Air Conditioner Efficiency for your Home

Efficiency

Keeping your air conditioner clean is important in the summer. Dirt, in the form of grass clippings, pet hair or mud will block the air flow. When this happens, you will notice a decrease in performance. Condenser coils need to be cleaned because they are exposed to the out door elements. You can maintain condenser coil efficiency by simply washing the unit. Turn off any electrical power first to your system. The evaporator coils are harder to get at. The visual check is not as simple as the condenser coils. But they are in need of maintenance as well. Since the evaporator coil is continuously exposed to airflow circulated by the blower, it’s susceptible to buildup of dust or dirt. When airborne particles form a layer on coil surfaces, efficiency of the heat transfer from the air to the refrigerant is diminished.

Thermostat Problems

If your system seems to never shut off, there may be an issue with your thermostat. It may be that your home has reached the correct temperature, but the thermostat is not registering the conditions in the home. In this case, your air conditioner unit will continue running. One way to check the thermostat is to place another thermometer near the location of the thermostat. After an hour or two, check the reading. If it is at or near your desired home temperature, there may be a problem with your thermostat. Make sure to contact us so we can inspect the thermostat for you.

Air Leaks

Poor sealing or insufficient insulation is another common culprit, which can cause your unit to run constantly and inefficiently. If your home is not closed up tight while your air conditioning system is in use, you may be losing cool air that you need during the summer through small holes or non-insulated walls or roof. If there are air leaks in your basement, the air is forced out. This can negatively impact your summer cooling bills.

Benefits of Variable Speed Air Conditioners

Variable Speed

While standard air conditioners can only turn either completely on or off, a variable-speed air conditioner can run at different speeds depending on the cooling needs of your home. This helps to make variable-speed air conditioners much more energy efficient. Variable speed air conditioners adjust to the needs of your home. This way the air conditioner can run at a low setting most of the summer, saving you money in the long run.

How they Work

The main component of an air conditioner is the compressor. New variable-speed air conditioners have compressors that can run at different speeds to cool your home at different rates. The compressor is responsible for pumping refrigerant to and from your indoor unit’s coils. When it is extremely hot out, the compressor will speed up and pump cool refrigerant to your home’s air handler more quickly. Your blower will also run at a higher speed. When the weather is more mild, the compressor slows down and cools your home more slowly. The air conditioner runs for longer periods, but at a lower, more efficient setting.

Benefits

The air conditioner can also save you more money. An air conditioner uses a spike of energy to start up each time. So the fewer times the air conditioner turns on, the more it saves. Also remember to adjust the setting. When the air conditioner does run, it’s usually at a lower, more energy efficient setting.

Even Temperatures

The longer run time of variable-speed air conditioners helps distribute the cool air more evenly throughout your home. That means fewer hot and cold spots. Since it runs at lower speeds, it’s also much quieter. You may hardly know the variable-speed air conditioner is there. Since variable-speed air conditioners run longer at slower speeds, they remove more humidity than their standard counterparts. That level of humidity control is especially comforting during the muggy summers. If you are looking to invest in a new air conditioner, make sure to contact us.

 

Keeping the Air Quality Ideal in your Home

quality

Combustion pollutants are gases or particles that come from burning materials. This can include gas stoves, water heaters, dryers, and others that are either improperly vented or not vented at all. Types and amounts of pollutants produced will vary depending on how well the appliance was installed. It is also affected by how it is maintained, and vented, as well as what kind of fuel it uses. A few common combustion pollutants include carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. These are both of which are colorless, odorless gases.

Remove pollutants

Volatile organic compounds are a variety of organic chemicals that are released as gases from certain solids or liquids. These are found in household products, including paints and varnishes, cleaning and disinfecting supplies. You will also find them in pesticides, craft materials like glues, adhesives, and permanent markers, air fresheners and other synthetic fragrances, dry-cleaned clothing, carpets, sealing caulks and solvents. You can purchase an air purifier to help remove these from the air in your home.

Notice signs of asthma

Asthma and allergy triggers can also reduce the air quality in your home. Some household triggers include mold, dust mites, pollen, secondhand smoke, and pet dander are some. At any given time a home may have mold growing on a shower curtain, dust mites in pillows, blankets or stuffed animals. Also, cat and dog hair on the floor and upholstery.

