A modern home is defined in part by central air conditioning. It is an important convenience that makes the hottest days pleasant and also burns a furnace in winter. Without it, people would still be using wood furnaces in winter and building homes with thick walls to keep the temperature extremes out. Air conditioning makes the whole year comfortable and makes a whole variety of housing designs possible.
There is a price. Some HVAC units are more efficient than others, and some brands lose their efficiency without regular maintenance. Just about all air conditioners become, less efficient with refrigerant loss, and more efficient ones are more sensitive to the deterioration of its internal components. Fighting your heating and cooling bill depends on regular inspection and adjusting the refrigerant every five to ten years.
The solution depends on the age of the air conditioner. These units were designed to last at least a couple of decades, so a properly maintained one can easily run nearly as efficiently as the latest model. If it is more than a few decades old, then it might be too old to have advanced design, and it might even use an outdated and expensive refrigerant.
Step 1: Clear Out Your A/C Unit’s Surroundings
A great deal of unit efficiency boils down to having clear ducts and an appropriate filter. There should be nothing growing outside the HVAC unit because these small shrubs might create air resistance that slows down the venting of air to the outside. Any obstruction or barrier should be kept at least a meter away. All intakes and outtakes must have room to move air.
Most intakes are located on the ceiling, but some are located in a hallway within the height of most people. These intakes absolutely must be kept free from blocking when the system is running, or else the fan might end up overworking and causing ice on the refrigerant tubes. Windows units are much more likely to fail if blocked because the fans are smaller as is the available current.
It is more common for the fins to become bent or covered with lint. The outside can be inspected by the owner and may be cleaned with a light brush as long as the fin array is not bent. It is more common for junk to be on the inside and around where the inside air first comes in contact with the heat exchanger. There might be lint buildup on the fan, but opening the HVAC cavity yourself is dangerous, especially when the power is not disconnected.
Step 2: Watch the Electric Bill
The cost of electricity should be less in spring and fall and greatest in the last two months of summer. Watching the changes in the rate ought to match the changes in temperature. If the bill suddenly spikes whenever summer is just beginning and weather is still mild, then consider that something is wrong with the air conditioner.
Watching the electricity bill can help to determine the total cost of having air conditioning over a year. This is essential for determining how the dial should be set to reduce the costs if the owner feels this is necessary. It is less important for the air to be warm at night or cool when you are away for the day. Consider setting that save money.
Step 3: Always Clean and Replace the Filter
The air conditioner should always be kept clear of obstruction, and the most common is lint in the filter. The whole point of the filter is to catch unwanted debris, but it can build up quickly if the house produces a lot of particles or if it is too fine of a filter. As the filter gets clogged, air flows through it less efficiently, and it increases the energy demands on the fan. Replace the filter as needed, especially when choosing a more fine filter.–