When your air conditioner is fully operational, it can keep you comfortable during the hottest days of the year. It’s imperative, therefore, that you maintain your AC unit throughout its lifetime. Spring is a great time to think about how you might tune–up your AC.
To tune–up your AC means inspecting, cleaning, repairing, and, if necessary, replacing parts of your system. To be done properly, much of this work requires the expertise of an air conditioning professional. A properly installed and serviced AC unit will maximize your energy–efficiency, and will help to save you money.
The first step is to call a professional. An expert technician will be able to assess any issues in the compressor, coils, refrigerant levels, electrical supply and thermostat. Attempting to do so yourself may be dangerous and could prove costly. Here a few maintenance tune–ups even the most efficient air conditioners could benefit from:
- Clean or replace the air filter. Your air filter is one of the most important parts of your AC unit. It promotes airflow and prevents the passage of dust and other allergens from entering your ductwork or home. If you are highly–sensitive to allergens, particularly those that come about in the spring time, then this is an absolute must. Air filters also keep the parts of your AC unit working properly by preventing the accumulation of dust and other materials on the internal structure. Check your air filter monthly.
- Insulate the ductwork. Your ducts are the structural skeleton of your indoor air system. They make the measured and even distribution of cool air possible, but they depend upon a closed system. As well as repairing or sealing any duct leaks and testing that the system is efficient, insulating ductwork tends to significantly reduce heating and cooling loss, sometimes up to 30%. By sealing air leaks, your cooling professional may be able to save you serious money this spring and summer.
- Install a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat allows you to customize your home temperature for specific times of the day and days of the week. Not only will adjusting your temperature automatically cut costs, but it is also takes care of your home comfort for you.
Remember that only a professional AC technician can tune–up your system for this upcoming cooling season. Call one today.
The age of information has brought with it an age of myths and partial truths. Knowing the myths from the facts, and understanding the way some so–called tips conceal the whole truth, is a valuable lesson in learning more about the way your cooling system actually works. For customers who are eager to make their air conditioning systems more energy–efficient and cost–effective, some of these may come as a surprise. Remember to consult a professional about any cooling concerns during the spring and summer months.
- The higher the SEER rating of my AC unit, the higher my total energy–efficiency. The SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) measures how efficiently the system can cool the living spaces. While it is true that units with a high SEER rating often significantly cut air conditioning costs, there are other factors to consider. For example, if your ductwork contains leaks or is clogged with dust and other debris, your cooling system will still suffer energy loss due to lack of airflow, no matter how efficient your air conditioner is.
- Blasting my AC at the hottest parts of the day is the best way to keep my home cool. While this is at least partially true, the best way to ensure that your home stays cool throughout the day is a more moderate thermostat schedule. Ensuring that your home is properly insulated, including the duct system and the areas of the house through which it runs, means keeping that cool air inside, and reducing energy costs. What’s more, blasting your AC is not an efficient use of the system: it costs more money and energy than relying on gradual shifts in temperature.
- Fans cool the air. Fans do not necessarily cool air, but they do help by moving air around in a given space. Ceiling fans can be useful to help with ventilation but aren’t as affective as central AC.
- Duct tape seals ducts. Your central air system relies on extensive ductwork to circulate cool air throughout your home. Sealed ducts are therefore important to keeping your home cool and your system efficient. Despite its name, duct tape does not actually seal ducts very well. It was created as a temporary fix. Contact a professional to have him use a proper sealing material.
- Turning up my thermostat when I leave the home helps to reduce air conditioning costs. Well, sort of. While it’s better to raise the temperature of your cooling system during the day when you’re not there, rather than turning it off completely, but the crucial considerations are for how long and exactly how much of a temperature differential. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that you’ll benefit the most from this technique only if it is done for at least 8 hours and for no more than 5 degrees. Otherwise, it does not make a substantial difference. Keep in mind that multi–stage heat pumps are also designed to save energy in this way, so raising the thermostat would actually make your heat pump less efficient.