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Central air conditioning (A.C.) is a luxury we all love. But like with anything we love it needs care and nurturing. Here are a few tips:

First on the list is to keep your HVAC filter clean. HVAC means “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning.” You probably refer to your filter as the “furnace filter”. But it needs to be washed, cleaned or replaced regardless of the season. Some filters require replacing and/or cleaning monthly, even three months, six months or annually. Check with the manufacturer.

Your AC doesn’t need your furnace but it needs the ductwork, blower and filter that are part of the furnace.

Usually, the ductwork above your furnace the is called a plenum, in which is an AC coil (usually referred to as an “A-coil.” When the thermostat calls for AC, the condenser outside converts a refrigerant from a liquid to a gas, which in turn, turns the coil cold.

When your furnace fan comes on, it pulls air from throughout the house through the ducts where it is cooled by crossing the coil. That’s maybe a little simplified, but it works.

The condenser outside needs minor maintenance as well. Keep shrubs and vegetation away from it for at least one foot. The condenser must be kept clean to allow air to flow evenly.

In Michigan, at certain times of the year, we get all kinds of stuff falling from the trees (read that as cottonwoods). If not removed they will clog the condenser and damage it. It is easy to clean. Turn off the power to the A.C. and using a garden hose wash downward on the fins until clean.

One final thing: don’t wrap and cover your AC unit in the fall to keep it clean. It doesn’t need it. The unit is designed to be outside in the elements. If you wrap it, we’ve seen small animals such as mice and chipmunks find that enclosure to be a nice home in the winter. When those rodents get hungry enough, they look at the red and black wires like licorice and chew on them.

If you feel a need to protect the condenser, just put a piece of plywood on top of it with a brick to keep the board from blowing off.

And speaking of off, I’m outta here!


Hiring a contractor? Do your homework, before he does your home work!

Bids:

You should be prepared. Make a list of what you want done. Each contractor should be bidding on the same list. Always get three bids. All bids should be free. All bids should be in writing.

References:

Check out references. I had some driveway work done on my house. The contractor never followed through with my complaint six months later. He has my name on his list of references. When someone calls, I tell them “No, I’m not satisfied and do not recommend him:” Be sure to ask: how was the workmanship? Cleanliness? Were they satisfied? If possible, see the jobs. Check Yelp, Google and any other social means.

Contract:

As for the contract itself, the contract should include job specifications i.e.:

  • Detailed description of work to be done.

  • Materials to be used.

  • Cost of the job upon completion.

  • Payment schedule.

  • Permits needed and who is responsible for them.

  • Change order clause (any changes must be in writing).

  • Statement of insurance.

  • License number of the contractor.

  • Guaranty or warranty.

  • Method of debris removal and who will be responsible.

  • Start and completion dates.

Any contract signed at your house can be canceled within three days. Also get a release of liens at the time of paying the final payment. If you pay your contractor and he fails to pay any of or all of his “subs”, they in turn can sue you and put a lien on your house, forcing you to pay twice. Get the release of liens.

Finally, trust your instincts!! Your instinct has probably never failed you.


Protection From Lightening

In large metropolitan communities, a complete lightening protection system (L.P.S.) usually is not needed.

These lightening protection systems incorporate a tall metal object at the peak of your roof. It is attached to numerous, heavy-duty metal cables that terminate into the earth. They are usually found in rural areas where houses or barns are the tallest buildings. The L.P.S. must be installed by a licensed and certified professional.

I use a whole house surge protector to protect my house. It is usually installed at your meter or circuit breaker panel and must also be installed by a licensed electrician. Having one installed at my house gives me a degree of confidence that in the event of an electrical strike, it won’t fry my computers, televisions, refrigerator or other electrical devices in my house.

That being said, you can and should use portable surge protectors, which are available at home, hardware, electronics stores and on the internet. All portable surge protectors are not the same or the same quality, so check out their reviews online.

In the meantime, if an electrical storm is in the area, unplug and disconnect televisions, computers and any expensive electronic devices (that might even include your newer expensive refrigerator).

Electrical storms cause surges and brown-outs that cost Americans millions of dollars annually. Remember this: if you hear thunder, lightening that is even up to ten miles away, can cause damage and still be dangerous.

Finally, It’s a good idea to check with your insurance company to see if you have coverage for a lightening fire or equipment damage.

Technihouse Inspections

4940 Rands Rd.

Bloomfield Hills, MI. 48302

Providing Home Inspections and Commercial Inspections in the Greater Detroit Area of Oakland, Wayne and Macomb Counties

©2019 by Technihouse Inspections.

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