This time of year I am often asked why the air in a home sometimes feels heavy or muggy, even when the temperature in the home is at the desired temperature set-point.
In the Hill Country part of Texas (New Braunfels, Seguin, San Marcos, Selma), removing humidity is a major and necessary part of the Air Conditioning Cycle. To remove the humidity, the air has to contact the cold (40 degree+-) evaporator coil long enough for the water to “fall out of the air” and accumulate on the coil fins. This moisture is then supposed to run down the drain.
This process is fairly easy to picture when you place an ice and water filled glass on the table and watch the water drops form on the outside. The longer the glass is allowed to stand, the more water forms and runs onto the table. This is the same moisture we are removing from the air in your home.
The problem is that when it is 85 degrees outside, and 70 degrees inside, with high humidity, the air conditioning system is effectively over sized. The system does not run long enough to remove the moisture in the air. Systems are sized for hot summer weather not mild springtime weather.
In the high humidity climate we live in, this creates a real problem. It is uncomfortable, and this damp air can sometimes aid in the formation of damaging mold and mildew. The single stage systems most people have on their homes are limited in what they are able to do to combat this issue. There are good quality, high efficiency systems today that have variable capacity built in to combat this exact issue.
If you want more information on these systems, how they work and what they cost, call me. I am happy to discuss them over the phone with you.
Are you hearing strange noises from a bathroom sink or from the washing machine drain in the laundry room?
The noise probably is the water in the p-trap of your condensate drain.
During the winter, the drain dries out and you are hearing the final dregs of water moving with the trash in the drain. Since the p-trap prevents sewer gas from getting into the air stream of your air handler, it needs to have fluid added back into it. Either vinegar or bleach will work to kill the stuff growing in the drain. Both work well, but in a pinch, you can add water into the drain to stop the noise.
During the spring, summer, and fall when the air conditioner is working and removing moisture from the air, it is a great idea to add bleach or vinegar monthly to the vent in the p trap to kill the stuff growing there.
Please note: if there is a vent or area to add bleach or vinegar between the p trap and the air handler, it must have a removable cap added so the air handler will drain properly.
Final note: If you have a tub or shower in the home not being used, often this time of year when it the air in the home is so dry, the p-trap for the sink, tub, or shower will dry out and a horrible stink smell will occur in the bathroom, just run some water in the drain to refill the trap and get rid of the smell.
In 1991, I was living near Ruston, Louisiana and my home burned down. We lived in a rural area about 8 miles out of the city limits and depended on a volunteer fire department. Though they responded rapidly, by the time they got there the home was completely engulfed in flames. We lost everything we accumulated over 10 years of marriage. A month later my 1st son was born. My pregnant wife and I were alerted by working smoke alarms and we got out before we were hurt. I am a firm believer of smoke alarms and what they can do to save lives.
Many things have changed since 1991. Then a smoke alarm was placed in hallways near bedrooms and on each floor. As you can see from the list below, the standards have greatly changed over the years.
Installing smoke alarms:
The NFPA, as well as Consumers Reports, recommends that smoke alarms be tested each month, batteries changed yearly, and smoke alarms be changed at least every 10 years.
After living through that fire 26 years ago, I recommend:
Final note: Make a plan of action before it is needed. Practice it with your family. Figure out what you will do if there is ever a fire in your home before it happens. If you hear the alarm go off scream and yell to everyone to get out of the home and GET OUT OF THE HOME! After you are out call 911.
If you have any questions about your alarms, how to maintain them, where to install them, or how to test them, call us at Clear Springs Air Conditioning and Electric. We are here for you.
Jonathan Smith has been in the Air Conditioning and Heating industry for well over 30 years and has spent more than 27 years in the Electrical industry.