Author: Eric Thomas

8 Air Conditioning Energy Saving Tips

No matter what kind of air conditioning unit you have, the following 8 Air Conditioning Energy Saving Tips can help lower your energy costs as Las Vegas heats up this Spring and Summer. Some of these air conditioning energy savings tips may seem like common sense. Others may come as a surprise. All 8 energy saving tips will help control expensive energy leaks, create more comfort in your home and extend the life of your air conditioning system.

Air Conditioning Energy Saving Tip #1 – Only Cool Spaces You’re Using

Locate air vents and reduce air flow to spaces you do not frequent such as storage rooms, garages and basements. This is common sense, but it takes intentional action. Schedule a day and time when you will evaluate the use of various spaces in your home and reduce air flow to non-living spaces. This will additionally help your air conditioning system more quickly and rapidly cool the spaces you frequent.

Air Conditioning Energy Saving Tip #2 – Leave Your Thermostat Alone!

This may be counterintuitive. Doesn’t it seem logical that setting the air conditioning higher (warmer) during times you are away (during the day) and setting it cooler when you are at home would save energy? Why run the air conditioning when you’re not home? The science says differently. Every time you reset your thermostat your air conditioner has to work harder to get your living space back to a comfortable temperature. It has not only to cool down the air in your home, but also cool down your walls, furniture, rugs…every object in your home! This requires more energy than leaving your thermostat at a steady temperature. As with a car, the most energy is used during acceleration vs. cruising at a steady speed (thus highway MPG is always better than city driving). In addition, changes in temperature result in condensation of moisture which causes your air conditioning system to work even harder.

Air Conditioning Energy Saving Tip #3 – Clear Away Objects Blocking Your Air Vents

If all the cool air your air conditioner is generating pours out of the vent and hits a couch, your couch will absorb a good part of the cool air. In the meantime, your thermostat is registering that the air in your home is warmer and sends a message to your air conditioner to generate more cool air which once again gets absorbed by your couch. Vicious cycle of waste raising your energy bill!

Air Conditioning Energy Saving Tip #4 – Keep Heat Sources Away from Your Thermostat

Imagine a lamp, radio or T.V. near your thermostat generating heat and telling your thermostat to send a message to your air conditioner to work harder. It’s measuring the heat pouring off of the T.V. instead of the air temperature of your home and will work until your T.V. reached the temperature you set for your home. Not going to happen. Energy waste!

Air Conditioning Energy Saving Tip #5 – Set Your Thermostat to a Comfortable Setting, But Not Necessarily an Arctic Setting

I love cooler temperatures. But were I to set my thermostat to a temperature that feels best, we’d be looking at about 65 degrees or even less. Sacrificing a few degrees during the hottest time of the year can create huge savings, while not greatly sacrificing comfort. A good time-proven principle to have in mind is “moderation”.

Air Conditioning Energy Saving Tip #6 – Vent Heat Sources Away from Your Home

Turn on your kitchen exhaust fan while cooking. Don’t let stove and oven heat escape into your home. Periodically check your clothing dryer vent to make sure there is no blockage or disconnected vents. Vents behind your dryer can come loose and you’ll never know because they are hidden. Is the outer vent at the other end of your dryer ducts free of debris and operating properly? Besides trapping heat and sending it into your home making your air conditioner work harder, a lint-blocked dryer vent can be a fire hazard!

Air Conditioning Energy Saving Tip #7 – Check That the Exhaust from Your Air Condenser Is Sent Away from the Condenser

This is probably more a job for the professional who installs or maintains your air condenser. If your air condenser is positioned is such a way that the hot air exhaust can be sucked in by the intake of the condenser or a neighboring condenser (in the case two are side by side) your cooling system has to work harder.

Air Conditioning Energy Saving Tip #8 – Adjust Your Thermostat Before Entertaining Large Groups

Yes, we said the you should not be tweaking your thermostat settings (above). The reason for this was that you keep your home at an even temperature. However, when you entertain a lot of guests, they can generate considerable heat causing the temperature in your home to fluctuate. Remember, the key is to keep your home at an even temperature.

Conclusion

Observing these 8 Air Conditioning Energy Saving Tips can save you a substantial amount in your energy bill:

  1. Only Cool Spaces You’re Using
  2. Leave Your Thermostat Alone!
  3. Clear Away Objects Blocking Your Air Vents
  4. Keep Heat Sources Away from Your Thermostat
  5. Set Your Thermostat to a Comfortable Setting, But Not Necessarily an Arctic Setting
  6. Vent Heat Sources Away from Your Home
  7. Check That the Exhaust from Your Air Condenser Is Sent Away from the Condenser
  8. Adjust Your Thermostat Before Entertaining Large Groups

In addition, an air conditioning system that doesn’t have to work as hard will last longer, creating even more energy savings!

How Much To Replace My Air Conditioning System?

Sudden, Unexpected Air Conditioning System Failure

Here’s the nightmare scenario none of us ever want to experience, but somehow, in the deep recesses of our minds we know the day will come: It’s one of those hot 120-degree Las Vegas Summer days. All is well until your home begins to heat up. You check the thermostat settings. They’re set for a comfortable 78-degree temperature. However, the inside temperature has risen to 90 degrees and is climbing! You check your air conditioning unit. There is no activity. You attempt a reset. Still nothing! The inside temperature continues to rise.

Air Conditioning System Evaluation and Estimate

Now, truly worried and realizing this is a problem you cannot fix yourself; you begin to call around for an air conditioning maintenance professional. Hopefully this didn’t happen on a weekend or holiday. The professional arrives, evaluates the problem and determines your air conditioning system is shot and you need a total replacement. A total air conditioning system replacement can run upwards of $17,000! Most people do not have this in their budget.

A More Economical Air Conditioning System Replacement Choice

Fortunately, here is where you have a more economical choice. You may not need a total air conditioning system replacement. In many cases, only one key component of your air conditioning system is shot and needs replacement: Commonly your air condenser. The air condenser is that rectangular unit resting on a block of cement outside of your house, likely in the side yard. Cooling coils are enclosed in a screen, and there’s a fan on top.

