Covering the Air Conditioner

AC-Covers

With fall on its way in a few weeks, it’s time to start preparing to turn off the air conditioner for the year. After turning it off, many homeowners wonder if they should cover it when the weather turns cold. The air conditioner is built to withstand many elements of the weather, but there are some instances when covering it is a good idea.

During fall, the air conditioner should be covered to protect it from leaves, seeds, and nuts. These are things that can get inside the AC unit, allowing moisture to collect and sit. This can cause corrosion and rust.

Other than this, a cover isn’t needed for much else. Here is what the air conditioner doesn’t need to be protected from:

  • Dirt

While operating during the summer, the air conditioner can suck in quite a bit of dirt. This is expected and is removed with the filters. However, once the unit is turned off, dirt is no longer and issue.

  • Snow and Ice

Outside units are built to withstand just about anything winter can throw at it. The snow and ice shouldn’t cause any issues.

  • Rodents

Animals might burrow into the outside unit to escape the cold weather especially when there is a cover on the unit. It’s best to keep the cover off when worried about rodents.

When choosing a cover for the outside air conditioning unit, avoid getting one that covers it completely. The cover should allow some breathing room on the sides. If the unit is completely covered, moisture can get trapped inside, creating a humid environment perfect for rust, corrosion, and mold.

Not sure whether to cover the AC unit or not, or what type of cover to get? The folks at Diamond Heating and Cooling can assist homeowners in finding the right type of cover for their system and discussing when it is best to use it.

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A World Without Air Conditioning

AirConditioning

Air conditioning has had a huge influence on many activities in the United States since its invention. There are many events and event cities that wouldn’t exist without the introduction of air conditioning. Here are some examples:

  1. Summer Blockbusters

Willis Carrier convinced Paramount Pictures Corporation to install air conditioning in New York City’s Rivoli Theater. As a result, people soon began heading to the movies to escape the heat during summer. Film makers quickly caught on, and began scheduling their biggest movies to come out during summer.

  1. Medical Advances

Air-conditioned hospitals helped defeat malaria, decrease infant mortality, inhibit bacteria, and advance developments in surgery. The introduction of air conditioning has therefore helped the American population to live longer and more comfortably.

  1. Industrial and Technological Progress

Having the ability to maintain a cool and safe temperature has helped with the development of computers, data centers, and more. These temperature-sensitive systems needed a way to stay cool to function properly, which air conditioning has provided.

  1. Country Growth

Many areas in the United States were unbearable to live year-round before air conditioning was introduced. The South has made huge economic jumps since AC became available. Populations exploded in cities like Las Vegas and the states of Arizona, Florida, and Texas have shown tremendous growth since the air conditioner was invented.

  1. The Demise of Summer Vacation

Before air conditioning made offices comfortable, many American workers took month-long August vacations. Even the government shut down sometimes due to the heat. Now, everyone can work in a comfortable environment throughout the year and vacations can be planned on different schedules.

Without air conditioning, the United States would be a much different place. Thankfully, most homes have central air or single-room air conditioning to keep residents cool during the warm summer months.

Talk to Diamond Heating and Cooling about updating the air conditioner, or any problems it may be having this summer. The phones lines are open 24/7 for emergencies, and we will come out to fix the issue as soon as possible with no after hour fees.

Landscaping for the Outdoor AC Unit

For the inside part of the air conditioner to work properly, the outside unit needs to be in good shape. The area around the outside unit can have a huge impact on how well it works. Here are some landscaping tips to help it run better:

  • Make Room

The outside unit needs at least two feet of space on each side. When planting bushes or other foliage, keep that in mind. If they grow too close, keep them trimmed back. This allows for optimal breathing room and enough space for technicians to easily work on the AC unit.

  • Cover the Ground

A layer of gravel in landscaped areas near the unit can help prevent debris from getting into the unit when there’s wind and rain. It keeps the dirt and sand from flying around.

  • Shade

Make life a little easier for the outside AC unit by proving some shade for it. This keeps the condenser cooler, which means it doesn’t have to work as hard. Add some surrounding plants that are tall enough to provide some shade coverage.

  • Shedding

Many plants shed their leaves, needles, berries, or nuts, which can pose a problem for the outside unit. Choose the plants in that area carefully, and clean up after them on a regular basis.

  • Storm Protection

When deciding where to place the outside air conditioning unit, look at where most of the wind comes from and if it can be shielded. If the house is no help being a windbreak, a short fence might be ideal to protect it from debris. That way there’s less of a chance of harmful dirt and debris getting lodged inside.

If the outside AC unit is experiencing an issue, give Diamond Heating and Cooling a call. 24/7 service with no afterhours fees means fast and friendly service for Boise and throughout the Treasure Valley.

Don’t Close Air Vents

In an effort to save more money by using less energy, many people close their air vents in rooms that get little or no use. However, instead of saving money, it could cause some serious issues. Read on to learn why closing vents does not have the desired effect on air distribution.

The blower in the HVAC system pulls air from the house through the return ducts, cools it, and pushes it back out through the supply ducts. The blower in high-efficiency HVAC systems is powered by an electronically commutated motor, also referred to as an ECM. This type of motor can adjust its speed. Those that are not high-efficiency are permanent split capacitor or PSC powered, which cannot adjust speeds.

Both systems are designed so that the blower pushes against some maximum pressure difference. If the filter is dirty or the supply ducts are restricted, the blower has to push against a higher pressure.

In the ECM system, this will make the motor increase in intensity to maintain proper air flow. As it works against the higher pressure, all efficiency is lost. A PSC motor will keep spinning, but its speed will decrease as the pressure increases.

