Having an inefficient air conditioning system in your home not only affects the air quality and general comfort indoors, but it will affect your wallet as well. Nobody wants these! As a homeowner, you want to be comfortable in your own home during the summer without having to pay an extra amount of money for it. But the thing is, all these don’t happen out the blue. You, as the homeowner, have to take a number of actions to enhance the efficiency of your AC system. But before we look at how you can improve the efficiency of AC, let’s understand a couple of other things first.
First, do air conditioners lose efficiency?
The answer to this one is a big yes! See, maybe you have noticed that your AC is kind of faulty and that it is not as efficient as it was once, and you don’t know what is happening with your system. If you are one of these individuals, then you should know that your system is losing efficiency - as there is no other description for these. And you know, there are a number of factors that could have resulted in this. They include:
Can one test the efficiency of an AC unit?
If you are unsure of whether your AC is losing efficiency or not, you can test it to be sure. There are three tests that you can subject your unit to, which will inform you of the general performance of the entire AC system. They are as follows:
If the AC is efficient enough, it should be able to cool the air by 15-20 degrees from the outdoor temperature. If it doesn’t, then know that there is a problem somewhere. Note, this test doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hire a professional to carry out inspections on your system. If anything, the test only helps you to some extent, and you can’t rely on it for a long time.
So, how can you increase the efficiency of your home AC?
If your aim is to achieve optimal comfort from your AC unit, then you need to maintain it regularly. There is no shortcut when it comes to this. Anyway, here are the tips on how you can maximize the efficiency of your unit:
As humans, to have some peace of mind, we want everything around us to be perfect. This applies even to the HVAC systems in our homes. With the summer just around the corner, you want to ensure the air conditioning system is operating just fine. But sometimes, we are not sure how the AC unit really works. It seems to be working fine, or it is malfunctioning a little bit, but you just want to make sure that there are no underlying problems that may come up at the most critical moment – when you really need it to be working.
To ensure that there are no major problems with your AC, you need to know how to troubleshoot it. This is the only way you would know if the unit is functioning as it should, and that it is not on the verge of a breakdown. The not so fortunate aspect of this issue is the fact that not everyone knows how to troubleshoot an AC unit. But don’t worry, that’s why we are here.
Of course, when an AC unit malfunctions, the best thing to do is to call an AC technician to come to check it out. Nevertheless, there are some problems that you might be able to fix by yourself. They include the following:
When your AC fails to turn on – when your cooling system fails to turn on, take the following steps before you decide to involve a technician:
When your AC unit is not cooling – once your unit turns on, but fails to cool your home down, then in this case you may be dealing with a clogged condenser, filter, or improper thermostat settings. So, what you should do is:
When your AC is inefficient – we both know that for an AC unit to be efficient, it needs regular maintenance. But what if you do all these and still notice that the unit is inefficient, and it doesn’t cool your home as it should be doing? Well, then you should conduct the following checks:
Resetting your AC unit
Some issues with your AC – such as a black-out or power surge or an engaged circuit breaker – requires you to reset your thermostat. So:
If, after this procedure, your AC still won’t turn on, then the problem you are dealing with is bigger and will require the intervention of a qualified AC technician.
Talking of a reset button, it is important to note that not all AC units have a reset button. That means that in these units, you will have to reboot the unit manually, through the thermostat. Here is how it is done:
As we conclude, even though some of these issues can be fixed by the homeowners themselves, there is still significant importance in informing an AC technician about the problem, just to be on the safe side. So, if you suspect the problem with your unit is a bit deeper, call for help. This is for the safety and longevity of your air conditioning system.
1. Clean or replace air filters
In this day and age, cleaning or replacing air filters is a crucial aspect of HVAC maintenance. This is something that you can do by yourself and it will have a huge impact on how the entire system works, and how efficient it can be. So, when particulates and dust become clogged in the air filters, airflow is blocked, which in turn could force the equipment to use more energy and work harder so as to achieve the same temperatures. What’s more, clogged air filters release pollen and dust in the air, which can be deadly for people with asthma and allergies. Furthermore, more debris and dust in the system can cause damage over time. So, needless to say, considering all these, always ensure that the air filters are regularly cleaned, and if you find some filters that are malfunctioning, ensure that there are replaced immediately. Remember that you are after comfort, so ensure that you stop at nothing until you get it.
2. Regularly check the ventilation system
Let’s face it, if there are parts of the HVAC system that are often overlooked are the ductwork that transports heated air throughout the property and the vents that exhaust the air out. But you have to change this narrative. Have a professional inspect the vents and the ducts for any corrosion, holes, dislocated parts or clogs so that they can correct any potential problems that could affect the comfort conditions in your home. The repairs in the ventilation system may seem like an easy task, and that you can do it by yourself, but the truth is, it’s not recommended, as you may end up doing more harm than good. Get a professional technician to assess and fix any blocked flue or structural issue they may find in the system.
3. Clean all exterior components
When maintaining your HVAC system, keep in mind that the exterior components of your system, which includes rooftop units and condensers, needs similar attention to interior units. Possibly even more given that the exteriors are exposed to harsher elements. Always ensure that all the outdoor equipment are kept clear of snow and leaves, especially after a storm. For the area near the outdoor air intake, pay extra attention to it, as it supplies the whole system with air. If there is a source of contamination or any kind of blockage, the airflow in the entire building is affected. Ensure that your maintenance plan has an outdoor cleaning component several times a year. When you clean motors, coils and fan blades regularly, they operate more efficiently.
