Appliance Quick Tips

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Appliance Tips

Recycle Your Old Appliances: Your appliances can make your life easier and, with proper use and care, will serve you for many years. When you are ready to get rid of an appliance, consider its use by others, recycling, reconditioning or proper disposal. The materials used to make it are valuable resources.

Keep Your Appliances' Records: Keep all your appliance instruction books, appliance warranties, and any receipts you receive for service in one place. The receipts will be useful if you have problems.

Purchasing Decisions

When you buy an appliance, you are buying a service that might make your life easier. You are also making a decision about conserving energy and water, as well as the money they cost. When buying an appliance, consider the energy and water it will need and what they will cost month after month. For example, refrigerators and freezers have been tested to see how much energy they use, but how you use appliances will also affect their energy performance and how much impact they have on your utility bills.

When shopping for an appliance, here are some things you need to consider:

* Your family needs. Larger families may need larger sizes.
* Your lifestyle. If you entertain a lot, you may want larger sizes or more features.
* Available space. Measure the space available for appliances before you shop.
* Environmental concerns — water and energy use.
* Learn to use EnergyGuide labels when available.
* Consider energy efficient and water saving appliances, and those that can be repaired and serviced to keep them operational for a longer period. This saves energy, money, water and natural resources over time. Federal law requires that EnergyGuide labels be placed on all new refrigerators, freezers, water heaters, dishwashers, clothes washers, room and central air conditioners, heat pumps, and furnaces.
* Look for the UL label on all electrical appliances and cords. UL (Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.) tests appliances submitted by manufacturers for safety from electrical shock.
* Do you want to buy new or used? Used appliances may have more risk in repairs and services, but may be cheaper. They may or may not be as efficient as newer machines, but you do save the resources that went into originally manufacturing them.
* Does the appliance have features that make it more convenient and easy to care for?
* What utilities do you have available now? If you change your home service from electric to gas (or from gas to electric), costs can change too.
* Payment method. Using credit adds to the cost of your appliance.
* When buying any appliance you want to have long, service-free use, but problems can occur. How will problems be resolved?
* Shop for appliances with reliable dealers that either provide authorized service or where authorized service is nearby. Before having your appliance serviced, check your warranty to make sure it will cover the service provider you are using.
* Reliable dealers will carry appliances from manufacturers who stand behind their products.
* Check and compare warranties. There may be a full warranty for one year that will cover parts and service. Limited warranties may cover parts only for certain appliance components. Know what kind of protection you are buying.
* Should you buy an extended warranty that covers service after the full warranty ends? Studies have shown that most appliance failures happen in the first year. Compare the warranty with any service contract for similarities or differences in coverage.
* Check and compare consumer comparison studies or information found in your library or Cooperative Extension office. These are often independent profit or not for profit associations.

Living With Your Appliance

Once you have chosen an appliance and it is delivered to your home, stay nearby as the appliance is installed. Make sure you have the instruction (use and care) book and warranty. Ask any questions of the installer before he or she leaves. To make sure you get the best service from your appliance, do the following:

* Locate your instruction book. Read through it by the appliance in order to become acquainted with the use and care. Look for the manufacturer's 800 number. Write the model and serial numbers of your appliance in your book. These numbers will probably be on your warranty.
* There should be a registration card with the instruction book. Fill in the card and return it to the manufacturer. This records the date your warranty starts and will be useful if you have a problem with the appliance.
* Read the warranty and note the length of the warranty or warranties offered.
* Keep the appliance clean and coils vacuumed. Position the appliance according to correct recommended temperature.
* It is important to use your appliance and all of the features several times during the warranty period to make sure that everything is operating the way it should.
* Any time you have service, ask for and keep all receipts whether you pay or the appliance's warranty provides for the parts and/or service.
* If you have a problem with your appliance, look in the instruction book before you call for service; there may be something you can do to avoid needing to call. Service costs can frequently be saved by following instructions provided by the manufacturer.
* If your appliance is not working or giving the results it should, begin taking the following steps:
1. Contact the retailer and/or authorized service agency. (Note: Warranties may be void if you do not use authorized service.) Your complaint may be resolved at this point. Keep records of letters, phone calls and who was contacted.
2. If your complaint cannot be satisfied by authorized service, call the manufacturer's 800 number. Be prepared to explain what the problem is, a history of the service needed in the past (from your service receipts), and what you feel the company should do to compensate you.
3. If your complaint cannot be resolved by the manufacturer, contact MACAP (Major Appliance Consumer Action Program) at: MACAP, 20 North Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60606; phone: (312) 984-5858.
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Question about attic air-conditioner condensation problem:

I have an attic air unit which seems to have a problem with condensation on the bottom of the condensation tray. The water then leaks from the cabinet into the rubber drip pan. I have a 1400 sq. ft attic with a hip roof. There is an 8 inch roof vent on all 4 roof slopes. I have electric duct fans in two of the vents exausting air to the outside with the other 2 drawing fresh air. There are no sofet vents. My dealer is at a loss to correct the problem. More air flow would not reduce the humidity of the incoming air.


This is how we understand your situation: your condensation pan is collecting condensation from the A/C. The water in that pan is cold, therefore chilling the pan and creating condensation (glass of cold iced-tea effect) from the attic air on the bottom of the pan, which is eventually dripping in the to rubber catch pan.
Further question: Are the drain lines for the condensation pan free to drip to the outside? In addition, is the rubber pan drained outside? If the condensation pan freely drains, then there is less water sitting there cooling the pan (although is still happens if the water is passing through the pan, just not as much cooling effect), therefore you have a reduced chance of condensation.
One expert noted seeing new construction, in South Carolina; drain both pans to the outside from attic units, as a method of protecting the drywall ceiling under the unit and to allow homeowners to determine if the main pan is overflowing/leaking. In a system under normal operating conditions, the main pan line will be dripping water where the rubber pan line would be dry. If something happens to make the main pan to overflow or leak, the line from the rubber pan would be dripping, thus indicating a problem.
A side note: A/C drains should be directed away from the foundation structure of the home. Wet, soggy ground near the foundation is rarely good.
Trying to keep the air temp in the attic as low as possible with the fans will help with condensation some...the lower the temperature difference between the A/C condensation water and air will reduce the exterior condensation by a small percentage (every little bit helps).


The proper condensation pan drains into a small pump that pumps the water down to the basement and into a drain. That pan is working properly. It runs from both places, top and bottom of pan. There is a small manual drain line attached to the rubber pan but it is too low and too flat to be of much help.
Would gluing a piece of Styrofoam to the bottom of the drain pan keep the condensation down? I know that having more attic airflow would help but cannot increase it any more with out a major re-do of my venting system. It was hoped that the two 8 inch duct fans fitted directly into the roof vents would flow enough air but without soffit vents the other two 8 inch vents don't allow enough air to do much good.

Ideally, you should only have flow out of the top pan, but if you have condensation dripping into the lower pan, you will have flow from there, too.
Limiting the amount of attic air that is able to flow around your pan by blocking off openings, may help. Whatever air that is trapped in there would have its moisture pulled out in the beginning and be drier and since it would not be replaced readily with 'fresh' air, the moisture in the 'fresh' air would not enter, as well. Before you go sealing up the area around the pan, consult with an HVAC tech to make sure that there isn't any equipment in the unit that requires good ventilation. In addition, make sure the tech clearly understands your intentions.

There should be NO standing water in the attic from the ac system. The condensate rolls off the evap coil into a catch pan at the bottom of the coil and into a pipe usually PVC. The water then flows to a drain. the pan below the unit should NEVER have water in it if there is water in this pan there is a leak or obstruction in the drain line you mentioned a pump, the need for a pump to force water downhill is not necessary (unless there is a long horizontal run before the hose drops down). The drain from the unit (evap) should enter the pump reservoir them the pump activates making the water go away. The purpose of the pan under the unit is to prevent water damage. It has a separate drain the outlet of which should be visible so the homeowner realizes there is a problem.

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