Sunday, December 14, 2008

Green Your Home – Appliances & Maintenance

I finished up a few lingering items this weekend. Some would be considered typical maintenance items, and others are bigger items. So, without further adieu.

About 2 weeks ago, my wife asked me about the warranty on our dryer. It was taking progressively longer and longer to completely dry a load of clothes. So, this past weekend, I pulled out the dryer to check the vent pipe. With the dryer out and the pipe disconnect, I quickly saw the problem: a blocked vent.

This is an issue for several reasons.

  • First, it is a fire hazard. Lint in the pipe prevents hot exhaust from escaping and can potentially heat up and catch fire.
  • Second, it reduces the efficiency of the dryer and can take 2-3 times longer to dry clothes, utilizing a lot more energy.
  • Third, the long term effects on the dryer could cause damage to internal parts and shorten the lifespan of the dryer.
To correct the problem, I began by disconnecting the pipe from the wall outlet. The outlet promptly fell out of the wall, indicating the pipe was not properly installed in the first place. So, I removed the pipe and cleaned out the cover and the surrounding wall cavity. Replacing the items was a little more complicated.

For starters, with the dryer moved, I would probably have been divorced if I didn’t thoroughly clean the area behind the dryer before replacing it. So, a tip for the married gentlemen out there, completely remove old lint, socks, etc that have fallen behind the washer & dryer. Next, using UL181 foil tape, make any repairs to the outlet to ensure a proper seal. Reconnect both ends of the pipe and move the dryer back into place. If you have a side outlet, like the picture, I recommend installing a 90 at the dryer outlet instead of turning the flexible pipe.

The water heater in your home, unless you have upgraded to a tankless alternative, should be maintained once a year. Typically, this consists of connecting a hose to the spigot, located and bottom of the tank, and draining the tank. As water is heated, minerals free themselves from the water molecules and collect at the bottom of the tank. Over time, this can reduce the efficiency of the heating element and can reduce the amount of water heated in the tank.

By draining the tank, you allow the minerals to leave the tank and maintain efficiency. If you are concerned about the water you are wasting, drain it at a time of year when you can allow the tank to cool off and use the water on plants in the yard. You can also use this time to add insulation to the tank to reduce heat lose.

Replacing HVAC filters is a vital part of maintaining your furnace and A/C system. There are many options as to the filters you can purchase. More efficient filters can cause your blower to work to hard, reducing the efficiency of the fan. Less efficient filters will work against indoor air quality. There are also washable filters that do not have to be replaced, just washed as needed.

Replace filters per the packaging. More efficient filters boast a longer life. Typical filters should be replaced every 30 days. Washable filters should be washed monthly, unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer. If your filter cover starts to show signs of dust build-up, it has probably been to long since you replaced it.

1 comment: