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Regular maintenance and cleaning of your home’s heating and cooling system will help improve the energy efficiency of your system, reduce the need for emergency service calls, and prolong its useful life. It is important to remember to make cleaning your air conditioner’s evaporator coils a part of your regular maintenance routine. It is not difficult to clean your system’s evaporator coils and it requires very little in the way of tools. You will see that learning how to clean evaporator coils is easy when you follow these steps:

  • Turn power off to your system. Switch the circuit breaker to your HVAC system to the off position in your home’s circuit box to prevent electric shock or damage to the unit.
  • Locate the evaporator. The evaporator is located in your air conditioner’s main duct that sits above your furnace.
  • Remove the foil-wrapped tape. This tape holds insulation in place between the air conditioner component and your furnace. Take care not to damage the insulation because you will need to replace it when you are finished.
  • Remove the screws from the unit’s access plate. You will now be able to access the evaporator.
  • Carefully slide the evaporator toward you if possible. Be careful not to damage the delicate pipework.
  • Removing dust. If there is minimal dust, you can blow it off with compressed air, vacuum it away or gently brush it off with a stiff brush. You may find a mirror helpful in seeing beneath the coils to make sure you have cleared all the dust away.
  • Extremely dirty coils. If the dust has adhered to the coils or mold is present, you may use a foaming cleanser that is recommend by the manufacturer of your system.
  • Check the tray for clogs. Pour approximately one tablespoon of bleach in the drain hold to prevent mold growth.
  • Close unit back up. Reinstall screws and re-tape the insulation back into place.

For more advice on how to clean evaporator coils or any other maintenance pertaining to your home’s air conditioner in the Richmond metro area, contact the professionals at Gilman Heating and Cooling. We're happy to help.

According to the a recent study by a government commission, over 150 people die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning. Because this silent killer cannot be detected by sight, taste or smell, having carbon monoxide detectors in your home is essential for detecting a carbon monoxide leak. Once you've chosen the best detector for your home, you should also know what to do should the alarm ever go off. After moving to a safe place with fresh air, contact your fire department and make sure they check for the following carbon monoxide leak trouble spots:

  • Check flue pipes and gas- or oil-venting systems for leaks caused by cracks, holes, corrosion or blocked air filters.
  • Check to see if the furnace, burner or ignition system flame is looking flat and yellow, which can indicate a carbon monoxide leak.
  • Inspect all chimneys or venting systems for blockages caused by debris, holes, cracks or animal nests, which can cause the dangerous gas to be forced into your home and not out. Be sure to remove any buildup of soot, and make sure the chimney is not bent.
  • Inspect the venting and fan systems on household appliances such as water and space heaters, dryers and wood burning stoves.
  • Since stove pilot lights don't vent to the outside of the home, check to make sure they are operating properly.
  • Inspect fireplace pilot lights as well for proper ventilation.

You can avoid setting off your carbon monoxide alarms by never cooking with the oven door open and never using a charcoal or gas grill inside your home. Both can release excess gases into your home. It is also very important to remember to never leave a car running inside a garage with the door open or closed. Both are very dangerous. For more expert advice about carbon monoxide leaks and other issues related to home comfort, please contact us at Gilman Heating and Cooling. We are proud to serve the Richmond, Ashland, Henrico, Chesterfield, Hanover and Glen Allen areas.

Energy efficiency is a year-round priority for homeowners. That being said, tips for saving energy at home can be particularly poignant in peak seasons when utility bills are notoriously high. Some of these tips require no investment on your part. Others may require an initial investment that will be recouped over a period of years. The more you can do to reduce energy consumption in your home, the better it is for your finances and the environment 5 tips for saving energy at home

  1. Energy Audit. If you can afford it, invest in a professional home energy audit so you have a list of exactly what needs to be done to maximize efficiency. Otherwise, you can use this guide to perform a DIY energy audit.
  2. Upgrade your HVAC. If your HVAC system is 10-years old or more, an energy efficient upgrade will pay for itself in a matter of years in terms of energy efficiency and maintenance/repair costs.
  3. Change the thermostat. An adjustment of a single degree on your thermostat can add up to significant savings. For optimal energy savings, thermostats should be set no lower than 78 degrees during the summer and no higher than 68 degrees in the winter. Installing and using a programmable thermostat can add additional savings.
  4. Seal leaks. Any leaks in your exterior walls, the roof and flooring will allow the hot air to escape in the cold months, and the warm air to come in during the hotter months. Make sure to caulk/seal any cracks, gaps, holes, etc. Common places to inspect include:
    • Door/window frames
    • Penetrations caused by plumbing fixtures, electrical wiring and ductwork
    • Look for dirty spots on insulation, walls, ceilings or flooring, which can indicate an air or water leak.
  5. Upgrade insulation. If you live in a new home, this may not be an issue. Otherwise, there's a good chance your home lacks adequate insulation. The best place to start is in the attic and crawl spaces. Make sure your insulation's R-value is adequate for our climate.

Interested in more tips for saving energy at home? Contact Gilman Heating & Cooling. We provide superior customer service to our Richmond area clientele.

5 Energy Saving Ideas

In a budget-conscious world, everyone is looking for ways to reduce home energy usage, and one of the biggest consumers of energy in any home is the heating and cooling system. Here are five great ways to reduce the amount of energy your home air conditioning and heating units use, thus reducing your utility bills and helping the environment.

Ceiling Fans

Many homeowners make the mistake of thinking of air conditioners as replacements for ceiling fans, but in reality, the two systems complement each other. Hot air tends to rise to the top of the room, where an ordinary split-level air conditioner has difficulty reaching and cooling it. A good ceiling fan, however, takes that hot air and blows it downward until it's within the air conditioner's reach, allowing the latter to run more efficiently. Many ceiling fans even have reverse settings to perform the same function during the heating season. To make the most of this efficiency boost, look for an Energy Star rated ceiling fan.

Thermostat Setting

During the cooling season, the rule of thumb is to set your thermostat as high as possible while still remaining comfortable. For most people, that setting is somewhere between 76 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit. Every degree of adjustment changes energy consumption by about 7 percent, so it is in your interest to set the thermostat as high as possible. Even a change of one degree can make a difference.

Thermostat Adjustments

There's no need for your thermostat to be set at the same level at all times. If your home is empty during the day, consider turning it up before you leave in the morning and turning it back down when you get home. Likewise, you can tolerate higher temperatures at night than during the day. A programmable thermostat takes all of the work out of these daily adjustments. One thing to not do with your thermostat is to deliberately set it lower than the target temperature to cool your home down faster. This will cause your air conditioner to overshoot the target temperature, wasting power.

Zoned Control

If your home has unused rooms or particular spaces that always seem to be too cold or too hot, you may be wasting energy by air conditioning the whole house. Some programmable thermostats allow you to break the home down into different cooling zones and manually adjust the temperature in each zone. You can save energy by shutting off the AC in an unused room or turn it up a few notches in a space that's always too hot.

AC Maintenance

Nothing has a bigger impact on an air conditioner's efficiency than its state of repair. A well-maintained air conditioner is an efficient air conditioner; a poorly maintained system has to work needlessly hard. Consider investing in our Precision Tune-Up Comfort Plan to make sure your air conditioner and heater are always running at peak efficiency.