide PoisoningOf all the indoor air quality (IAQ) issues that have an immediate impact on both short- and long-term health, carbon monoxide poisoning tops the list. At high levels, it’s fatal for all oxygen-breathing animals, including humans, and it can cause damaging effects at lower levels for sensitive populations. It comes from incomplete combustion of any kind of fuel, like charcoal, natural gas and vehicle exhaust.

Facts About Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

  • Carbon monoxide (CO) is such a danger because it’s slightly smaller than oxygen, and quickly replaces it in the blood. This gas has no taste, odor, or color and the only way to know it’s present is with CO detectors. The detectors need to be at eye-level or higher, since CO rises, since it weighs slightly less than air. Check the batteries monthly because they wear out faster than a smoke detector’s batteries. If your home only has one, place it within 15 feet of the master bedroom.
  • CO accumulates inside enclosed spaces. As CO builds, it won’t dissipate unless there’s a source of fresh air equal to the amount of CO being created. Whenever your home is tightly closed, even in the summer, CO can build to unhealthy levels.