Air Condenser Replacement vs. Air Conditioning System Replacement

An air condenser replacement is much less expensive than a total air conditioning system replacement. The reason an air condenser replacement often grows to an entire air conditioning system replacement is due to compatibility. Modern air condensers are often incompatible with the other components of an older air conditioning system. Unless you can locate a compatible air condenser unit, you’ll need to replace your entire air conditioning system.

Guardian “Dry” 14 Seer Air Conditioner R-407C Condenser

Fortunately, there is a new air condenser model that is designed to be compatible with older air conditioning systems. It’s the Guardian “Dry” 14 Seer Air Conditioner R-407C Condenser. It’s compatibility with older air conditioning systems is a huge cost saving feature. Additional cost-saving features make this air condenser easier and less costly to install including:

  • Quick access to power and control wiring
  • Factory installed filter drier cuts down on time spent brazing and charging the system
  • The more compact size allows the unit to fit into the area your old air condenser was placed, without additional construction
  • The components are designed to resist corrosion and rust, extending the life of the air condenser
  • The coil is protected from damage by stamped steel louvered panels
  • The compressors are protected by a high-pressure relief valve, temperature sensor and high-pressure switch
  • The liquid line filter-drier is factory installed to protect the air compressor from moisture and debris

Air Conditioning System Compatibility, Less Expensive Installation, Durability

Some of these features are a bit geeky in detail, but the point is that this new air condenser unit is designed for quick easy installation, designed to last and most importantly, designed to fit the existing components of your older air conditioning system and therefore, may eliminate the huge cost of a total air conditioning system replacement. Replace ONLY your air condenser.

Mastermind Mechanical, Committed to Being Your Long-Term Professional Service

At Mastermind Mechanical, we want to help you through an air condenser failure quickly and efficiently at the lowest possible cost. Yes, we would make more by charging for an entire air conditioning system replacement, but we’re looking to be your trusted heating, air conditioning and plumbing professional for the long run. So, we’ll always find the most economical and long-lasting solution to help you through a system failure (water heater, plumbing leak, heating system).

Schedule Your “Whole House” Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing Evaluation

Preventative maintenance and an evaluation of your current heating, cooling and plumbing could help avoid that unpleasantly surprising hot indoor temperature during one of those 120-degree hot Las Vegas Summer days coming to your neighborhood soon! Discover and correct potential problems before they turn into a system failure. We’ll visit your home and perform a “whole house” evaluation which includes your:

  • Air conditioning system
  • Heating system
  • Ductwork
  • Garbage disposal
  • Water heater
  • Plumbing, pipes

Don’t be caught by surprise when things break down. Schedule your “whole house” evaluation with Mastermind Mechanical today.

Garbage Disposal Breakdown Avoidance Strategy

Top 7 Ways to Extend the Life of Your Kitchen Garbage Disposal

Kitchen Garbage Disposals Are Run 15 Times Per Day or More
Garbage disposals get the most use of any appliance in the house. Think about it: You use your oven once during a meal. You open your refrigerator a few times during the day. You use your dishwasher a couple times each week. However, you run your garbage disposal multiple times before and after every meal: That’s 3 meals times multiplied by at least 5 garbage disposal runs per meal = approximately 15 times per day.

What would you do if your kitchen garbage disposal broke down?

First, you’d have those 15 garbage disposal loads of food per day in your trash can. Imagine the smell at that food began to rot. The smell would permeate your entire house and garage. Yuk! Second, your kitchen sink would likely clog because the drain was full of the last load of food that didn’t go down your garbage disposal…because that’s when it stopped working. Third, when you ran your dishwasher, which empties into the kitchen drain pipe…the dishwasher waste water built up and pooled in your kitchen sink. Now you no longer have use of your kitchen sink! This presents an additional level of problems. It’s estimated that 10 out of 10 people have experienced this frightening scenario more than once in their life. Have you?

Top 7 Ways to Avoid a Kitchen Garbage Disposal Breakdown

The good news is that you can prevent a garbage disposal breakdown! But it will take CONSISTENT DAILY practice observing the following Top 7 Garbage Disposal Use Best Practices By observing these Top 10 Garbage Disposal Best Practices, your garbage disposal will:

  • Seldom, perhaps even NEVER break down
  • Last longer, saving replacement costs
  • Smell like a daisy
  • Run more smoothly, efficiently and quietly
  • Drain your kitchen sink more rapidly with less clogs time after time

1) Run cold water while grinding food in your kitchen garbage disposal:
Cold water causes food in the disposal to harden so your garbage disposal can grind it up more easily. Additionally, cold water for long continuous operation can help keep the garbage disposal motor from over-heating.

2) Run boiling water twice weekly down your kitchen garbage disposal:
Run very boiling water down your empty garbage disposal a couple times each week to help melt away grease that has built up in the garbage disposal and kitchen drain pipes.

3) Add dish soap to your kitchen garbage disposal boiling water maintenance runs:
Dish soap further dissolves grease to clean your disposal and kitchen drain.

4) Don’t Put BAD Stuff into Your Kitchen Garbage Disposal
Inspect EVERYTHING you are preparing to run down your garbage disposal before you dump it in. What is “BAD Stuff”?

  • Metal and plastic: Plastic utensils, bottle lids…etc. These dull or ruin the blades of your kitchen garbage disposal and clog the drain. We’ve all had the frightening experience of a turning on the kitchen garbage disposal when the kitchen sink is half full of cloudy water only to discover that a utensil in the bottom of that mirk made its way into the kitchen garbage disposal. Remember to make a final utensil check before emptying that mirky sink water.
  • Paper: Be sure to remove paper labels from fruits and vegetables before placing these into your kitchen garbage disposal. Remove those rubber bands that are used to bind vegetables such as green onions. These gum up the kitchen garbage disposal and clog your kitchen pipes. And…Bad Bad…remove metal twisty ties!
  • Grease, fats, oils: Even though these may seem like harmless liquids, they quickly solidify and gum your pipes once they cool down. Remember, you’re normally running cold water in your kitchen garbage disposal. Pour grease into a metal can or plastic bottle and dump it into the trash can.
  • Fibrous foods: Celery, banana peels, carrots, pears, corn cobs, artichokes, fruit and vegetable peals, uncooked broccoli …etc. Talk about gumming up the works. Like hair in the brush of your vacuum cleaner, these can eventually force your kitchen garbage disposal to a grinding halt (forgive the pun)!
  • Bones: These will surely dull and potentially break your kitchen garbage disposal blades.
  • Hard foods: Walnut shells, almonds, peach pits…etc. As with bones, these also can damage your kitchen garbage disposal blades.
  • Pasta and rice: These are one of your kitchen garbage disposal’s secret worst enemies. They look innocent and soft, yet they expand in the drain pipes and their starchy nature coats the drain pipes like clogged arteries…eventually constricting the flow of drain water. You kitchen garbage disposal will eventually have a heart attack!
  • Egg shells and coffee grounds: These dull kitchen garbage disposal blades and collect in your drain pipes. Here’s a great tip for egg shells and coffee grounds: Mix them in a container, crush the shells and use them as an awesome compost fertilizer worked into the soil of your garden! If you have no garden, bag them up and put them into the trash.

