Five Tips for a Happy, Healthy Air Conditioning System
Cold air conditioning is as important to us southerners as sweet tea and football. There’s nothing like coming home to a perfectly cooled home on a hot summer day. Because a quality air conditioner is a sizable investment in the comfort of your home, it’s important to take care of it. The US Department of Energy recommends regular maintenance to your air conditioning system to increase its efficiency and improve its performance — which means it keeps you cooler throughout these hot southern summers.
Air conditioners work like refrigerators. They create coolness in one place and will move it to another place. A blower fan forces cooled air into your ductwork and through the vents to cool off individual rooms, A thermostat controls how much cool air is produced and distributed throughout your home. Thermostats monitor indoor temperatures and by turning off and on, they maintain a consistent indoor temperature throughout your home that matches the thermostat setting.
When the thermostat setting calls for more cool air to maintain a given indoor temperature, the air handler pulls in air from the individual rooms via the return air vents. That air is pushed through a filter that traps debris, particles, dust, and dirt that’s present in the air. The filter is one of the most important and easily maintained part of your air conditioning system, which is why it’s first on our list of tips to keep your unit healthy.
Set Your Own Filter Day: Pick a number between 1 and 30. Go ahead, we’ll wait. That number is your Filter Day. Set a recurring alert on your smart phone to check your filter on the same day each month. Your filter doesn’t necessarily have to be changed every 30 days, but it’s a good idea to check in on it once a month. At Thompson and Thompson we recommend replacing your filter at least every 3 months.
Dirt, dust, pollen, debris, and pet hair can clog your air conditioner’s filter. This can obstruct airflow which hinders the efficiency of your air conditioner. This means that it’s working harder to keep your home cool, which can lead to higher electricity usage and a higher electric bill. A severely clogged filter can even send particles and debris into the air conditioner unit which have the potential to cause costly damage to your system.
A clean filter is a happy filter, and a happy filter is an important part of the overall health of your air conditioner.
Be Your Air Conditioner’s Biggest Fan: Did you know that a fan can make your home feel about 5 degrees cooler? In the warm summer months, using fans throughout your home can greatly improve the efficiency of your air conditioning system. Your air conditioner creates cold air and distributes it throughout your home through the vents in each room. Because hot air rises, the cooler air moves towards the floor. A fan helps move the cooler air around the room efficiently which leads to a consistently comfortable temperature throughout the home.
Ceiling fans are ideal for moving large amounts of air throughout a space, but floor level fans do a great job, too. While fans do use a small amount of energy to run, they allow you to turn your air conditioner’s thermostat up a few degrees while maintaining the same comfort. This means your air conditioner is using less power which leads to a lower electric bill.
A Little Space Goes a Long Way: Your condenser unit needs space to breathe. We know that big metal box isn’t the most attractive thing to have in your yard, but it’s imperative to the overall function of your air conditioner system. We’ve seen homeowners try to conceal their condensers with landscaping or even building a structure around it. Anything that blocks the airflow to your condenser can damage it, so it’s important keep the landscaping around your unit well manicured so it doesn’t impede performance.
Did you know that a dirty condenser coil can increase compressor energy consumption by 30%? That’s a lot of energy wasted! Keep your condenser coil clean by removing any weeds or overgrowth around the base of your unit. We recommend clearing the ground around the unit and surrounding it with stepping stones or gravel. This keeps errant weeds from popping up and finding their way into your condenser.
Get Regular Service: We visit the dentist twice a year to keep your teeth clean and healthy. We see our physicians each year for a general checkup. These measures keep our bodies healthy and help us spot any potential problems before they become major. Our air conditioner systems need the same care and attention. Annual servicing is the best way to proactively keep your air conditioner system running smoothly all year long. At Thompson and Thompson, our Air Conditioning Maintenance Visits include a deep cleaning of the unit as well as a thermostat check, calibration, lubricate all moving parts, drain line and drain pan cleaning, tightening all electrical connections, checking refrigerant levels, and checking the ductwork for leaks.
Annual maintenance visits help your certified air conditioning technician spot a small problem early before it becomes a major problem.
Pay Attention: Your air conditioner system will let you know if it needs attention. There are a variety of indicators that there is a problem with your unit. Notice unusual behavior like blowing warm air, unusual noises, puddles around the indoor unit, frozen evaporator coil, unusually high electric bills, poor air flow, bad smells, or high indoor humidity. If you notice any of these indicators, call an air conditioning professional immediately. .
These are a few things you can do to keep your air conditioning unit running efficiently. Regular maintenance leads to a longer lifespan for the unit.