If your home is like two-thirds of the homes in the United States, you have air conditioning. The typical air conditioner lasts between 10 and 15 years, with proper AC repair and maintenance. Heating and cooling eats up nearly 50% of the energy we expend, and it matters what air conditioning companies we hire because improper installation of our systems can make them run 30% less efficiently. Yet improper installation is not the only issue. There are some things that our air conditioning companies really wish that we knew and did if we want efficient HVAC operation. Here are five of them.
- Invest in a programmable thermostat. Everyone has their preferred theory about how to save energy, but when everyone’s out of the house there is simply no reason for the air conditioner to be working at full force. You can dramatically reduce your costs just by putting in a programmable thermostat. This lets you set the system to use less energy when everyone’s gone, but use your smartphone to crank up the air in time for everyone to come home to a nice, cool house. You can save 5% on your heating costs, too, for every 2° you lower your thermostat in the winter.
- Your ducts really matter. Air conditioner companies wish that you would get air conditioning repair and maintenance more often, not just because they want business, but because they know a well-maintained air-conditioner runs the most efficiently and is least likely to experience a catastrophic break and expensive repairs. HVAC experts say that about 75% of the calls they get in the winter complaining of no heat can ultimately be traced back to simple lack of maintenance. Even a tiny hole in your air ducts, especially in the basement, dramatically decreases the efficiency of your air conditioning unit. Annual inspections make sure that your ducts are healthy, and are just one necessary bit of maintenance that saves you money in the long run.
- Stop neglecting your filters. Your air conditioner is not a set-it-and-forget-it piece of equipment. Having clean air filters is essential so the unit can work efficiently, and it’s also important to ensure that you are breathing clean air. You should always put in new filters at the beginning of every season, and air filters need to be changed about once every one to three months during operation. How often you change them will depend on the dust levels where you live, as well as any problems with allergies that your family has. If you have pets, plan to change your filters more often.
- Your air conditioner will need to be recharged; but only very, very rarely. If air conditioning companies come along telling you to recharger refrigerant all the time, it might be a scam. Low refrigerant is almost always a result of leaks. The leak needs to be fixed, and you need some assurance that this is been done before any more refrigerant is put in the tank. When your HVAC system is installed, pay close attention to how much refrigerant is put in. If you ever have to fix a leak, check the before and after weight the refrigerant tank.
- Size does matter. You might think that air conditioning companies are just trying to up-sell their sponsored brand when they recommend a certain unit. But HVAC systems must fit the size of the building where they are being installed. Units that are too small will run constantly, cool ineffectively, break down regularly, and have a shortened lifespan. At the same time, units that are too big will be shutting on and off constantly, which makes for her higher energy bills and electricity consumption, as well as wear and tear on the unit. Air conditioning companies will be able to tell you precisely what load is required to sufficiently heat and cool your property.
You want your air conditioner to run efficiently, provide good service, and last for years to come. Contact your local air conditioning companies to find out about air conditioning options, and follow these tips to make sure you keep your system running well.