5) Run citrus peels down your kitchen garbage disposal whenever you have them: Orange peels, lemon peels, lime peels…etc.
These are the exception to the bad fruit and vegetable peels mentioned above. Citrus peels are the mouthwash for your kitchen garbage disposal removing bad odors, helping clean the drain pipes and creating a pleasant aroma. Throwing citrus peels in the trash can is a waste of a great natural kitchen garbage disposal cleaner! Put lemon peels into your kitchen garbage disposal to keep it from becoming a lemon? Sorry again for the pun!

6) Feed waste slowly into your kitchen garbage disposal:
Dumping large amounts of waste all at once into your garbage disposal can jam the works and clog the drain pipe. Culprits are fruit and vegetables that have gone bad and chunks of leftover meat. Cut them up and feed them slowly into your kitchen garbage disposal. A friend once dumped an entire load of rotten broccoli into the garbage disposal all at once. Sudden failure!!

7) Leave your kitchen garbage disposal on for an additional 60 seconds:
Run your kitchen garbage disposal (and water) for 60 seconds after it has finished grinding its contents. Those ground up contents are still making their way down your kitchen drain and you need to make sure the drain is completely flushed. One additional tip: Run your kitchen garbage disposal at least twice weekly to keep it lubricated and running smoothly. Like a car that has been sitting in the garage for weeks while you are away from home, an idle kitchen garbage disposal is not a healthy kitchen garbage disposal.

However, What If Your Kitchen Garbage Disposal DOES Break Down?

Kitchen garbage disposals are not perpetual motion machines and do have a limited life span. Even though you can extend that life span following the Top 7 Kitchen Garbage Disposal Best Practices listed in this article, there will come a time when your kitchen garbage disposal stops working. First, locate the reset button under your kitchen garbage disposal. Many reset buttons are colored red to make them easy to find. Some are not. As an electrical appliance, your kitchen garbage disposal automatically shuts down when overheated.

Make sure whatever caused your kitchen garbage disposal to stop is cleared out of the garbage disposal, then press the reset button, then turn the disposal back on. This can enable a restart, putting you back in business. If the reset button doesn’t work, check your circuit breaker to see if that has tripped to the off position. Turn it back on, then try running your kitchen garbage disposal. If neither of these measures work, your kitchen garbage disposal needs professional service and possibly replacement.

Contact Mastermind Mechanical for a quick friendly service and, if needed, quality replacement.

(702) 420-2121

Website

Replacing your old garbage disposal with a new modern garbage disposal can bring the following benefits:

  • Smoother operation
  • Quieter operation
  • More energy efficient operation
  • Avoidance of a pending breakdown disaster

When Will My Water Heater Fail?

What Does Water Heater Failure Look Like?

Water Heaters Fail at the Worst Possible Time

I heard the story of a Las Vegas resident whose water heater failed ON NEW YEAR’S EVE!! If a water heater is going to fail…it often happens at the very worst time!

Unfortunate Discovery of a Water Heater Failure

The homeowner stepped into his garage (where the water heater was located) to empty the garbage, only to be confronted with a major flood! Water was gushing out of the water heater, streaming through the garage, soaking everything that was not on a shelf before heading out the driveway into the street.

Locating the Water Heater’s Water Turn-Off Valve

After that initial moment of shock, the homeowner understandably attempted to turn the water off. But where was the shut-off valve? There were a number of valves at the base of the water heater and he turned them all off and went into the house to make an emergency maintenance call. Remember, this was New Year’s Eve. More on this later. Returning to the garage the homeowner was shocked to find water still streaming out of the water heater! Did he need to turn off the water supply to the entire house? After a long search, he managed to locate another shut-off valve on top of the water heater. Bingo! That valve turned off the water supply to the heater. Now, back to make a few more emergency maintenance calls. The best first maintenance visit he could successfully schedule was four days later. New Year’s Eve was on a Thursday that year, followed by New Years Day and then a weekend. What are the chances?

Scheduling Professional Water Heater Replacement

The water heater maintenance professional arrived on Monday to scope out the situation. Diagnosis: The water heater had failed, no repair possible, new water heater needed. Order the new water heater and return a few days later to install.

Surviving 7 Days Without a Water Heater

7 days without hot water in the middle of the Winter where cold water is REALLY cold! Ice cold showers or hot sponge baths made possible by heating water on the stove and pouring it into a cold-water bathtub until a decent temperature could be achieved. Enough of this story! As with any crisis, we ask the question: How could this delightful experience have been avoided?

When Will Your Water Heater Fail?

If you can predict the time your water heater may fail, you may be able to avoid that unpleasant surprise. But is water heater failure predictable? If so, what are the signs?

5 Warning Signs of Approaching Water Heater Failure

  1. Look at your water heater warranty. Most water heaters have a 10-year warranty. Why 10 years? Because shortly AFTER the 10-year point the chances of water heater failure dramatically increase.
    • So, water heater failure prediction sign #1: How close to the 10-year point is your water heater?
    • Side note: If you have a tankless water heater, these can perform well for about 20 years. However, you most likely have a water heater with a tank.
  2. You may be noticing a lack of hot water…probably most noticeable in your LUKEWARM SHOWER! Bad bad sign!
  3. Your water heater is making strange rumbling noises. That’s not normal. Water heaters in good condition are relatively silent. So, listen to your water heater.
  4. Cloudy or rusty hot water is a bad sign. Your hot water should be clear. If it’s rusty, that likely indicates that the water heater tank is corroding and your time is limited!
  5. Leaks around the water heater pressure relief valve.

