8 Tips To Keep Your AC System Running Optimally
It can get really hot in Texas, and you want your AC system to work as efficiently as possible to provide indoor comfort without incurring undue costs. Your air conditioner is a complex system and has many parts to its whole. Not only do you want your system itself to be in top running condition, but you also need your home environment to work hand-in-hand with the AC for the system to work optimally. There are many ways in which you can improve the efficiency of your cooling system by optimizing methods and practices that affect your AC unit both directly and indirectly.
1. Changing the Air Filters
The easiest and cheapest way to keep your air system working optimally is by changing the air filters regularly. The air filter prevents small particles like dust, pollen, and other tiny debris from entering the air system. When the filters are clogged and dirty, they block normal airflow. As a result, the system has to work harder than normal. When this airflow is blocked from normal channels, the air intake will increase from other sources and bring in contaminants that can accumulate on the coils.
Dirt on the evaporator coil impairs how it absorbs heat and reduces the system efficiency. You can reduce your overall AC energy usage by 5-10 percent by some estimates if you change your air filters when needed.
2. Adjusting the Thermostat Settings
Cooling and heating your home are usually the largest percentage of your home energy usage. Changing the thermostat up or down 7-10 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours during the day can save you as much as 10 percent total use annually. For the summer season, it is recommended that you set the thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit when you are home and set it between 80 – 85 degrees Fahrenheit if you are away from home four hours or longer.
3. Installing a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat can make saving energy costs for cooling and heating your home an easy task. You can program the temperature settings to be a comfortable range for when you are home and lower or higher for the times that you will be away. Simply program the thermostat to your comfort level a short time before you arrive.
This takes the guesswork out of setting your thermostat and circumvents issues of forgetting to change the settings. If you have a “smart” thermostat that has an accompanying app for a mobile device, you can even set it remotely when you are away from the home.
4. Instituting Regularly Scheduled Maintenance
One of the best ways to ensure that your AC system is always in the best shape possible is by instituting an annual maintenance tune-up from a professional cooling and heating business. Your AC system is a large unit with many components that need to be cleaned and checked periodically in order to do the job efficiently.
Your air filters should be changed often for unimpeded airflow, and the coils need to be cleaned so they will absorb and transfer heat correctly. The air fins are aluminum and can be easily bent and may need reshaping. The condensation drains can become clogged and prevent the AC system from removing excess moisture from your indoor air.
Your AC cooling specialist will check and clean your AC system. Common tasks will include checking refrigerant levels and possible leaks, checking the ducts for air leaks, checking the coils and cleaning if necessary, making sure the vents and airflow areas are free of debris, examining any belts or motors and running diagnostics. The trained and NATE-certified technicians at Air Patrol Air Conditioning, Heating & Fireplaces perform thorough and careful AC tune-ups that keep your AC system in top working order.
5. Having a Correctly Sized AC System
A correctly sized air system will cool and heat your home in the way it is intended. Many people falsely assume that bigger is always better when it comes to mechanically maintaining the desired temperatures in the home. This is not the case, though, and a cooling system that is too large and powerful for the home will not run efficiently. The AC system will turn off before it has cooled the house thoroughly, and it will then turn back on again too quickly. This short cycling uses excess energy to keep restarting the system, whereas longer cycles with longer intervals will use less energy overall.
An AC system that is too small for the home will try to run in cycles that are too long as it works harder in order to cool the home. This will waste energy and drive up your cooling costs.
6. Prevent Air Loss From Your Home
You can increase the efficiency of your AC system by improving the insulation in your home and by sealing any air leaks around items like windows, doors, and the ductwork. You should check to ensure that your walls and attic are properly insulated with the correct thickness of insulation. This is a job a trained insulation specialist can do safely. Examine your windows and doors and add caulking and other insulating materials to keep your cooled air from escaping.
You could also be losing air from ductwork that is poorly insulated or sealed. If the ducts are not insulated properly, they will release cooled air into your ceiling and attic spaces and waste energy. The ducts can also eventually form small fissures and tears over time and leak air from these openings, which results in increased energy costs. Air Patrol Air Conditioning, Heating & Fireplaces specializes in conducting energy audits which includes inspecting your ductwork for any loss of integrity or need for additional insulation.
7. Opening Vents and Rooms
Some people mistakenly think that shutting off vents or doors to unused rooms will save on energy costs. This is not the case, and your AC system will actually work harder to compensate for the reduced lack of airflow through the ducts and the home. The uneven air pressure that results from closing off areas in your home can also negatively affect the efficiency of your AC system as it works to deliver air throughout the home.
8. Placing Thermal Curtains
Thermal curtains are special curtains that block the heat from entering or leaving the areas around your windows. The radiant heat that enters through the glass windows can significantly raise the temperature in your rooms and require your AC system to work harder to keep things cool. Using thermal curtains will reduce the amount of heat penetrating through to your room in direct relation to its insulating ratings.
Air Patrol Air Conditioning, Heating & Fireplaces has been providing superior air quality services to the Dallas and Fort Worth communities since 2003. Our NATE-certified technicians are fully trained on all cooling systems, and we can conduct a whole-home energy audit that analyzes your energy usage. We are experienced in installation, repair, and maintenance on all brands, and we are always upfront with estimated costs for our services. To learn more about how you can start saving energy by optimizing your AC system, give us a call today.