Although we use our air conditioners often, it’s likely many of us don’t know much about the system at a mechanical level. How do all the pieces work together to seamlessly provide us with cool air whenever we want? Without a little research, the system remains a mystery.
While we’re not going to explain how air conditioners work here, there are a few things that a homeowner should know in order to best care for their cooling system and ensure high efficiency and a long lifespan. In this blog we list the top 5 things you didn’t know you needed to know about your air conditioner.
What You Don’t Know About Air Conditioning
1. Dirty Filters Kill Airflow and Efficiency
Air filter aren’t just about air quality—they are about airflow and efficiency as well. During months of heavy use, an air conditioner’s filter needs to be replaced monthly in order to keep the unit functioning properly. When a filter becomes dirty, the system has to work harder to provide the same level of comfort. This overexertion will show in your utility bills. Why pay more for worse performance? You can stop your bills from rising and your system from clogging by changing the filter monthly or as needed. Check for the filter’s minimum efficiency reporting value, commonly called the MERV rating. The higher the rating, 1 to 12, the better filtration it provides. Once you get to MERV 14 and higher, however, you might need a professional modification to account for the larger filter size
2. Regular Maintenance is Crucial
Do you remember the last time a professional stopped by to inspect and clean your air conditioning system? Bi-annual maintenance for HVAC system is crucial for safety and longevity. Get your unit looked at once in the spring (for air conditioning) and once in the fall (for heating), in between the more intense weather months. Waiting until your system breaks down to call a professional is inefficient and dangerous! A technician will identify lurking issues, and deal with any repairs before you’re looking at a costly and premature system replacement. With regular professional maintenance, your air conditioner should last up to two decades! Without, you’ll be lucky to reach 10 years of use.
3. Condenser & Compressor Must Stay Clean and Clear
The condenser coil is located in the outdoor unit and is where refrigerant undergoes the process of returning from a gas to a liquid. A compressor raises the pressure of the refrigerant and moves it along. It works with a fan to complete the cycle. All of this is happening in the outdoor condenser unit. If you want your A/C to keep pumping out that cold air, it’s important to keep the outdoor unit clean and free from debris. Head out to your unit monthly to ensure that no debris is stuck in the fins. All sides of the unit should be clear of dirt, leaves, grass, hanging branches, or anything else up to at least 24 inches. That means trimming back encroaching plants and making sure not to stack anything on top of the unit.
4. You Can Help Keep Your A/C Cool
It’s your air conditioner’s job to keep you cool, but you can help! If the temperature in your home is already super hot before you turn on the unit, it has to work really hard to bring down the temperature and restore comfort. By keeping blinds and shades closed during the day, you help keep the indoor temperature down naturally and give your system a much-needed break. Keeping your unit from overworking will extend the life of your A/C. You can also assist your air conditioner by sealing up air leaks, improving insulation, and using ceiling fans or floor fans to create a wind-chill effect.
5. Technology + Thermostat = Worry-Free Comfort
A programmable or smart thermostat in conjunction with your central air conditioner will provide seamless and customizable comfort. When you are away, a programmable thermostat will raise the temperature while still minimizing heat. That way you won’t be paying in excess for cool air you’re not even home to enjoy. Always get home by 5pm? You can program your thermostat to have the house at your desired comfort level when you arrive and for the rest of the evening. Looking into the latest thermostat technology will improve the performance of your air conditioner and you can enjoy customized and cost-efficient comfort all year round.