What to Do to Replace Your Water Heater Before It Fails? Extending the Life of Your Water Heater.

You want to get the most use out of the life of your water heater. Replacing it even a year before it fails is a waste of a working water heater. So, you want to predict the moment of failure with approximate accuracy.

  1. Professional Inspection: In the 9th year of the life of your water heater, have a plumber inspect it, especially if you’re noticing any of the above early warning signs of water heater failure. Plumbers can detect issues that are not apparent to most homeowners. After all, you don’t want to take your water heater apart and do a DIY diagnostic job do you? For many homeowners, that alone could lead to EARLY water heater failure!
    • Side note: If you flush your water heater as it ages, you may be able extend the life of your water heater. Over time, sediment builds up in the water heater tank making it work harder and leading to corrosion. How often should you flush your water heater tank? Normally, once every 6 months. If you have hard water, you may need to flush it more often. Flushing a water heater is a job best left to a professional.
  2. Replace the Anode Rod as your water heater ages. The Anode Rod helps prevent damaging rust and corrosion in your water heater tank. Anode rods last between 3-5 years.
  3. Replace the drain valve. The drain valve is likely to fail earlier than the water heater tank.

Replacing your water heater BEFORE it fails can save you money:

  • Energy Cost Savings: A new water heater runs up to 20% more efficiently saving on energy costs.
  • Cost Effective New Water Heater Purchase: You’ll have more time to shop around for the best equipment at the lowest expense.
  • Emergency Maintenance and Replacement Costs: You’ll save on the cost of an emergency maintenance call and unplanned water heater replacement.

Can you replace your own water heater?

If you have a current plumbing license, you probably can. If you do not, don’t try! Water heater replacement involves both sophisticated plumbing and electrical connections. DIY replacement could lead to hazardous conditions and land you in violence of building codes which can cost much more in the long run.

Conclusion:

Being aware of the average life of your water heater, along with knowing the early warning signs of water heater failure can help you know when your water heater might fail before that disaster occurs. And know that disaster is likely to occur at the worst time! In addition, regular water heater maintenance following some of the maintenance tips in this article can extend the life of your water heater. It’s a good policy to have a professional inspect your water heater…especially if you can’t remember when your water heater was last inspected.

Contact Mastermind Mechanical for professional:

  • Water heater inspection.
  • Water heater maintenance.
  • Water heater replacement…even when faced with an emergency water heater failure!

How to Know When it’s Time to Replace Your Home’s Furnace or Air Conditioner?

Furnaces and Air Conditioners are Designed for Comfort, But for How Long?

Your home furnace and air conditioner are designed to keep you comfortable during the hottest Las Vegas Summer days and the coolest Las Vegas Winter nights. However, for most people their furnace and air conditioner are hidden in a place (garage or attic) “out of sight, out of mind” and therefore easy to forget. We assume they will continue working because they have worked for months or even years without much attention. How can you know when it’s time to replace your home’s furnace or air conditioner?

1) The Crisis Method of Predicting the Life of Your Furnace or Air Conditioner

Wait until your furnace or air conditioner breaks down.

Here’s the scenario you might expect: Your house is suddenly freezing some Winter night or boiling some Summer day.

DIY Attempts to Fix the Issue

First, you play around with the thermostat settings. Nothing! Then you locate your furnace or air conditioner. Dig through storage to locate a ladder to get into the crawl space in your closet ceiling. Then clear a space for the ladder. Hopefully you can find a flashlight to light your way once you emerge into your attic. Remember, you’re either boiling hot or so cold you can hardly work your hands. You finally manage to locate the furnace or air conditioner, digging through items stacked up in the way. If you’re lucky, you locate the settings and trip a switch thinking it just needs a restart. Nothing!

Calling In a Professional for Emergency Service

Okay, now you know you need to call in a professional. However, it’s likely a Friday evening right before a holiday weekend! Emergency service may not be coming tonight! You make a run to the department store to invest in a space heater or portable air conditioning unit or a huge fan to tide you over until professional service arrives. When the professional does arrive, they may not be able to fix your air conditioner or furnace on the spot but have to order parts. Another few days of waiting in freezing or boiling hot indoor temperatures! In an extreme situation you may even need to move to a motel or a friend or relative’s house for a few days. Imagine what your family members are thinking of you at this moment! So much for the crisis method of how to know when it’s time to replace your home’s furnace or air conditioner.

2) The Guesswork Method of Predicting When Your Furnace or Air Conditioner’s Life May End:

Try to Guess the Life of Your Furnace or Air Conditioner

This is better than the crisis method. You may avert an emergency breakdown of your home’s air conditioner or furnace with the guesswork method. It goes something like this: You reason that most warranties cover 10 years. Why? Because the smart warranty people figure that your air conditioner or furnace will work relatively problem free for about 10 years before things begin to break down.

Schedule Professional Maintenance Near the End of the 10-Year Warranty Period

You call a professional in for a thorough maintenance visit between year’s 9 and 10. If you’re lucky your air conditioner or furnace did not break down earlier. The professional performs maintenance that extends the life of your air conditioner or furnace a few more years. In addition, they might be able to predict how many years your air conditioner or furnace have left before they need to be replaced. You beat the odds and avoided an emergency breakdown, perhaps extending the life of your air conditioner or furnace a few years.

3) The Proactive Method of Knowing When Your Furnace or Air Conditioner Might Break Down

Schedule regular maintenance.

You have a professional perform regular maintenance at least annually thereby extending the life of your home’s air conditioner or furnace, potentially up to 10 additional years giving you 20 years in all. At the same time, your professional may be able to more accurately predict within a few months to a year when it’s time to give in and replace your furnace or air conditioner.