When air ducts are closed in some rooms, the system becomes more restrictive. A higher pressure in the system will either ramp up the ECM blower, or move less air with a PSC blower, while also creating duct leakage.

This can also have an impact on the coil or heat exchanger. Lower airflow means a lower rate of heat exchange will occur. This will cause less heat to flow over the coil, making it colder, and possibly freezing. The refrigerant may not properly evaporate either, meaning it would come back into the compressor,  possibly ruining it.

In summary, here are 5 problems that can come from closing air vents:

  • Duct Leakage
  • Lower Air Flow/Increased Energy Use
  • Comfort Issues
  • Frozen Coil
  • Dead Compressor

Don’t close vents to save money. Instead, use an adjustable thermostat and be mindful of the energy being used.

How Cottonwood Damages AC Units

treeThe cottonwood trees are starting to release their fluffy cotton-like seeds, which can wreak havoc on not only allergy sufferers, but air conditioning units as well. As they begin to float and drift everywhere, they can become lodged in the outdoor AC unit, often creating a problem.

When too many of these fluffy seeds get sucked into the air conditioner, it can become clogged and begin to malfunction. The airflow needed to sufficiently cool the house is drastically reduced, making the system work harder. This uses more energy and wears down the air conditioner, damaging the equipment inside.

Eventually the system can even shut down from overheating, leaving homeowners with no AC, and the air conditioning unit likely damaged and in need of repairs. The condenser is usually the piece of equipment that gets damaged in this case, and might need to be replaced.

To prevent this, the outdoor AC unit will need to be professionally cleaned if there are cottonwood trees nearby. Even if there is minimal cottonwood fuzz that can be seen on the outside, it could have been sucked inside, already beginning to clog and damage the system.

If homeowners notice cottonwood flying around the yard and getting stuck on the AC unit, call Diamond Heating and Cooling as soon as possible. They can assess the situation and get the seeds cleaned out so no more damage is done. Also remember to clear away grass clippings and other debris from the outdoor air conditioning unit. Bushes and other foliage need to be at least three feet away to give the air conditioner sufficient room to work properly.

If the AC unit has already sustained damage from cottonwood seeds or other debris, Diamond Heating and Cooling will get the parts repaired or replaced to get everything back in working order so everyone stays cool in the summer heat.

5 Reasons the AC Isn’t Producing Air

It’s been hot in Boise and throughout the Treasure Valley and everyone is turning to air conditioning for relief. For some, the AC might not be working properly, making it hard to stay cool. If the air conditioner isn’t moving much air, there are a few issues that could causing the problem:

  1. Dirty Air Filter

With the temperature staying steadily in the upper 90’s and low 100’s, the air conditioner is having to work even harder than usual. This can mean an excess of debris being caught in the air filter. Check the filter more often in extreme temperatures and change it out as needed.

  1. Dirty Evaporator Coil

If dirt and debris has found its way inside the air conditioning system, it can prevent the coil from removing the warm air from the house. No matter how much the air conditioner runs, the house won’t get cool. During annual AC maintenance checks Diamond Heating and Cooling checks for this issue to prevent blocked air flow later.

  1. Frozen Evaporator Coil

If the coil gets too cold, the condensation will freeze it, rendering it useless. Low airflow from a dirty filter or a refrigerant leak can cause the coil to freeze.

  1. Air Ducts

Air ducts carry the air throughout the house. If there’s an issue with them such as a leak, loose or disconnected ductwork, or kinks if it is flex ductwork, the air might not be flowing through them properly.

  1. Blower Issues

The blower forcefully moves the air into the ducts to be dispersed. If it isn’t working properly, it won’t be able to move the air into the home. The blower can be dirty, have a loose or worn fan belt, or be faulty.

If the air conditioner isn’t blowing cold air or any air, call Diamond Heating and Cooling right away. The team will get the system back up and running as soon as possible to make sure everyone stays cool this summer.

Preventing Air Conditioner Fires

If an air conditioner is not regularly maintained and used properly, it can become a serious fire hazard. To avoid having the air conditioner start a fire, learn about the most common causes of air conditioning fires:

  1. Failure to Clean

The elements in an air conditioning unit need to be clean to work properly. If dust, dirt, and other debris accumulates in the vents, on coils, and on filters, it can obstruct the air flow. Diminished air flow can cause the unit to overheat and catch fire. Cleanliness is something Diamond Heating and Cooling looks at during their annual AC service.

  1. Faulty Parts

If the air conditioner is not clean, then it may not have been inspected in quite some time. This allows faulty parts and equipment to go unnoticed. Faulty parts can cause air conditioning fires when left until they stop working. Having Diamond Heating and Cooling come out once a year to check the air conditioner before the temperatures heat up can prevent this problem.

  1. Flammable Materials

Keeping items that are flammable near the air conditioner can put it at risk of catching fire. Keep leaves from accumulating near the air conditioner. Avoid storing gasoline and papers near the air conditioning unit too. A clear space of 3 feet around the unit is recommended.

The best way to prevent an air conditioner fire is to have Diamond Heating and Cooling inspect and service the air conditioning unit annually. We will check for faulty parts, make sure the unit is clean, in good repair and we can repair any issues that may be present.

To save on HVAC maintenance year-round, ask about becoming a Silver Club Member. For $13.50/month, Diamond Heating and Cooling comes out twice a year to perform maintenance. Silver Club Members also enjoy perks like 20% off repairs, guaranteed appointments with 24 hours, and much more.