Does it feel like your air conditioning unit isn’t working as well as it could? There are several ways you could tell. Obviously, if you feel like you’re never cool enough, that’s a pretty obvious sign there’s something wrong. Believe it or not, your air conditioner shouldn’t be running all day, either. If it never seems to let up, it could be because it’s not cooling the air effectively enough.
An inefficient air conditioning unit isn’t just a problem for your comfort, either. The less efficient your air conditioner, the more strain it’ll put on your power bill. The last thing you want is to be too afraid of your power bill to use your AC. Here’s how to make sure that doesn’t happen. These are our four best tips for making sure you get the most out of your air conditioner this summer. Follow these tips, and you can cool down without driving your power bill up.
Replace the Air Filter
When an air conditioner isn’t operating efficiently enough, the air filter is always the first thing we check. All the air that passes through your AC unit passes through the air filter. As the air passes through, the filter blocks pollutants from passing through with it. These pollutants stay trapped in the filter, and the air that passes into your home is fresh and clean. The pollutants the air filter catches build up on it.
Eventually, the filter gets “clogged” with pollutants. That clog makes it harder for air to pass through the filter. Some of the cold air your air conditioner produces gets trapped inside the unit. Without that air, Your AC unit has to run for longer periods of time to lower the temperature. For you, that translates to either a higher power bill, a hotter house, or both. Dirty air filters can even seriously hurt your AC unit. The more your AC unit runs, the faster the filter gets dirty. We recommend replacing your air conditioner’s air filter once a month if you’re running it very frequently.
Rinse the Unit
When your air conditioner cools air, it draws in hot air from your home and passes it over the evaporator coils. At the same time as the hot air passes into the unit, the unit transfers refrigerant into the coil. When the refrigerant enters the coil, it evaporates into its gaseous state. In the process of evaporating, the refrigerant absorbs all the heat in the air nearby, cooling it very quickly.
When the hot air in your unit evaporates, it releases humidity in the form of condensation. This condensation often lands on the evaporator coils. Dirt, grime, and dust collects in this moisture, which means it ends up building up on the coils, too. When the evaporator coils get dirty, the refrigerant can’t absorb heat through them as efficiently. Like dirty air filters, dirty coils force your air conditioner to work harder to achieve cool air–making it less effective. You can find your evaporator coils behind the access panel in the indoor AC unit. Scrub the evaporator coils with mild detergent and water once a month during peak use season.
Clear the Airway
Your vent system cycles cool air throughout your home, but the air itself originates from unit itself. The AC unit sucks in hot air from inside your home, cools it, and releases it back into your home. In other words, all the air that passes into your AC system gets there from a few places. Hot air inside your home gets back into the system via the air return vent. After the evaporator coil absorbs hot air, it expels it out of the system via the compressor.
The air return vents of your air conditioner are located inside your home. The compressor is located in the unit outside the home, so it can expel hot air outside. If something blocks or impedes either of these systems, your AC won’t work nearly as effectively. Make sure the air entering the air return isn’t hotter than the air in the rest of the home. Keep the air return vent open and unimpeded whenever the AC unit is operating. Clear the area around the outdoor compressor unit to make sure it can expel hot air effectively.
Keep the Cool In
Your air conditioner works by sending cool air into your home to lower the temperature. If you want it to work effectively, you have to make sure that cool air actually stays in your home! Cool air can leak out of your home in all kinds of ways. Poor insulation, open windows, or even cracks in window or door frames can let cold air out too quickly.
The more cold air escapes, the more your AC has to supply. It’s also possible that something in your home is reheating the air. Heat-producing fixtures like ovens, showers, or electronic devices add a lot of heat to the air around them. Even sunlight warms up your home more than you’d think. Eliminate as much air loss as possible by sealing cracks and gaps around your home with caulk. Make sure your AC has a little as possible to “fight,” too. Consider closing the blinds during hot days, especially when you’re not home. Don’t use the oven or run too many heat-producing electronics at once. Keep cold air in, and you’ll get much more cooling for your buck.
Often, an air conditioning unit becomes inefficient because there’s something seriously wrong with it. One of the best ways you can prevent serious AC trouble this summer is by intercepting it before it happens. Performing preventative maintenance on your AC will keep you cool and keep your bills down at the same time.
If you need help with your AC maintenance, or if you need quick and effective AC repair, give Mike Diamond a call any time. We have everything we need to make sure you get your AC back in no time. Stay cool!