Now Is the Time to Replace Your Old Home Furnace or Air Conditioner

Is your home’s furnace or air conditioner nearing the age of 10? Now is the time to have Mastermind Mechanical do a health check and either give your furnace or air conditioner additional years of life or get you into a brand-new furnace or air conditioner while this limited special is running! Schedule a Maintenance Check

Take Advantage of the Special and Get into a Brand New Furnace of Air Conditioner!

Benefits of replacing your home furnace or air conditioner:

  • Peace of mind.
  • Save an emergency call.
  • Save your marriage!
  • Save energy costs with a modern high efficiency home furnace or air conditioner.
  • Save the cost of financing!

How to Clean Your Home’s Air Conditioner Evaporator Unit

When to service your home’s air conditioning system in Las Vegas?

Actually, January and February are excellent months to service your home’s air conditioning system. Here are 5 good reasons:

  1. Hot Temperatures Can Occur as Early as February in Las Vegas: Las Vegans know that even as early as February the outdoor temperatures can begin to rise creating some discomfort in your home, leading you to considering firing up your air conditioning unit. Definitely before the end of March you will have a few days where you feel the need to turn on your air conditioning unit.
  2. Experience the First Hot Day in Comfort: By the time that first hot day arrives, and you turn on your home’s air conditioning unit, you really want it to work! Now, let’s imagine this is the first time you discover something is NOT working. You’re going to have to live with an overly hot, uncomfortable home while you call for service.
  3. Schedule Service BEFORE the High-Demand Season: Note that by March, when you call for air conditioning service, you’re now calling at one of the highest demand times of the year for scheduling professional air conditioning service. Mastermind Mechanical will be there to help you, but had you scheduled the service call in January or February, you’d be enjoying a comfortably cool home already.
  4. You May Avoid an Emergency Service Call: By performing the basic DIY maintenance described in this article and in the companion article, “How to Clean Your Home’s Air Conditioner”, you may be able to prevent the need to call in a professional all together.
  5. You May Proactively Discover an Issue That Can Be Fixed by a Non-Emergency Call: At the least, you may be able to proactively discover an issue that can be professionally fixed before the high-demand air conditioning service season arrives.

Air Condenser and Air Filter Maintenance

In our most recent article, we covered how to provide a basic cleaning to the outdoor unit of your home’s air conditioning system. Add to this our article on changing your home’s air filters, a monthly MUST DO throughout the year for both heating and air conditioning optimization.

Home Air Conditioner Evaporator Maintenance

In this article, we’re going to give you some quick tips for cleaning and preparing your indoor air conditioning unit ahead of the time Las Vegas outdoor temperatures begin to rise to uncomfortable levels. You can perform these basic DIY maintenance processes at any time of the year, and it’s a good idea to perform them quarterly for continued, uninterrupted air conditioning performance for your home creating greater comfort at a lower energy cost.

The outdoor part of your home’s air conditioning unit is called the Air Condenser. The indoor part of your home’s air conditioning unit is called the Evaporator. This article covers maintenance of the Evaporator. Once you’ve got the hang of it, this basic Evaporator maintenance can be done in as little as 30 minutes!

Where is the Home Air Conditioner Evaporator located?

Unlike the outdoor Air Condenser unit which can be discovered simply by walking around your home, the indoor Evaporator is in an unobvious location like your attic. The access point may be a small square covered opening in the ceiling of a bedroom closet, and if so, you will need a ladder to climb up through the opening to access the Evaporator. Why is the evaporator unit located in such a high place? Basic science: Cool air descends, so you want to generate the cool air in a high location to aid its descent into your home.

The Need for Proper Lighting

The first need you will experience is once you’re crawled through the opening into your attic is the need for light! Most attic spaces are equipped with lights, but on the chance that the bulb may be burned out, be sure to have a good flashlight.

Where to Stand and Where NOT to Stand in the Attic

Now before you begin to walk around up there in your attic, note that there are places you may step, and places to avoid stepping so that you do not fall through the ceiling and end up in the living room or kitchen! Stand ONLY on firm flooring or beams. Normally, there will be plywood flooring installed around the air conditioning and heating units in your attic. DO NOT tread on areas covered with insulation. They are likely not protected by a firm standing area but rather, have a thin sheet rock base which you would easily fall through!

Okay, you’re in the attic, with good lighting and standing on a solid foundation.

Where is the evaporator unit and what does it look like?

You’ll note that there is a blower fan to circulate the air, a series of copper coolant tubes, some duct work for circulation and an evaporator pipe which empties into a drain. Here’s how the system works: The fan pushes warm air over the surface of the coolant tubes where it is cooled. As it is cooled, condensation occurs, which is channeled out through the condensation drain tube. The cooled air then circulates through your home, keeping your home comfortable on hot days. There is also a shut-off switch.

Turn Off the Power

Turn off the power to the evaporator unit before performing any maintenance. The best location is your home’s main electrical circuit board. There should be a switch that is clearly labeled.

Home Air Conditioner Evaporator Unit Parts That You Can Most Easily Service:

The Drain Tube:

The condensation drain tube is plastic. Gently pull it off and run a 1:16 bleach/water solution through the tube to clear out any algae growth which if untreated could eventually block the tube causing the condensation water from the evaporator to find another exit, potentially onto that sheet rock ceiling we mentioned above destroying the ceiling of one or more of the rooms of your home. You easily prevent this catastrophe by keeping that condensation tube clean!

The Drain Port:

The upper end of the drain tube is connected to the evaporator unit by a drain port. Clean the drain port with a pipe cleaner before reconnecting the drain tube.

Once you’ve flushed out the condensation tube and cleaned the drain port, replace the condensation tube in the exact position it was originally.

Note: If the condensation tube or drain port have become too rigid and cannot be removed you may need to replace them. We suggest having a professional perform this. Contact Mastermind Mechanical to perform annual maintenance of your air condenser and evaporator units and replace any parts that need replacing.

The Blower and Filter:

Vacuum out the blower and the fins which will likely be inside a metal duct downstream from the blower. Change the filter.

