Most people have been using air conditioning for most of their lives, and probably say they wouldn’t be able to live without it. Although we like the idea of air conditioning and enjoy the precious cool air during those brutally hot summer months here in Orlando, but how much do you actually know about it? We all know an AC unit keeps our homes temperature at a comfortable level, but have no idea how it works or what we should be even looking for to make sure it continues to deliver the precious cool air.
We are going to outline for ten things you should know about your air conditioning system.
#1 If You Hear Strange Noises, Get An Inspection
Think of your AC unit like a car. If when you turn it on and hear strange and unfamiliar sounds, it is most likely a sign that it should be inspected by a professional mechanic. The same goes for your air conditioning. An odd noise can mean a variety of things so it is recommended to have a professional inspect the system instead of your self as the technician knows what to eliminate in the system as a possible cause of the noise. Then they can tell you exactly what needs to be repaired so the sound doesn’t become a costly repair.
#2 Good Duct Work Is Vital
A good number of homeowners underestimate duct work and are completely unaware of how much this affects their air conditioners airflow. An air duct with leaks in it can directly impact how much energy is required to operate the unit, and if your air ducts are not secured, it will require more power – power that you pay for on your monthly energy bill. Indoor air quality is another factor that is overlooked. Air ducts are a breeding ground for bacteria and mold, so getting your air ducts cleaned is something to consider if you haven’t already.
#3 Don’t Keep Your AC Cranked Up High
One of the biggest energy expenses most Floridians have is their air conditioning because they use it so much. However, it doesn’t have to be this way as there are methods you can employ to keep your home cool without overworking your AC unit. By setting your thermostat a little higher when no-one is home and changing it back to your usual comfort level when get home is one way. Or you could close your blinds when you leave the house and shut off your system completely. By only using your unit when you absolutely have to, you can prevent it from breaking down too much and save on your monthly energy bill.
#4 ENERGY STAR Products Can Save You Money
ENERGY STAR products are simply the best your money can by when it comes to home appliances and HVAC systems. You can even calculate approximately how much money you will save by switching to an ENERGY STAR product on their site. You will even qualify for a tax credit based on what you buy because of how good these products are for the environment (they reduce your carbon footprint by a considerable amount). The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the U.S. Department of Energy has even said that, “Thanks to Energy Star, Americans saved enough power in 2010 to prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 33 million cars — all while saving nearly $18 billion on their utility bills.”
#5 What’s Your Attic Insulation Situation?
Th combination of leaky duct work and poor insulation will make it to where your are literally paying to have conditioned air pumped into your attic. As we mentioned earlier, leaky ducts can cause your living space to lose up to 30% of its airflow. Also, studies have shown that homes built over 5 years ago most likely have insufficient attic insulation. If you have poor insulation AND your ducts are leaking your are basically paying to have a nice, cool attic year round. That’s why you should only trust blown-in insulation and have your ducts checked for leaks as soon as possible.
#6 Air Circulation Is Everything
Your HVAC system is designed to have a certain amount of air pressure running through its ducts. Shutting vents and doors in your home will unbalance the stream of airflow that circulates through your house. Remember that the A/C was set up in your home with purpose and was designed with the thought that people should keep their doors and vents open to work at peak performance.
#7 Change the Air Filter Every Month
In Florida the average HVAC company will recommend that you change your air filters every month. This will keep your duct work and air quality in good order for years to come. The cleaner your air filter, the less your A/C has to work to pass air through it and the less dust and debris will get through to your ducts. Keeping up with your air filters in the most inexpensive way to take care of your HVAC system, so no excuses, change your air filters!
#8 Keep Things From Growing Into Your Outside Unit
The compressor and condenser are what’s located in the big metal box outside of your home. That HVAC unit can many times have vines and plant life that want to grow into it. Sometimes even the occasional animal can try to claim residence there. Whenever you’re out doing yard work spending time in your backyard be sure to keep a look out for these possible obstructions, they could cause some problems in the future!
#9 Programmable Thermostats Are Much More Convenient
Smart thermostats are the way of the future! The concept that programmable thermostats really utilize is the old set it, and forget it. With these thermostats, now you can set your A/C to turn up during the many hours a day that you and your family are away from the house. No need to pay to cool an empty house. Another time you may want to consider setting your programmable thermostat to a higher temperature is when your family is sleeping. When you think about it, it is generally cooler outside and in your home at night because the sun isn’t beating down anymore. Programmable thermostats pay for themselves a couple of times in just the first year of use!
#10 Choose Licensed and Insured Service Companies
Lastly you should always make sure you are up to date with your service calls. HVAC companies recommend that you have preventative maintenance performed on your system biannually so you can catch a problem before it even happens. This will potentially save you thousands over the lifespan of your unit.
It is important when inviting any service company into your home that you have read up a little about that company. What is their BBB rating? Are most of their reviews good ones? Are their HVAC technicians licensed, bonded, and insured? What are their license numbers? Things like that are the questions you should be asking yourself. It would be a shame to get a hack job in your house, probably overcharging you for shoddy work. Make sure any quotes, repairs, warranties, and guarantees are in writing so you can see exactly where your money has gone or is going to. Always be aware of your rights and go with a trusted company.