January 13, 2016 Newsletter

Covering the AC Unit

When winterizing the backyard, homeowners often consider whether or not to cover their air conditioning unit to protect it from the elements. While most people think it’s a no-brainer maintenance step, covering the AC unit actually has both pros and cons.

Pros:

Covering can not only protect it from the weather, but it helps to keep out sticks, leaves and other debris that could get stuck and cause issues. The top portion of the unit might have to be replaced if it sustains damage from snow, ice and rain.

Cons:

When covered, the unit can become a habitat for small animals such as mice. It’s the perfect spot to hide out for the winter. While inside, they might chew through wiring and cause major damage.

Also, if completely covered in a non-breathable fabric, condensation can build up. This will cause the unit to rust and possibly even mold.

Often the deciding factor on whether to cover the AC unit or not is climate. In places, such as Boise and the Treasure Valley, where snow and ice accumulate, it can be a good idea to invest in a cover. Some homeowners put a piece of plywood over the top to protect it from ice, snow, and debris. Leaving the sides uncovered helps prevent condensation.

If the weather has damaged the AC unit, give Diamond Heating and Cooling a call. They can help repair the damage and make sure it’s in working order for when warm weather hits.

Keeping Drafts Out

During the winter, drafts are especially noticeable in homes. In addition to bringing a chill wafting through, they make the furnace work harder, causing heating bills to increase. When most homeowners try to get rid of drafts, they focus on windows and doors. However, there are plenty of other fixtures that can cause air leaks.

Other common sources of air leaks:

  • Attic hatch
  • Wiring holes
  • Plumbing vents
  • Furnace flues/ducts
  • Basement rim joists

When trying to get rid of drafts, look for gaps or cracks at the sources listed above. Also look at the outer walls of the home. Take note of where cracks or joints are located and seal them up.

There are a few different materials needed for this job, depending on where the air is getting inside. For window frames, caulk and spray foam work well. For items that move, like doors, weather-stripping is the way to go.

When starting a project like this, it is recommended that homeowners start in the attic. By sealing up the larger spaces in the attic, they will see the most significant energy savings. Focus on using insulation in the attic to stop any drafts.

Next, they should work on basements or crawlspaces. There are a lot of things that could be causing drafts in the basement or crawlspace. Look at openings in the walls, ceiling or floor near the foundation. Also examine the openings created for gas, water and electrical lines.

Finally, check and seal leaks coming from doors, windows and walls. These are frequently the most noticeable drafts, but often they have the least impact on energy use. However, fixing these drafts can make the most used areas of the house much more comfortable.

Garage Heat Loss

Since heating and cooling can account for up to half of a home’s total energy use, losing or wasting heat can be a big deal. One place that heat could be escaping is the garage door. In some older homes, the wall between the garage and the house isn’t insulated. This could be sucking heat from the home and costs the owners a great deal in energy bills.

Take these steps to minimize garage heat loss:

1. Check the Wall Insulation

As stated before, the wall between the house and the garage might not be insulated. If it isn’t, that wall will be colder than the rest during the winter. Insulation will help warm up that area of the house as well as cut down on heating costs.

2. Insulate the Garage Door

Metal gets really cold in the winter. Most garage doors are made of metal, bringing the cold air in. Homeowners have two options to fix this:

  • Replace it with an insulated steel door
  • Add foam insulation panels to the existing door

Either way, the cold air will be less likely to get inside.

3. Weather-strip

Lastly, put weather-stripping on windows in the garage and on the door between the house and garage. It’s just one more reinforcement to keep cold air out as much as possible.

Get Ready for February Diamond Hugs

For February, Diamond’s Hug Program will be presenting Valentines to Veterans. You can bring a smile to a veteran’s face by making or purchasing valentines and dropping them off at our new office, located at 4605 Chinden Blvd. Why not get the whole family involved? The staff at Diamond Heating and Cooling will take care of delivering the valentines to veterans on Valentine’s Day.