There are some things you can do to improve the air quality. Open the windows as much as possible, even just for a few minutes. Clean or change all the filters in your house regularly, particularly if you use an air conditioner, air purifier, and vacuum. If you are not sure how often this should be, make sure to contact us. This way we can advise you on the correct schedule that you should follow to have clean air in your home. Adjust your humidity levels accordingly with a moisture or humidity gauge, this will help improve the air.

Ideal in-home humidity levels should hover around 45%. Anything under 30% is too dry, over 50% is too high and can contribute to mold growth. To increase humidity, use a vaporizer or humidifier. To decrease humidity, open the windows, turn on a fan or air conditioner, or use a dehumidifier. If you think there is poor air quality in your home, contact us and we can inspect it. By doing so, you can help to breathe easier. You will also have better air quality in your home as well.

Regular Inspections this Summer

inspections

 

Having regular inspections done this summer help improve the efficiency of your air conditioner. Not only will you give yourself the best chance at staying cool all summer and avoiding emergency breakdowns, but you will also save money on your energy bills. A well maintained air conditioning unit would run more efficiently, use less energy, and cost less money to run. Properly maintained systems will last longer before needing to be replaced. If you are not sure how often to inspect the air conditioner, make sure to contact us, and we can advise you on the correct schedule.

Importance of Air Conditioner Maintenance

Replacing your air conditioner air filter is important. If you have a reusable filter, then cleaning it is one of the most important regular maintenance. It should be done every month during high-use seasons, as well as once during the fall and spring. You can locate the filter behind the return air grille on a wall or ceiling in a central room of the house. Also inside the blower compartment of the air handler, or in a slot on the side, bottom, or top of your system. When the filter becomes full of dust, dirt and allergen particles, the airflow will decrease. This will make your system work harder than it should have to. The air flowing through your system may also become dirtier, dustier, and prone to triggering allergy and asthma symptoms.

System inspections

Before working on an air conditioner, always start by turning off the power to the unit. Do this at the service disconnect on your outdoor unit or at the main breaker panel of your home. Next, remove the access panel on your condensing unit and see if you see any signs of overheating. This can included melted insulation on wires, blackened or burned-looking wires.

Also do inspections for the thermostat to make sure it’s working properly and keeps your home at the right temperature. If you have an older, mechanical type thermostat, you may want to consider upgrading to a programmable model. A programmable thermostat allows you to set the temperature higher when no one is home. It also will cool the house down about 30 minutes before people arrive home for the evening. That way you will always have a comfortable home waiting for you. You will also save energy and money by not having your air conditioner running all day when no one is at home.

Over time leaves, dirt, grass clippings and the like will build up on the outside of the air conditioner unit. This results in decreasing system capacity and reducing airflow. Regular inspections can help improve the efficiency of the air conditioning unit.

 

The Air Conditioning Filter for your Home

air conditioning filter

 

Knowing when to change the filter for your air conditioner in your home is important. Several factors determine when your filters need to be changed. The main thing to remember is if it looks dirty, change it immediately. You shouldn’t wait until the filter is completely filthy though, because that means your cooling system is not running at its full potential.

Type of Filter

One of the primary influences of how often you need to change the filter in your home is what type of filter you buy.  Filters vary from each other in several ways. This is based on what materials they’re made with, if they are pleated or panel, the thickness, and other variations. When you purchase a filter, it should have a recommended time when it’ll need to be replaced. Some need to be changed monthly, while others can last up to six months. If you are not sure how often to change it, contact us, and we can advise you on the correct schedule.

Those in your Home

Another main factor in how often you should change the filter is based on who is living in the home. If you have anyone who suffers from allergies, you should be changing the filters more often than recommended. This will help remove more of the allergens from the air in your home. If the filter is full and dirty, it won’t be able to trap them.

Do you have Pets?

Another occupant to consider when deciding how soon filters need to be changed is any pets that you have in your home. The majority of cats and dogs shed, and their hair gets everywhere. That includes your filters, which will alter the performance of your cooling system. So if you have a pet or multiple pets in your home, you’ll most likely need to change the filter more often. The best way to know how often is to check it. Also, depending on the seasons, you may need to change the filter at different intervals. Animals shed more in hotter months, so keep that in mind when it comes to checking your filters.

