Prepping Your Air Conditioning System for Spring and Summer

During harsh winters, homeowners resort fully to heat pumps and furnaces to warm their homes and this makes air conditioning systems to take a back seat until spring and summer. Air conditioning maintenance is not a priority during winter and the last part of fall that is why most systems are ill-prepared to face the challenges of the hot season.

Air conditioning systems tend to be affected by the ultra-low negative temperature spikes together with the extended times below freezing point. Having your AC system checked before starting it up will ensure you have a trouble-free summer season.

Below are some of the important checks and tweaks to carry out before switching your wall thermostat to cooling.

Outdoor Unit Panel Inspection

The outdoor unit panels are designed to cover the electrical connections of your AC unit and are essential to help protect the system. Panels can go missing or can be misaligned and this may be a potential risk not only to the operation of the equipment but to you as well. If you discover the panel covering the electrical connections is not in place, immediately notify a qualified HVAC technician who will carry out an assessment before starting the system.

Removal of Lids, Coil Blankets or Condenser Covers

It is not uncommon for outdoor coils to be covered during winter so as to protect them from the icy condition and the possible impact this can have on your systems functionality. These covers play a critical role in insulating and protecting the coil but can also limit heat transfer. If you start your AC system with these covers in place, your system could be severely damaged even if it is for a short time. Many homeowners tend to forget removing these covers.

Repair or Replacement of Faulty Pipe Insulation

The suction line which is a large copper pipe helps in redirecting the cool refrigerant back to the compressor in the indoor unit. When the insulation on this pipe is damaged, its ability to attain the required cooling for the outdoor unit is jeopardized. This can damage your system and also cause you to lose energy.

The insulation can be damaged by so many things including winter animals who seek for shelter or food, freezing water, as well as sun rot. The size of the insulation is determined by the dimensions of the copper pipe.

Remove Outdoor Coil Debris

Where you live or the side of the house your AC system is located on will determine the amount of trash or vegetation that is blown against or into the coil. The condenser coils of your AC system are usually designed to transfer heat and as such any amount of debris can limit this effect. The best approach to get this sorted is to remove debris from the coil and from the surrounding area.

Change the System Filters

When seasons change, you get an opportunity to replace your AC filters. During winter, most filters tend to gather lots of debris and this is why you need to make the necessary changes before the onset of the cooling season. There are two main types of filters; washable and disposable. The washable allow you to clean and re-use them while the disposable have to be replaced. When doing the replacement, pay attention to air flow directions on both the filter and the system. They both need to point in the same direction.

In addition to the above, always clean the return grills and supply vents. Any dust or pet hair that may have accumulated in the grills and vents must be vacuumed to ensure these channels are completely open.

How to Prepare Walls for Painting

Painting is such a beautiful exercise whose end can be rewarding based on how you approach it. Beautiful spaces are always inspirational and it helps your mind to have a home with walls that look new and flawless. How you prepare the walls for the painting exercise will determine how beautiful and successful your painting exercise will be.

Before touching the walls in the prepping exercise, start by removing furniture from the room. This leaves ample space for you to move around and ensure no section of the wall is blocked. Using drop cloths, cover the floor and any furniture which you may have left because of immovability or other reasons. Although plastic is considered ideal for covering furniture, canvas drop cloths are also exceptional because they absorb paint and are not slippery. Thereafter, remove any mirrors, pictures, window treatments, and light or electrical switch plates.

Wash the Walls

When painting, dirty surfaces normally cause poor adhesion which in the end makes your paint to peel off. To clean the walls, use a light detergent on the surfaces that may have oily residue or are soiled. Ensure no residue from the detergent is left on the surface. Also wash doors and wipe their surfaces with a damp cloth as you allow them to dry before starting the painting exercise.

Remove Crayon, Pen and Water Stains

Using a liquid detergent; remove as many pen and crayon markings and water stains as possible before wiping the surfaces with a clean wet cloth. Any marks remaining should be spot primed to avoid bleeding through the finish coat.

Dull Glossy Areas

Glossy surfaces can hinder proper paint adhesion. To ensure this is taken care of, you should sand the glossy surfaces using fine sand paper and carefully remove the resulting sanding dust. Ensure the surfaces are vacuumed clean and wiped using a tack cloth.


Cracks, nail holes, and other imperfections on wall surfaces can interfere with your painting exercise and give you below the expected outcome. To prevent this, examine the wall, floor, and ceiling surfaces and use a putty knife to carefully rake out large plaster cracks or any loose particles in your ceilings and walls. Press the spackling compound firmly into the identified crevices using the putty knife and continue smoothing until the compound completely fills and levels off with the surface.

In order to fill open mitered trim joinings as well as window and door trim separated from your wall, apply the compound into the crevices and press it firmly then use your finger to smooth it. After it dries, sand it over lightly. The patching compound tends to shrink when it dries and thus making it imperative to do a second round after the initial coat has dried. Your local hardware store could be having excellent spackling compounds that fill in and remain firm thus making them unnoticeable and giving you space to do your wall painting.

Removing Loose Paint

To remove any scaling or loose paint, use a putty knife. Paint removal from surfaces such as ceilings or walls tends to leave behind jagged surfaces. This means you should go back to sand the paint edges for a smooth and ready to paint surface. When removing loose paint from doors, trim or sash, make use of a fine sandpaper to thoroughly sand the entire surface.