You’ve Successfully Performed Basic Maintenance on Your Home’s Air Conditioner Evaporator Unit

Congratulations! You’ve successfully performed basic maintenance of your home’s air conditioning evaporator unit. Along the way, if you encounter any difficulty performing maintenance to any parts, never try to force things to open. When you encounter difficulty, it’s best to contact Mastermind Mechanical for professional servicing. However, you’re likely to be successful and not encounter difficulty with the basic maintenance we’ve described in this article.

Home Air Conditioner Evaporator Unit Maintenance Frequency

By performing this basic maintenance 4 times per year: Winter, Spring, Mid-Summer and Fall you may avoid an emergency breakdown on a hot Summer day. In addition, a clean unit operates more efficiently cooling your home and keeping you comfortable at a lower energy cost.

How to Clean Your Home’s Air Conditioner

Quick 30-Minute Air Condenser Cleaning Tutorial

This quick 2-part process can save you energy expense and extend the life of your home’s air conditioner. It will only take you about 30 minutes and you don’t need to have any special experience or training. If you can work a screwdriver and a garden hose you’re good to go!

Locating Your Air Condenser

We’re going to focus on your home’s air condenser. This is the small unit outside your home, usually in the side yard on a foundation block of cement. It looks like this:

air-conditioner-condenser-installation-services-las-vegas-mastermind-mechanical-new-dan

Familiar? Now let’s take a closer look. The part you’re going to clean is the fins. Like the radiator in your car, their important function is to dissipate heat. This is how your air conditioning system cools the air in your home. The air condenser fins are pictured here:

Air Condenser Fins las-vegas-mastermind-mechanical

In order to dissipate heat efficiently, your air condenser fins need to be clean and in good condition. The fins of your air condenser unit accumulate dust and debris during those windy Las Vegas desert days. As the debris build up, your air condenser has to work harder to keep your home cool. You may end up running your air conditioner more often or turning the temperature down further in order to cool your home. This is going to cost you. Your home will actually be hotter in spite of your air conditioner working harder and expending more energy!

On the other hand, clean the fins of your air condenser unit 2-3 times each year: In the early Spring, mid-Summer and in the Fall to save on energy expense and be more comfortable in your home during our hot Las Vegas Summers.

Take a close look at the air condenser fins in the picture above. Note the debris accumulated in the fins. This routinely occurs. Also, note that some of the fins are bent and deformed. This also happens over time. We’ll refer back to this picture.

Here are 8 steps to cleaning your air condenser fins:

1) Turn off the Power to Your Air Condenser

The power switch is located on a wall connected to your air condenser. It looks like this:

air-condenser-power-switch-mastermind-mechanical-las-vegas

You can easily remove the power switch cover and turn it to the off position.

2) Remove the Top of Your Air Condenser Unit

The top is a metal grillwork located just above the large air condenser fan. Note there are a number of screws or bolts. A screwdriver will often do the trick. You may need a socket wrench depending on the type of bolt. The top of the air condenser is pictured here:

air-condenser-unit-top-mastermind-mechanical-las-vegas

 

You’ll need a screwdriver or socket wrench depending on the type of bolts attaching the top to the base of the air condenser. As you remove the top, watch carefully to ensure you are not disturbing any wires within the unit. You’ll also want to lift the fan so you can get to the air condenser fins below. As you remove the top, remember how everything looked before you touched it. You’ll need to replace it again later.

Consider all those little bolts. Please have an empty jar or can with you to store the bolts until you replace them later! Seriously…look at the landscaping rocks surrounding the unit. Imagine those tiny bolts falling into the rocks! You’ll never find them again. You’ll end up going to a hardware store to find replacements…searching for the exact same size…it can be a nightmare.

Once you remove the top, carefully remove all debris from inside the unit. There may well be leaves and twigs and bugs. Lots of stuff collects there over time. Get it all out!

3) Hose Off the Air Condenser Fins from the Inside Out

A regular garden hose will do the trick. Use a light spray. Do not use a power washer as this could damage the unit. Carefully hose off every area of the air condenser fins all the way around the air condenser. Be sure to direct the water from inside to outside the unit. Do not spray the outside as this will cause any dust and debris to lodge further into the unit.

4) Brush the Air Condenser Fins with a Fin Brush

Pictured here are a fin brush and a fin comb. You can find them at most hardware stores. We easily located the fin brush and comb pictured below on Amazon for under $8 by searching “air condenser comb”. The fin brush is on the left, the comb on the right. Note that there are air cooling fins behind your refrigerator, under the hood of your car and just about anywhere there is an air cooling system. These tools will work on most air cooling fins anywhere.

air-condenser-fin-brush-and-comb-mastermind-mechanical-las-vegaa-nevada

The fin brush removes debris from the air condenser fins. It’s a good idea to use the fin brush on all air condenser fins regardless of their age or condition. Carefully brush the outside of the fins all around your air condenser.

5) Straighten Any Bent Condenser Fins with a Fin Comb

The fin comb straightens any bent fins and helps provide the separation necessary to let the fins dissipate heat properly. In the case of severely bent or damaged fins, you can gently insert a kitchen knife between the fins to straighten them. Do not insert the knife more than 1/4th inch into the fins, and stay away from the coils in order to avoid damaging, or heaven forbid, puncturing them!

If you look closely at the air condenser fins in the picture above you can see some bent fins. The air condenser fin comb is designed to gently insert between the fins and straighten them out without damaging them.

6) Spray the Fins with a Fin and Coil Cleaner

Here is an example of a fin and coil cleaner we easily found on Amazon. We’re not attempting to sell any particular brand of any of these products and picture them only to help give you an idea what you’re looking for. Feel free to shop around. There are numerous brands available:

air-condenser-fin-and-coil-cleaner-mastermind-mechanical-las-vegas-nevada

As with the air condenser brush and comb, the coil cleaner is especially designed to clean the fins and coils of any cooling system whether it’s your refrigerator, car or other. It dissolves dirt, dust and debris without damaging the fins. Go nuts and clean them all, making all your cooling systems function more efficiently at a lower cost. For example, when is the last time you pulled your refrigerator away from the wall and looked behind it? Scary!! This is a good example of what collects where ever there are air cooling fins and coils where air is continually passing through along with scads of dust particles and other unmentionable stuff!