Replacing a dirty filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5 to 10 percent. Not only will it save you money on your energy bills, but it also can save you money on your cooling system. A dirty filter will restrict your air flow, causing your system to work harder. This will cause wear and can create issues that possibly require repairs. Also continuous wear on your system will lower the lifespan of your system.

Air Conditioning Maintenance is Important

air conditioning maintenance

The air conditioning is important to keeping your home cool and comfortable. There are several parts you should inspect for the HVAC system as well. The ductwork that runs through your walls and ceilings carries the cooled air from the air conditioner throughout your space. However, if there are holes or breaks in the ducts, that expensive cooled air will be wasted. This also causes your air conditioner to work harder and drive up your energy bills.

Thermostat

Make sure to check the thermostat. Especially if you still have the old dial-type thermostats, they could be incorrectly calibrated. Your air conditioner is not getting the right instructions from the control system. This problem is fairly easy to fix by replacing or re-calibrating your thermostats. If you have new programmable thermostats, sometimes these are difficult to program and they may be set incorrectly. If you still have the manual, check the instructions to make sure your thermostat’s settings are correct. You can also contact us and we can inspect the thermostat for you.

All the moisture that your air conditioner removes from the air has to go somewhere. It’s supposed to be removed from the space through a drain line, into a pan and finally down a drain. If the line or drain gets clogged or the pan gets full, the water can back up and damage your system. You can also wind up with water leaks that damage your walls, ceilings, and furnishings. If you don’t see it right away, you will eventually have mold growth. Having it inspected can help ensure that it is working efficiently.

Replace the Filter

You should also replace the air filters for your HVAC system. Airflow problems that lead to coils freezing are often caused by clogged air filters. If you are not sure how often to check the filter, make sure to contact us. We will advise you on the schedule to ensure the filter is clean and free of debris.

Check the ductwork

Also inspect the ductwork. You will want to repair it if there are any holes. If it seems like there’s not enough air coming from the registers, or your energy bills keep going up, have us look at the condition of your ductwork.

Make sure to take time and brush the debris away from around the unit that is outside. If the condenser or fan gets clogged with leaves, it will not work efficiently. It should also be cleaned of trash, dirt, and other debris. If the unit is clogged, it cannot get rid of the heat as effectively as it could otherwise. Noticing an issue early can help prevent time, money, and stress in the long run.

The technology for your HVAC System

HVAC technology

Technology advancements are always being developed for the HVAC systems on the market. We will inspect your home and advise you on the right system for you. Anytime you notice something out of the norm, make sure to contact us. This will help you save time, money, and stress in the long run. Having a technician inspect the system can ensure all the parts are working correctly. The ductwork, thermostat, and general unit should all be inspected. With new HVAC technology available for homes, we can advise you on the best options. Programmable thermostats are a popular option. Some programmable thermostats can be controlled by your smart phone.

Geothermal

Geothermal technology works by drawing energy, out of the earth. When you need to heat your home, the geothermal heat pump pulls the heat from the ground and distributes it into the system. When you need cooling, the process is reversed and the system draws warmth out of the home. You also get free hot water from geothermal technology, making this one a smart option you can have installed in your home today. A home is not always able to have geothermal energy, so contact us. We can inspect your home, location, and other things to ensure that geothermal energy is beneficial for you.

 

Remember Maintenance

No matter what HVAC system you have, it is always important to have it maintained. If you are not sure of the regular schedule, make sure to contact us. A maintenance schedule will benefit your HVAC system. Proper inspection and maintenance will save you money in the long run. If you notice an issue between visits, contact us. Changing the filter regularly can help with the efficiency of the system as well. Make sure the filter is the correct size. We can recommend the best filter for your HVAC system, and your household. With all the options for HVAC technology, make sure to take advantage of this. These options can offer you an easier way to care and look after your home.

Spring HVAC Tune-Ups

spring

 

The spring season is the best time to have your air conditioner inspected. An early start is needed to help ensure the air conditioner will work efficiently. HVAC maintenance should be an annual priority. There are three reasons to place air conditioning at a high priority for the season.

Improve Air Quality

If you are sensitive to mold, dust or other airborne materials, you will want the best air quality. You may be surprised to discover that there can be some in your HVAC system. Your air filter plays a minor role in trapping these materials. Particles still make their way past it though. As they settle on the coils in your air handling unit, they combine with moisture in the area. A layer of grime can develop. Sometimes this can be difficult to get rid of. It is an ideal spot for molt and bacteria to form. If you are not sure when to change the filter, make sure to contact us.

