Ken's Tips


Ken Sampson HVAC Tips

Why is your filter too big and will not fit in the filter frame?

Why is your filter too small and gets sucked up into the ductwork?

There is two different categories of sizes of filters, standard size, and grille size.


This is the category of filters that most of us are familiar with. These fit into furnaces, air handlers and return air filter frames. (It's that louvered looking thing in the ceiling or wall that has a door on it. You open the door, replace the filter and close the door.)

A standard sized filter that says it is 20" x 20" x 1" will measure to be within 1/4" of what it says. These, are also referred to as furnace filters, standard filters, regular filters, or normal filters.

GRILLE size:

This sizing applies to return air filter frames only. The grille size frames hold different sizes of filters. The grille size filters are just enough smaller than standard filters to make a difference. Make sure you know if you need a standard or grille size filter for your home. Homes and condos in southwest Florida are full of these "special grilles." These filter frames were continuously installed through the 70s, 80s, 90s, and even after 2000.

In the last several years the trend has been to put in normally sized return air filter grilles that hold standard size filters. If you get a smaller grille size filter and put it into the regular filter frame, the filter will be undersized enough to go right through the frame and into the duct work

To find which size you need, open the filter frame door. Measure the door exactly. This should be the size of the filter. Next, get a permanent marker and write the measurements on the inside of the door.


How long will my A/C system last in our area, Southwest Florida.

Most change-outs happen at the 10 year mark, you can put your money on it!

Preventative maintenance helps prolong the life of the unit, helps prevent unnecessary breakdowns and helps keep it running as efficiently as possible. Regardless of brand or price, they all break down and all have a life expectancy of about ten years. Motors, condenser coils, evaporator coils - they all seem to have an average life of about ten years.

Preventative maintenance: When a new unit breaks down for the first time it's usually 7 years old. You could put money on that one also! The best way to maintain your unit is pay for three times a year:

  • Fall maintenance: Check freon, replace filters, algae tablets, service drain lines, visually inspect for potential breakdowns, check electrical, change battery in thermostat, turn on heater to burn off dust, check working status
  • Spring maintenance: Check freon, replace filters, algae tablets, service drain lines, visual inspection for potential breakdowns, check electrical.
  • Summer maintenance: Your drain pan and line is growing slime---again. Spring preventative maintenance is gone by now because your A/C has run so much. It's time to have drains flushed, and tabs added to the pan. Preventative maintenance is a good idea in July. It is cheaper to pay for preventative maintenance then a service call from a water leak.



If you’re A/C is around 10 years old and you think it will keep chugging along for 1 more season, you’re a gambler!

You have two choices. You can calmly, wisely, without stress, make an informed decision about a major expense to your home. Or you can on the spur of the moment under stress, in the hot humid weather make a fast expensive decision because your A/C has died and it is too old to repair.



Save yourself a spur of the moment decision.


? Pool Heaters ?

"Little Johnny's coming for a visit"

Every year we get that phone call a few days before Thanksgiving. "My grandchildren will be here in 1 or 2 days and my pool heater is not working. We don't use the pool heater except when the grandchildren come"

It takes a few days of continuous running, 24 hours a day to heat up a pool: that's why you turn it on early. Either you or your home watch person can turn it on 2 weeks ahead of when you'll need it to see if it is working at all and then turn the temperature up 3 or 4 days before you need it.

When a pool heater isn't working, it is only a quick fix about half the time. The other half, it is a more costly fix, or a pool heater replacement. Plan ahead: get the heater running early so that if you have to replace the heater you have the time to make a good financial decision!

Condo or community pools??
Experiment with your pool heater to see if it will cycle as it is expected to; start it 2 weeks before needed. Then turn it up to the temperature needed 3 to 4 days before all the visiting guests arrive to have a warm pool the evening they get off the airplane for their holiday vacation.

Avoid the emergency situation. A few dollars of prevention is worth the delay you can face without it.


Gramma Sampson's Home Made cornbread:

Preheat oven and iron skillet to 450F.

Dry ingredients:
   1 1/2 Tbs. baking powder
   1/2 tsp. baking soda
   1/2 cup sugar (optional)
   1 1/3 cups corn meal
Mix dry ingredients.
Wet ingredients:
   1 beaten egg
   1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Mix wet ingredients. Add to dry ingredients, and stir just until combined.
Put 1 Tbs. vegetable oil in the heated skillet.
Pour in the batter.
Bake at 450F. for 17 minutes. Top will be dark golden brown.


Stay tuned for more tips from Ken!!