Your home’s air conditioning system is a valuable capital investment and an investment in your family’s comfort. Maintain your home air conditioning investment and save money in the long run through routine air conditioning maintenance. Paul from Dynamic Heating and Cooling in Melbourne (dynamicservices.com.au) outlines what benefits you can expect from your preventative maintenance effort and 4 tips for maintaining your air conditioning system.

You can expect at least three benefits of routine heating and air conditioning system maintenance:

Lower energy bills
Reduced likelihood of breakdowns
Increased life of your air conditioning system
So what preventative steps or DIY air conditioning maintenance activities can you do to help maintain your heating and cooling unit?

1. Replace it – if your air conditioning unit requires replaceable filters, buy 12 filters each January so you have a stock on hand to change it out monthly. If you run out of replaceable air conditioning filters at the very least clean/vacuum the one you’ve got and get 12 new filters in stock as soon as possible. If your air conditioning unit has a reusable filter, follow the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations exactly and timely. Replace it when necessary.

2. Clean it – if you fail to change or clean your air conditioner’s filter you are putting too much strain on your unit. Plus, you are recycling the dust and dirt that is on that old or unclean air conditioning filter and contaminating the air you and your family breathes. Another potential problem, especially in damp climates, is the risk of mould growth on dirty old air conditioning filters. This can lead to a whole host of unpleasant problems. Don’t create a problem where the preventative measure is so easy and cheap. Keep your filter clean.

3. Inside and out – now that you have a clean filter, check the outside unit of your air conditioner to clear away any leaves, dirt or debris that may surround it impeding air flow. Air must be able to circulate freely around the outside air conditioning unit.

4.Service it – Finally, engage a reputable air conditioning and heating specialist to maintain the integrity of your home’s air conditioning with twice yearly visits: once at the beginning of the winter, and then again before the summer cooling season. Your technician will check your unit for optimum function and will clean, tune and lubricate any parts to return them to peak performance.

Following these tips and maintaining your home’s air conditioning and heating system will help you realise lower energy bills, avoid costly breakdowns, and enjoy years of trouble-free comfort.

When you have a big air conditioning problem – like an air conditioner that quits during the hottest day of summer – it goes without saying that you’ll call for service. Smaller air conditioning problems are easier to ignore, but this is the last thing you should do. By calling for service as soon as you notice the symptoms of an ailing cooling system you can prevent the expense and inconvenience of a big repair job. You’ll also avoid the higher utility bills that typically accompany a poorly functioning air conditioning system. You should have your air conditioner checked when you notice any of the following symptoms:

Decreased air flow from the registers;
Strange noises coming from the air conditioner;
Moldy odors coming from the ductwork when the air conditioner is running;
The air conditioner cycles on and off more frequently than it used to;
The breaker for the air conditioner in the electrical panel keeps tripping (or the fuse keeps blowing);
Ice appears on your air conditioner or piping, either inside or outside the house;
Your outdoor fan in the air conditioner won’t come on.

If you notice any of the above symptoms, call us today to have your air conditioning checked and serviced to avoid larger problems down the road.

A faulty gas heater can cause serious problems. Health problems that seem to be worse, or only occur when the heating is on, may be caused by carbon monoxide from a faulty gas heater. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:
Tiredness
Shortness of breath
Headaches
Dizziness
Nausea
Weakness
Confusion
Chest pain.
High levels of carbon monoxide are very dangerous and may cause people to pass out or even die. If you suspect you may be affected by carbon monoxide, open windows and doors, turn off the appliance and go outside to fresh air. See your doctor and ask whether your symptoms may be related to carbon monoxide.

Nest introduced its smart thermostat in October of last year only to find that there was greater initial demand for its product than originally thought. This good-looking device is super smart.

Nest introduced its smart thermostat in October of last year only to find that there was greater initial demand for its product than originally thought. It has taken months for supply to catch up. The well designed, $249 USD device evokes images of an Apple product — not surprising since it was designed by the former chief architect at Apple — and promises to learn your heating and cooling habits. That should save money on utility bills and also alleviate the need for constant knob turning to adjust your home’s temperature.

Essentially, the Nest thermostat should look good when you see it and manage your environment automatically in the background. If that’s the case, the Nest should simply be forgotten once it learns your comfort zones. Does it achieve that goal? Yes, it does.

Nest Installation is a snap

The wiring system is all colour coded, so if your HVAC system is relatively modern — say from the last 20 years or so — I’m willing to bet that the Nest install will be relatively painless. All it all, it took about 15 minutes to screw the base plate to the wall, connect the wires and attach the Nest. The device has Wi-Fi built-in, which you connect to your home network at the time of installation. You can use the Nest with secured wireless networks.

Included with the Nest is a small screwdriver to assist with the installation. The base even has a built-in bubble level to ensure your Nest won’t be askew. And there are optional mounting plates, which you can paint, to cover up any holes from the prior thermostat. I used the largest one in my installation.

A thermostat can actually be sexy and fun to use

Most people don’t think “bling” when describing a thermostat, but the Nest is beautiful to see. It’s a round metal knob with a circular display on the front. That’s it. To navigate the Nest’s interface, you simply turn the wheel through menu options and push the Nest in to choose an option: Simple, effective and intuitive. You can manually adjust your temperature by turning the wheel. And the screen won’t waste energy by constantly displaying information.

Instead, the screen times out in a few minutes and automatically wakes up when it senses you nearby. Yes: there’s a motion detector in the Nest and it’s not just for the screen. When Nest senses you’re not at home, it can adjust the thermostat up or down to automatically save energy. When Nest “sees” you get home, it disables the Away mode. Other useful items on the display include a blue or red background when cooling or heating, respectively, the current temperature and a green leaf when you’re saving energy.

How smart is the Nest?

Unlike traditional programmable thermostats where you have to key in various temps, times and days, you simply set Nest manually throughout the day and evening for a few days. In about a week or less, the Nest learns your climate habits and tells you that you no longer need to adjust the thermostat. From then on, Nest handles it all.

You can manually modify your temperature at any time, of course, and Nest will keep learning from that interaction. But I found that I really didn’t have to adjust the thermostat much at all over time. Even better, the Nest app for iOS and Android make it easy to remotely adjust the temp without even walking over to the Nest. Or you can log in at Nest.com via a web browser to make the adjustment.

And that’s where the Nest really shines compared to my old smart thermostat. Because your thermostat is tied to a Nest account — via an email address — there’s no complex setup to get remote access to the Nest. In contrast, for me to remotely access my old device, I had to play with router tables, network configuration and punch a hole in my network firewall; all things that take away from the simplicity.

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