Clean the Ductwork

Some airborne particles continue along to your ducts. If you have never had duct cleaning performed on your system, now is an ideal time. Ductwork can provide a home to insects, dust mites and rodents when your HVAC system is not in use.

Spring Tuneups

Regular spring tune-ups can also help save you money. The layer on your indoor coils and dirt on your outside coils can represent approximately 30 percent of a cooling bill in an extreme case. Blockages and leaks in your ducts can add 20 percent or more to your energy usage. Low refrigerant may result in another 20 percent or more in cooling energy required keeping your home comfortable.

You will want to make sure your air conditioner is ready to run when you flip the switch. Preventative care allows issues to be diagnosed before they become serious. While you will not avoid all potential breakdowns, you can reduce your potential for a malfunction. Make sure to contact us, so we can inspect the HVAC system for you this spring.

Why Preventative Maintenance is Needed

preventative maintenance

 

Preventative maintenance for your air conditioner is important. You will want to make sure you contact us so we can inspect it. If you are not sure how often the system should be tuned up, contact us. We can advise you on a regular schedule so your HVAC system is working efficiently. Annual preventative maintenance enables your system to use energy more efficiently. System maintenance includes cleaning the cooling coils, blades and other components. Clean cooling coils generate cool air more efficiently. The system uses less energy to produce cool air, costing you less to operate the unit.

Extending the System’s Life

Regular maintenance will keep your system running well over its entire lifecycle. One of the main reasons that HVAC systems fail before the end of their estimated lifecycle is because of lack of maintenance. Maintain your system each year and your system will maintain your comfort for years to come.

Improves Air Quality

As you use your air conditioning system over the season, dirt and debris collect inside the cages and components of the unit. These can be released into the air inside your home, decreasing the quality of the indoor air. When you have routine maintenance performed, the technician cleans the dirt and debris so that the particulates do not pollute the indoor air.

Less Repairs

When you have your heating system and air conditioner regularly maintained, you reduce the chances that you will face a costly emergency repair in the future. We can check for damaged or worn parts and will notify you of any need for a part replacement. You can replace the part to prevent further damage and avoid a possible emergency call. Also cleaning and maintenance will also extend the life of your compressor. The compressor is a major component of the system and can be a very costly repair. With heavy use, dirt and film collect on the cleaning coils. Dirty cleaning coils cause the compressor to work harder to compress the refrigerant. By having the coils cleaned during annual air conditioner maintenance, you can reduce the demand on the compressor and avoid a major repair.

 

Why Regular Inspections are Needed

 

The exterior condenser unit is the large box located on the side of the building that is designed to push heat from the inside of the building to the outdoors. Inside of the box are coils of pipe that are surrounded by thousands of thin metal “fins” that allow the coils more surface area to exchange heat.

  • Remove any leaves, spider webs and other debris from the unit’s exterior. Trim foliage back several feet from the unit to ensure proper air flow.
  • Remove the cover grille to clean any debris from the unit’s interior. A garden hose can be helpful for this task.
  • Straighten any bent fins with a tool called a fin comb.
  • Clean the evaporator coil and condenser coil at least once a year.  When they collect dirt, they may not function properly.

Condensate drain lines collect condensed water and drain it away from the unit.  They are located on the side of the inside fan unit.

  • Inspect the drain line for obstructions, such as algae and debris. If the line becomes blocked, water will back up into the drain pan and overflow, potentially causing a safety hazard or water damage to your home.
  • Make sure the hoses are secured and fit properly.

 

Air filters remove pollen, dust and other particles that would otherwise circulate indoors. Most filters are typically rectangular in shape and about 20 inches by 16 inches, and about 1 inch thick. They slide into the main ductwork near the inside fan unit. The filter should be periodically washed or replaced, depending on the manufacturer’s instructions. A dirty air filter will not only degrade indoor air quality, but it will also strain the motor to work harder to move air through it, increasing energy costs and reducing energy efficiency. The filter should be replaced monthly during heavy use during the cooling seasons. You may need to change the filter more often if the air conditioner is in constant use, if building occupants have respiratory problems, if  you have pets with fur, or if dusty conditions are present.