7) Replace the Top of Your Air Condenser Unit

Be careful to replace the top of your air condenser unit exactly as it was before you removed it. This is the time you especially appreciate having stored all the screws and bolts in a jar at the beginning of this little adventure.

8) Turn the Power Back On

Take a moment to congratulate yourself! That wasn’t so hard was it? You just helped your air condenser to run more efficiently saving you money month after month and making your home more comfortable. And if you were extra ambitious, perhaps you did the same for your refrigerator!

Replace Air Filters

Another easy task we refer to as low effort, high results is to change your air filters monthly. See this article on our site.

man replacing air filter

Additional Care and Maintenance of Your Air Conditioning System

Your home’s air conditioning system also contains coils that need cleaning and parts that need special lubrication delivered at the exact right spot. And in addition to the air condenser unit outside your home, there is a larger evaporator unit inside your home – likely in the attic – that has parts important to maintain. Some parts need lubrication. Hoses need to be taken apart and cleaned. Parts may wear out over time. Watch for additional blog articles on maintaining these.

We didn’t want to overwhelm you, so we stuck to the air condenser fins in this article. Cleaning these is the lowest effort task with the highest results. If you keep your air condenser fins clean 2-3 times annually, the other components of your air conditioning system will not have to work as hard and will last longer.

Have Your Home Air Conditioning and Heating System Professionally Inspected and Tuned-Up Annually

We suggest you contact us to professionally service your home’s air conditioning system annually. If this is an off season, you’re in luck. That’s the best time to call for maintenance. During high demand seasons, professionals get booked up, parts can be harder to obtain and some may even raise their prices – we don’t. Though, scheduling can be tricky during those high-demand seasons (i.e. the outside temperature is 120 degrees, your poorly maintained air condenser breaks down on…you guessed it…a Friday evening. You spend the weekend trying to find a HVAC maintenance person rather than escaping to cooler climates on a much needed vacation).

Don’t let yourself get into that bad bad situation. Call us now to schedule your annual HVAC system maintenance. We’ll take care of everything for you…fins and all!

Annual Air Conditioning System Inspection and Maintenance

Contact Mastermind Mechanical

Call 702-420-2121

Importance of Furnace Maintenance

Furnace Maintenance: Probably Not Top of Mind

The importance of furnace maintenance is probably not top of mind in your daily thoughts. In fact, do you even remember what your furnace looks like? It’s hidden away in some closet, attic or your garage. Hopefully there are not items in storage leaning against or on top of your furnace at this moment! Out of sight, out of mind.

Furnaces are pretty reliable most of the time, so we forget they’re there…until something goes wrong!

What could go wrong with your furnace and what damage, expense or danger could result?

Much of the damage that could be caused by a malfunctioning furnace will not be discovered immediately. You’ll only discover the damage when it’s time to pay the price. Kind of like having those auto-withdrawal payments from your bank account you no longer need, forgot about and continue to pay monthly, then discover after the accumulative cost is embarrassingly large!

A poorly maintained furnace is like having a bad hidden monthly auto-withdrawal from your bank account!

Let’s list some of the hidden monthly expenses you could incur with a poorly maintained furnace.

Regular Furnace Maintenance Saves Energy Costs EVERY Month

You furnace can easily rack up 50% of your energy bill. A well-maintained furnace costs about 30% less per month to run. In terms of your total energy bill, that’s an overall 15% savings every single month. If your last energy bill was $200 with a poorly maintained furnace, it could be $170 with a well-maintained furnace, saving you $30 each month X 8 cold season months = $240 per year bad hidden auto-withdrawal from your bank account! If your furnace is poorly maintained, you’re allowing the equivalent of an auto $30 monthly withdrawal from your bank account! But there’s more!

Regular furnace maintenance can save you costs in terms of increased health care expenses.

You’re constantly breathing the air circulated through your furnace. Consider the quality of that air. The air exchange in homes is already lower by far than a shopping mall, other public buildings and certainly the great outdoors. We are all learning this with COVID19 warnings about gathering indoors. That’s because indoor air is not the healthiest. Now, compound this poor air exchange with dirty furnace filters. Your furnace filters need to be changed monthly to properly clean air circulated by your furnace. When is the last time you changed your furnace filters? Do you know where they’re located? Now, compound this poor air quality even further.

Poorly maintained furnaces regularly circulate unhealthy air.

A dirty furnace stores and regularly blows out its accumulated dust, debris, mold, pollen, bacterial and virus contaminants, circulating them throughout your home and ultimately into your lungs. Ever wonder why when one person in the family comes down with a cold or the flu or something worse, everyone catches it? It’s because many diseases are airborne and circulated by dirty furnaces and furnace filters.

Unhealthy air can create costly healthcare expenses.

So, how much did the last health issue you or a family member experienced cost in terms of doctor visits, medication, co-pays, lost time at work? Possibly, a clean, well-maintained furnace might have saved you that money. That’s like another of those hidden, run-away auto-withdrawals from your bank account! And, worst case scenario, leaky gas from a poorly maintained furnace could send odorless carbon monoxide through your home. That’s more than costly. It’s life threatening!

Regular furnace maintenance can save you costs in by adding years to the life of your furnace.

A well-maintained furnace can last around 20 years. Take 5 years off of that life-span for a poorly maintained furnace. That’s a loss of 25% of its life. You’re looking at from $1000 – $3000 for a new furnace. Add in installation costs and cost of disposal of your old furnace. We haven’t even added in financing. Let’s very conservatively say $2,000 for a new furnace that if well-maintained will last 20 years. If poorly maintained, you just lost $500 of that $2000 or $20/month bad hidden auto withdrawal from your bank account each month.

Regular furnace maintenance can save you from a void warranty.

Most furnaces come with a 10-year warranty. However, poor maintenance can void that warranty. In addition, if a well-maintained furnace lasts 20 years, it may be possible to renew the warranty for the second 10 years potentially saving you a sudden unexpected expense in the event your furnace breaks down in its later life.

Regular furnace maintenance can save you physical discomfort.

