Follow this guide to help maintain the efficiency of your air conditioner. It’s worth the extra time for an item that keeps you and your family comfortable all season long. By following these steps, you will likely see a decrease in your operating costs.
- First, if you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, get one! You can program it to run less based upon when you’re away, sleeping etc.
- For every degree you lower your thermostat, your energy bill raises approximately 3-4%.
- CHANGE YOUR FILTERS MONTHLY! We can’t stress this enough. Your blower motor works much harder to get air through a dirty air filter than it does a clean filter.
- Make sure visible ducts are sealed properly and entirely. Approximately 20% of conditioned air is lost due to duct leaks.
- About 89% of homes have inadequately sized duct work to support the SEER standards of today. Homes that are 20+ years old were simply built on what knowledge they had at the time and what the needs were. The needs are different now, and the duct work would likely be built differently if those homes were built today. During your spring tune-up be sure to have the technician inspect your duct work.
- As an added bonus, you can upgrade your system to an AccuComfort system which uses variable speed components to save energy and reduce your operating costs.
Things to Avoid
In all the years we have been in the HVAC business, we’ve noticed homeowners tend to have several mistakes in common with one another. These simple mistakes can cost you a lot of money or even compromise your system.
The most common thing we see, is homeowners wanting to up size their unit. This can cause the level of efficiency to go down significantly. Your air conditioner has two jobs:
1. cool your home
2. remove moisture from the air
An over-sized unit may cool the air quickly, but it will not run long enough to remove the moisture in the air. This causes that cold clammy feeling within your home. Over-sized units also tend to cycle on and off quite frequently. Not only will this shorten the life of the unit but it will cause your operating costs to increase as well.
If you want a system that cools better than your current unit, considering increasing SEER rather than tonnage.
The next most common thing we see is homeowners that think maintenance is unnecessary. Your air conditioner works really hard all season long. Neglecting this is like driving your car all over the country and never getting an oil change. Your air filters should be changed out monthly. A certified HVAC technician will test safety controls and check things like the temperature drop across your evaporator coil. At that time, they’ll also check the amperage of your motor. By checking these things, we can catch small issues before they turn into large issues.
If you turn your thermostat off or up while you’re away, don’t turn it down to an usually cold temperature once you return. Your home air conditioner does not work the same way your car air conditioner works. This does not cause your house to cool faster. If you end up forgetting to turn it back to a normal temperature, you will end up with a frigid house and a high energy bill.
In the event that you are doing something like this, you probably don’t have a programmable thermostat. Like we mentioned before, we highly recommend you get one as this can definitely improve your air conditioner efficiency.
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