4. Check for mold
A moist area is ideal for mold to grow. In order to prevent it from growing, you should always check out for any signs if there is moisture where it shouldn’t be. And even though mold can be tough to get rid of, it is important to keep an eye on it as it poses potential health hazards for all the tenants in your building. Your HVAC maintenance plan should put more focus on inspecting the common places where moisture is known to thrive well. These areas include ventilation, drain lines, boilers, coils, shafts, and drain pans. When there is mold in these areas, regulation of air in the building is hindered, so regular maintenance is very important.
5. Worn parts should be proactively replaced
This is the essence of HVAC maintenance. Inspecting the condition of your system and also identifying the aging parts and replacing them is critical if your system is to maintain its effectiveness. Identifying the worn out parts and replacing them before they break is always the best way to prevent expensive and breakdowns. You should ensure that all the mechanical and electrical parts so as to give you an idea about the parts of the system that needs dire attention. A critical heating component that you should pay extra attention to is the ignition assembly. It is a critical part of the furnace, which if it gets damaged or dirty, it will cut off the heat. And when fan belts start to show signs of wear and tear, you should replace them as soon as possible to prevent breakdowns and to also ensure that the system is functioning efficiently.
6. Keep a maintenance calendar & get a contract
The heating system comes with many components, making it super complex. This is especially so when it comes to large buildings, in the sense that the number of components that you will have to keep track of can increase drastically. In this case, the best way to manage the maintenance of such kind of a system is by maintaining a calendar, which you will use to mark whenever you fix or replace anything on the system. This means that you will have an easier reference when you need any maintenance work done in the future. And as mentioned above, these systems are quite complex, you definitely need to hire a reputable heating contractor to maintain the heating system.
Electrical issues – electrical devices are pretty delicate and if they fail, they can trigger many issues. But by inspecting everything, from the wiring to the connections, you are able to prevent major problems that are most likely to occur, requiring commercial HVAC repair. Problems such as capacitor failure is one of the main problems that you will be preventing. Capacitors regulates the flow of power, so, if it fails, the entire system will fail as well, and it will be costly to fix. Still, something as common and innocuous as dust that collects in the fuse could also inhibit the flow of electricity thereby causing a system failure. To avoid all these, just ensure that you inspect everything regularly. You may spend a little amount of money to hire a professional technician to inspect and maintain your entire system, and avoid spending much more money in repairs in case the problem escalates.
Motor failures – any HVAC system has motors, which power fans blowing air over the condenser coil as well as in the evaporator coil. Now, if any of these motors was to break down, it could take down the entire system, requiring you to dig deep into your pocket. But with proper maintenance, which includes lubrication, inspecting motors, and also replacing worn out pulleys and belts, will keep your motors in their perfect conditions, and working as they should. This way, you will avoid the costly HVAC repairs that are as a result of neglect.
Refrigerant leaks – refrigerant doesn’t run out, you know, like car gas. A HVAC unit contains a coil that always contains the same amount of refrigerant that’s initially installed with. If the coil develops small holes or cracks, the refrigerant could leak, which means that you could be looking at a costly HVAC repair. However, regular maintenance saves you all these trouble. When grime or dust builds up in the coils, it leads to corrosion, resulting to holes and cracks which leaks refrigerant. So, before it gets to this point, let HVAC repair techs clean your system at minimal costs, and avoid the expensive repairs that you may be required to do if the problem gets out of hand.
Water leaks – a HVAC unit draws water from the air via the evaporator coil, which is how it functions. When functioning normally, the water collected runs down the drain line in the coil, where it is later collected in a drain pan. The water should not cause visible moisture or leak, so if you see a suspicious sign that it’s leaking, then a HVAC repair may be necessary to fix it. Water leaks can occur due to a number of reasons. First, as water goes down the coils, it collects dust and grime and brings it to the drain pan. And if the drain pan or line is clogged, then draining of water may be hindered and can overflow.
If your HVAC system is installed in the basement, then you may need a pump to pump the water collected out, increasing the burden to the homeowner if it was to start malfunctioning. Secondly, improper installation can also lead to water leaks. In any commercial building, any vibrations is enough to disrupt and disconnect a drain line that’s installed poorly, resulting to spillage of the collected water, which in turn destroys your floors, ceilings and walls, which will require a lot of money to repair.
But you can hire a professional technician to maintain your system at minimal costs, which will go a long way in ensuring that your systems becomes more efficient and also prevent the need for system repair, which is costly.
Frozen coils – in the event that an evaporator gets frozen, it could cause so much damage, which includes water damage and compressor failure. So, if you see an ice or a frost in you AC unit, then you should know that commercial HVAC repairs are needed to fix the problem. The reason why coils freezes is, for instance, when a motor breaks or even runs too slowly, due to a refrigerant leak or air flow problems. However, regular maintenance ensures that the coils and the motors are in good working conditions. All you need to do is to spend just a little amount of money to hire a professional who will inspect and clean everything and will also be able to fix the tiny things that are broken, preventing the situation from escalating into frozen coils, which will, as a result, require a complete HVAC repair.
Control problems – if you find that your system isn’t reaching the temperature that you’ve set, then you can narrow down the problem to your thermostat. If the thermostat fails to register accurate readings, chances are that it is sending the wrong signals to your system. Regular maintenance by a HVAC professional enables them to diagnose any potential control issues and also recalibrate the thermostats. This boosts efficiency for the entire system, and also ensures that system control issues are detected early thereby preventing serious damages that may cost a fortune to fix.