Show Notes: Decks, Dishwashers and AC
Wow, summer is officially here! It’s time for barbecues, lounging on the deck and air conditioning. And while we are on the subject of decks, is yours up to snuff? When’s that last time you treated your AC to a good cleaning and lube job? If you can’t remember, it’s time to learn all about it to keep your family cool.
What To Clean In Your Dishwasher
Things you can wash in your dishwasher:
Small Window Screens
Air Vent Grates
Globes from Light Fixtures
Gardening Hand Tools
Car Hub Caps
Bathroom Sink Traps
Dust Pan and Dust Broom – top shelf
Flip Flops – top shelf
Plastic Toys – top shelf
What’s Under Your Deck?
Look for these warning signs that your deck may not be safe:
Ledger: Is the ledger attached over siding, stucco, brick or veneer. Has the proper hardware been used to attach the ledger? Does it look like it had moved or is loose?
Hardware: Is there red rust from corroded metal hardware such as fasteners, connectors or metal posts?
Framing: Is any of the wood untreated, decayed or rotted or are there loose or missing connectors such as joist hangers, guard post to joist connectors or tension ties?
Footers: Are the footers at the proper depth and width, using footer to post fasteners?
Prevent Heat Damage To Your Home
Just like cold and wet weather, heat and humidity can damage the systems of a house. With some relatively inexpensive measures, however, you can take the “bite” out of the Dog Days of summer.
Excess heat moving through the roof from the attic below can drastically shorten the life of a shingled roof. The remedy is adequate venting. If it’s not yet time for a new roof, when roof vents are commonly added, you can extend the life of your existing roof by installing a power vent to your attic, or even a thermostatically-controlled window fan to move hot air out.
Over time, roll roofing on flat roofs over garages and porches is damaged by the sun. For some roofing materials you can use roof coating once to renew the oils and seal hairline cracks. You might also consider aluminized roof coating that reflects the heat of the sun, especially on roofs over living areas.
Wood, both untreated and treated, is also susceptible to sun damage. All finishes on decks, fences, and varnished porch floors should be U-V resistant.
The sun will inevitably take a toll on all exterior paint. However, paint can fail early on certain areas of the house – usually outside kitchens, bathrooms, or other rooms where excess humidity causes water vapor to pass through the exterior wall. You can help air circulate by inserting miniature vents at the top and bottom of each stud cavity outside problem areas.
Cool surfaces that come in contact with humid air are susceptible to condensation during the summer. A dehumidifier can control excess humidity in your basement. Cover cold water pipes with insulation jackets and, if your toilet sweats excessively, insert a Styrofoam liner into the tank.
Don’t Get Caught Hot!
Air Conditioner Maintenance Checklist
Keep your cooling and heating system at peak performance by having a contractor do annual pre-season check-ups.
A typical maintenance check-up should include the following:
- Check thermostat settings to ensure the cooling and heating system keeps you comfortable when you are home and saves energy while you are away.
- Tighten all electrical connections and measure voltage and current on motors. Faulty electrical connections can cause unsafe operation of your system and reduce the life of major components.
- Lubricate all moving parts. Parts that lack lubrication cause friction in motors and increases the amount of electricity you use.
- Check and inspect the condensate drain in your central air conditioner, furnace and/or heat pump (when in cooling mode). A plugged drain can cause water damage in the house and affect indoor humidity levels.
- Check controls of the system to ensure proper and safe operation. Check the starting cycle of the equipment to assure the system starts, operates, and shuts off properly.
- Clean evaporator and condenser air conditioning coils. Dirty coils reduce the system’s ability to cool your home and cause the system to run longer, increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.
- Check your central air conditioner’s refrigerant level and adjust if necessary. Too much or too little refrigerant will make your system less efficient increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.
- Clean and adjust blower components to provide proper system airflow for greater comfort levels. Airflow problems can reduce your system’s efficiency by up to 15 percent.
- Check all gas (or oil) connections, gas pressure, burner combustion and heat exchanger. Improperly operating gas (or oil) connections are a fire hazard and can contribute to health problems. A dirty burner or cracked heat exchanger causes improper burner operation. Either can cause the equipment to operate less safely and efficiently.
Actions To Do Yourself
Inspect, clean, or change air filters once a month in your central air conditioner, furnace, and/or heat pump. Your contractor can show you how to do this. A dirty filter can increase energy costs and damage your equipment, leading to early failure.
Stuck Sliding Windows
A little silicone spray lubricant (sold at hardware stores) will grease the skids. First clean the window tracks. Spray the lubricant onto a rag, then wipe along the tracks, whether they’re metal, wood, or plastic.
National Roofing Contractors Associations: www.ncra.net
PBCB – Builders Show: www.pcbc.com