Are there rooms in your home that never seem to warm up? A back bedroom, your basement, the bathroom furthest away from the furnace? How does that feel? You probably don’t spend time in those rooms. What percentage square feet of your home are you avoiding using due to inadequate heat? Your monthly mortgage bill is a charge for your total home space. Let’s say you’re avoiding a conservative 5% of that space due to heating discomfort. That’s another hidden cost…bad monthly auto withdrawal. Let’s give this $100/month waste expense based on 5% of a $2,000 monthly mortgage.

Part of regular furnace maintenance is ensuring even distribution of heat throughout your home, allowing you to enjoy the full value of every room!

Regular furnace maintenance can save you the unexpected expense of a breakdown.

And, imagine on the coldest day of the Winter having a furnace breakdown…likely in the middle of the night on a weekend. Isn’t that when these types of things seem to happen? You have no regular furnace guy to call so you’re searching companies you’ve never heard of while freezing at 30-degree temperatures. Believe me, you’re unlikely to get the best service price on that emergency call, and an emergency furnace replacement will likely cost you much more than a planned furnace replacement. But there’s more…Your water pipes are also freezing, and possibly bursting. Now you need to find a plumber and face that additional expense. You have to turn off your water and spend the night in a motel. Water leaked, causing further damage which needs to be repaired…perhaps a carpet replacement? Replacing a floor? Yikes!!

Regular furnace maintenance saves you how much?

Let’s recap on your savings with regular furnace maintenance:

  • $30/month energy costs (conservative estimate)
  • $20/month loss of furnace lifespan (conservative estimate)
  • $100/month. Lack of use of 5% of your home due to discomfort in cold areas.
  • Health care expenses, sick time, doctors visits (we did not put a number here)
  • Furnace breakdown not covered because warranty void or non-renewable warranty (no $ estimate given)
  • Home damage caused by furnace breakdown (no $ estimate).

Here’s the final very conservative tab: $150/month calculated expense waste due to a poorly maintained furnace plus a potentially much larger expense if some of the other (health, damage) losses are given a dollar value.

Moral of the Story: Regular Furnace Maintenance Pays for Itself Many Times Over

Is your home in the Las Vegas area? Get valuable, professional furnace maintenance from Haik Verdanian of Mastermind Mechanical.

How to Organize Your Commercial Refrigerator in 5 Easy Steps

A commercial refrigerator is an understated yet important part of most businesses. It keeps food fresh and prevents bacterial contamination among customers—but only when it’s used the right way.

How to Organize Your Commercial Refrigerator

If you’re in charge of workplace administration, we reckon that keeping the commercial refrigerator organized and clean may not be your favorite task of the day, but it helps tremendously when you’re pressed for time and are dealing with multiple customers.

Not to mention that proper organization and maintenance can help you conserve energy and reduce the unit’s environmental impact.

So let’s take a look at five essential tips you can adopt for efficient utilization of available space.

Customize the Storage Space

A systematic approach to storing food—regardless of your business’s set-up or the size of the refrigerator—will ensure better cooling and preservation. This means using additional racks, shelves, and storage boxes that are tailor-made to your use cases.

Arrange Items by Shelf Life

When you’re stocking items, follow the first-in, first-out (FIFO) rule for efficient product rotation. The newest items should be stored in the back while those with a closer use-by date should be in the front. If the expiry date has passed, avoid using the product as a safety measure.

Space Properly

Leaving adequate space between the containers allows smooth circulation of cold air and doesn’t leave any hot spots that increase energy consumption. Whether it’s pre-prepped or cooked food, keep the containers at least 3–5 inches apart.

Label Everything

It’s critical to follow health and safety regulations both for your business and customer’s sake. You may be following everything precisely but your employees might not. Labels and signs help everyone stay informed.

Stay Away from the Floor

Keep all the food off the refrigerator floor to prevent water leakage from contaminating it. If you’re having a storage problem, install additional boxes and make sure that your employees follow this rule as well.

Disorganized refrigerator not only makes the unit work harder and consume more energy, but can also hinder the smooth operation of your business. You may also need more repair and maintenance work.

While you’re thinking about your commercial refrigeration unit, consider evaluating your commercial heating and cooling system. At Mastermind Mechanical LLC, we work tirelessly to keep the businesses in Las Vegas running smoothly by providing reliable repair and maintenance services.

You can book an appointment with us online or call at (702) 420-2121 in case of emergency.

AC Replacement Cost: HVAC in Las Vegas

Air Conditioner replacement cost in Las Vegas varies greatly depending on your residential or commercial needs.

Get an AC Replacement Cost Quote

Mastermind Mechanical Specializing in Air Conditioning and Heating Repair, Service, and Sales Throughout The Las Vegas Valley.  24/7 Emergency Service Available.

Benefits of Installing a New A/C System In Las Vegas:

  • FREE estimate for all installations residential and commercial
  • Avoid the costs on ongoing and unexpected repairs
  • Energy-efficient systems will help you save money
  • Our team is highly experienced and dedicated to quality service
  • We can help you find the right sized unit for your Las Vegas home or business
Call our Las Vegas AC replacement specialists at  (702) 420-2121 to find the right sized unit for your Las Vegas home or business and avoid the costs of ongoing and unexpected repairs.
Our team of skilled, experienced, licensed technicians deliver fast, efficient, economical service backed by an iron-clad one year worry free parts and labor warranty. Pricing is upfront and honest with no hidden expenses. We offer a 10% senior citizen and military discount.
Mastermind Mechanical LLC, family-owned and based in Las Vegas for over 15 years, is committed to providing home and office owners with superior, fast, and professional heatingair conditioning and refrigeration services at affordable pricing.

Serving All Of Las Vegas

Since 2005

Mastermind Mechanical has been proudly providing Las Vegas and all of Clark County, Nevada with heating, air conditioning, and plumbing services for over 15 years.

About Mastermind

Mastermind Mechanical LLC has been serving Las Vegas for over 15 years. We are committed to providing fast, and professional Las Vegas AC repair and Las Vegas AC replacement at affordable pricing. Everything we do is guided by the core values of integrity, quality, respect, and long-term relationships built on trust.

Contact

Address:5302 Misty Bend Ct Las Vegas, NV 89148
Phone:(702) 420-2121
Email:info@mastermindmechanical.com

Licenses

NV LIC# 0084840 (HVAC)
NV LIC# 0087780 (Plumbing)


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