Adapted from article posted at DE/PA ServiceMark by George Davis on July 6, 2016
Every homeowner would like to save on his or her electric bills this summer. Learning the rules to central air conditioning system care and what habits to avoid will all contribute to less energy consumption per month.
Take a minute to understand your current electricity habits by examining last years’ energy bills. Is there a significant pattern here? Be sure to keep this pattern in mind as you monitor your AC’s electrical usage this summer.
Now, let’s review the correct “Do’s” and all the “Don’ts” to avoid, in order to cut back on expenses and get the best performance value out of your AC system.
DO – Proper Air Conditioning Maintenance
Not only can relearning ways to efficiently use your AC save you money on monthly electricity bills, it can increase the longevity of the unit; reducing the likelihood of having to replace it with another costly unit down the line. Taking the necessary steps to protect your HVAC appliances, especially the air conditioner, can dramatically reduce the chances of appliance failures and breakdowns. This is another area where money could be saved. Here are some items to check off your list for air conditioning maintenance in your home as we get into the hot and humid summer months.
DO – Check the Thermostat
A properly functioning and calibrated thermostat is vital when it comes to efficient home air conditioning usage. Be sure to invest in a quality digital thermostat. These models rarely break. If your thermostat is broken, your air conditioning will not function correctly, or at all. This is an item that should be inspected pre-season, every year during your annual central air conditioning tune up. Also, avoid leaving the thermostat setting on all the time. If you wish, you can set your thermostat to the FAN ON position to constantly clean and circulate air through-out the home and help cool hard to condition areas, or rooms, especially on a second floor.
Don’t have your thermostat set on the coolest setting. This is a frequent mistake made by homeowners. Keep your indoor temperature settings at efficient levels to acquire the right amount of cooling in your home.
In the south-west region, an energy-saving setting on your thermostat of 78 degrees is suggested. This is not only a cool setting but one that should also reduce humidity levels making you feel cooler and more comfortable.
DO – Routine Cleaning for AC Units
Before every warm season begins, have your air conditioning system cleaned and restored by a certified professional HVAC technician. This can be a DIY job for homeowners that are experienced in handy work; however, it is recommended to have a professional HVAC technician accomplish this task for you. They retain the industry knowledge, experience, and equipment to get the job done right. Filters, panel doors, condenser coils, and more are all areas that require routine cleaning to promote a healthier indoor air quality and accurate unit performance for your home. A dirty system can reduce the indoor air quality, causing allergies, respiratory irritations, and other minor health implications. This can lead to costly medical and pharmacy bills.
DO – Maintain Refrigerant Levels
Do have your system serviced annually, not only to have it cleaned but to also have your refrigerant levels checked. Improper refrigerant charge will damage the compressor, which is basically the heart if the air conditioner. Without the compressor working, you have no air conditioning in hot weather. Before the compressor breaks down, you might notice that electricity bills will be high and the unit’s efficiency levels will be low.
- Allow weeds and other obstructions around the outside AC condensing unit
- Let insect and birds build nests in the outside unit and make sure sticks and leaves are not building up on top and around the unit preventing air flow
- Permit the outside unit to be off-level
- Let the inside air filter to get dirty – replace throw away filters on a monthly basis and clean permanent filters on a regular schedule
- Tamper with air conditioning refrigerant lines or electrical connections- this can be a dangerous situation and should ALWAYS be handled by a certified fully trained HVAC technician
For more information about how to properly care for your air conditioner, ducts or other indoor air systems, contact Hawthorne Plumbing, Heating & Cooling at 702-871-1005.