Depending on how you prepare your walls, the painting exercise can be extremely simple. Never underestimate or overlook any of the above steps because they can potentially spoil your job.




How to Troubleshoot Air Conditioning Problems

Air conditioning systems play a critical role in cooling homes especially during summers when temperatures go up making indoor spaces practically inhabitable. Because air conditioning units run for a long time, they develop problems from time to time thus calling for repairs and replacements.  However, not all repairs should cost you a dime because some of them can be solved with simple troubleshooting skills.

Below are some of the problems homeowners can fix themselves without incurring unnecessary expenses.

The Condenser is not Running

The first point to check whenever your condenser is not running is the power cable and plug. Ensure the unit is properly plugged in. If this doesn’t turn out to be the problem, check for the circuit breaker or fuse because there may be a trip or blow.

Another potential cause is an improperly set thermostat. Try lowering the thermostat by about 5 degrees and see whether the system kicks on. If all the above fixes do not work, the problem could be a faulty compressor or motor. At this instance, you will need professional help.

Inadequate Air Cooling

If your air conditioning unit is not satisfactorily cooling your home, you can start troubleshooting by lowering the thermostat setting by 5 degrees. If that doesn’t solve the anomaly, you may want to check and fix the cleanliness of the evaporator coil. After the cleaning, allow the evaporator to run for a few hours. If the problem still persists, the size of your AC may be inappropriate for the space it is serving.

You should also keep in mind that excessively hot days may impact the effectiveness of your unit. For instance, if outside temperatures are well above 100 degrees, achieving at least 62 degrees inside your home may not be feasible irrespective of the efficiency with which your AC blows cold air.

Always consult with your AC professional before making a replacement decision due to this problem.

AC Unit Repeatedly Shuts On and Off

This is a common problem which is usually occasioned by a blocked or dirty condenser and evaporator unit. Most of the times, doing a thorough cleaning of these components and removing obstructions around it can solve the problem.

Air is not Coming out of Ceiling Registers or the Floor

This is another problem air conditioning units face and it is caused by a number of things. The beginning point is to check whether the fan located on the outside unit is running. If the fan is not running, go ahead to check whether the AC breakers are on. If the breaker is not tripped, the problem could be your thermostat, the control board for your air handler or the wires connecting the thermostat and the air handler.

How to Paint Chevrons, Stripes and Block Designs on Your Walls

Walls can give you a lot of inspirations whether you are working from or you only come in the evening from work and you want a space to relax in. The patterns on your walls can alter the state of your mind either to the positive or the negative. The good news is you can take charge and paint patterns, lines, and other cohesive designs to make your walls appealing and relaxing to look at. Thanks to DIY tricks, you can now create perfect designs on your wall by just a little bit of math and simple knowledge on where exactly to place your tape. Read along to learn how to make chevrons, stripes, blocks, and diamonds.

Painting Chevrons

Chevrons can give your room a high-end boutique look if done well. It is easier to make chevrons because the first step is to find a pattern that appeals to you online and thereafter use a projector to transfer the chosen image onto your wall. Once the image is clearly casted; tape and paint it. You can also do it through math by coming up with straight edges using rulers and other instruments, but this can be time consuming.

Painting Horizontal and Vertical Stripes

For the best results, stripes should be anything between 4 and 12 inches wide. When the width of the stripes is less than 4 inches, the painted surface appears too busy and narrow. On the other hand, stripes that have a width of more than 12 inches look heavy and wide. That being said, the height of your ceilings determines how wide your stripes should be. For really tall ceilings or if you want a bold and super impact, having stripes wider than 12 inches is recommended.

The best time to measure the wall before painting the stripes is when the base coat is dry. Always start from the corner that is least seen and use a tape measure to help you mark the lines corresponding with the width of the horizontal or vertical stripes. If the stripes are going to take the same width, the same approach is to measure the wall and then divide the result by the number of stripes or better still divide the wall measurement by an odd number so as to reach the desired width of your stripes. The advantage of picking an odd number of stripes is that you are assured the stripes at the corners are always of the same color. This makes your stripes more cohesive.

Painting Diamond Pattern

According to experts, the rule of thumb when painting diamond patterns is for the height of the diamond to be twice its width. You should begin by measuring the width of the wall you want to paint then divide it by the intended number of diamonds you want in the horizontal plane. Use the measurement as the width of the diamond and multiply that by two to get the height. Thereafter, blue chalk and draw a grid pattern by using the horizontal and vertical lines. Locate the middle of each rectangle and then mark the right, left, top, and bottom side. Thereafter, connect the dots by drawing straight lines to form the patterns. After taping each side of the diamond, start painting using a mini roller so as to fill in the diamond patterns.

Painting Blocks

Start by applying base color to your designated wall and after it dries, measure its length and height. Thereafter, divide the wall based on your desired square size. Using a carpenter’s level, low-tack painter’s tape, and a pencil or chalk, mark the squares. You should start measuring the desired size of the squares right from the top to the bottom of the wall and make use of light and small marks across the wall. Then, place horizontal stripes of tape across the wall from top to bottom. Ensure you check your lines with the carpenter’s level. After this, lay your vertical stripes to complete your squares and paint to fill in the squares using the top coat and a mini roller.