The heating and air conditioning system in your home is essential for living comfortably during all seasons. If any part of the system breaks down, it is expensive, time-consuming, and inconvenient to replace. To say nothing of the likely circumstance that your air conditioner breaks down during the hot days of summer.
A survey published in 2015 found that nearly 90 percent of American households have air conditioning. This means that an A/C unit is more common than a dishwasher, garage, or even a dining room.
Air conditioning systems cost American homeowners over 29 billion dollars a year, averaging 300 dollars per household. Therefore, if the system breaks down, the average cost to fix can be 5,000 dollars. The cost-effectiveness and convenience are the primary reason you want to keep your air conditioner running and in good shape. With the following two options, you can lower the costs of cooling your home even more!
- High-Efficiency Air Conditioner –Switching can reduce the energy used to cool your home by 20 to 50%.
- Programmable Thermostats – Homeowners can save up to $180 in energy costs per year by switching their thermostats.
3 Common Problems with Air Conditioners
- The unit has trouble turning and staying on consistently
- The unit is not cooling properly
- There is limited airflow to the system
The Unit Does Not Turn On
Two common causes for this are either the thermostat or an electrical control failure. If your system is turning on and off frequently it can cause the controls to your compressor and fan to wear out. If this is the case you will need to contact a service professional. Contact YellowBird Air-Conditioning and Heating to check out the electrical controls.
With the thermostat, it may just need new batteries, or the entire unit may need to be replaced.
The Unit Is Not Cooling
There are a number of reasons an air conditioning unit may not be cooling properly. Here are a few common issues and some suggestions as to what you can do.
- Refrigerant – The refrigerant may be low or leaking. Therefore, to solve this issue, you will need to recharge the system or repair the leak. This would require a trained professional service technician.
- Dirty Filter – If the filter in your system is clogged it can restrict airflow through the unit. As a result this can decreases its efficiency and reduces the unit’s ability to cool the air effectively. Filter in your air conditioning unit should be changed annually. Possibly more if the unit is in constant use.
- Thermostat Issues – Make sure to check that your thermostat is set properly and turned on. It is also good to check to see if it is reading the correct temperature. You can do this by using a separate thermometer placed in the room. After that you can see if the temperature reading is the same on both devices.
- Drainage Problems – Check the drain in your unit to make sure it is not clogged. If it is clean it out. A clogged drain can cause the unit to over work. And in many cases can even cause the unit to break down if the issue is not taken care of in a timely manner.
Limited Air Flow
Limited air flow can be caused by a dirty filter or some problem with the ductwork. Clogged filters restrict air flow and decrease the ability for the air conditioner to effectively cool your home. Check to make sure your filter is clean, if it is not replace it. Air ducts that have a leak or are clogged or constricted cannot deliver the cooled air properly to the desired rooms. If you notice one room is cooler than another, this could be the reason why. It is best to work with a professional to clean and seal your air ducts.
Service Your Air Conditioner Annually
Above all, servicing your air conditioner at least once a year will improve its efficiency. It will prolong the life of your unit and help improve the comfort of your home. Here are a few steps you can take to keep your air conditioner maintained and working properly.
- Replace or clean your air filters – You can easily lower your air conditioners energy consumption by 5 to 15% by routinely replacing or cleaning the air filter. This is the quickest way to save energy on cooling your home.
- Check Evaporator Coil – It is important to check the evaporator coil each year and to clean it as necessary.
- Clear Debris – On a split system the fan, compressor and condenser can collect leaves and debris. This can cause the system to have restricted air flow and can cause the system to over work and even overheat.
- Check Coil Fins – Bent coil fins restrict air flow so it is a good idea to use a “fin comb” if fins are bent and straighten them out.
- Check Drain – To prevent clogs in the drain it is recommended that you use a stiff wire and pass it through the drain channels to prevent them from clogging.
- Finally, if your unit needs more than basic maintenance you should hire a professional company. Only 42 percent of homeowners call a professional to perform routine maintenance on their air conditioner even though HVAC systems which go through regular maintenance last 40 recent longer than those that don’t.
Remember your HVAC system acts like the lungs of your home. The air that you live in and breath is “conditioned” by your system. Your air conditioner filters the air, so keeping that filter clean helps keep pollens and allergens out of your home. If there’s excess humidity in the air it inhibits our body’s ability to keep cool through perspiration. Air conditioners make us feel cooler by reducing the amount of moisture in the air. Leaky or clogged ducts prevent air from circulating throughout the house and can account for about 30 percent of the cooling system’s energy consumption.
It’s environmentally friendly to keep your units serviced and it optimal shape. Air conditioners release about 100 million tons of carbon dioxide into the air annually. Which is about 2 tons per home. Subsequently, keeping your air conditioner in top shape can keep those emissions at a minimum by not having to run as hard or as long to keep your home cool.
The importance of servicing your air conditioner has never been more important. Concerns over global warming and greenhouse gasses are becoming more prevalent than ever before. Everything we can do to keep those air conditioners running cleaner and more efficiently should be a top priority with everyone.
Using a combination of solar power and geothermal air conditioning is a great way to save on energy costs and to help the environment. By harnessing the free and unlimited resource of sunlight, Solar energy can reduce electric bills by up to 70%. Using this renewable energy doesn’t require burning coal or gas, that release pollutants into the atmosphere, causing global warming.
Today Geothermal is the most efficient air conditioning on the market. The way Geothermal units work is actually pretty simple. Refrigerant is run through lines that are buried underground allowing the refrigerant to cool thereby dropping its temperature before going through your system. The environmental impact of this efficient technology would be equivalent to removing 13 cars off the road each year. Saving you money while at the same time saving the planet.
Lower Your Cooling Costs
On top of regular A/C maintenance there a lot of different ways to keep your energy costs down. Below we’ve highlighted a few suggestions.
- Energy Star – Purchase and ENERGY STAR qualified air conditioner. These units are up to 15% more efficient than standard A/C units.
- Programmable Thermostat – We can’t repeat it enough, but you can save up to 10 percent on your heating and cooling costs each year by simply upgrading to a programmable thermostat. Install it, set it, and start saving money.
- Ceiling Fans – Using a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the setting on your thermostat by 4 degrees and it won’t impact your comfort.
- Insulation – You can keep your home cooler by preventing warm air from leaking inside. Make sure your walls and attic are insulated and cracks are sealed.
- Air Ducts – 30% of an A/C’s energy combustion is caused by air loss so make sure your air ducts are sealed and insulated.
- Window Coverings – As simple as it sounds putting energy-efficient window coverings that let in natural light but prevent solar heat is a great way to keep the heat out and the cool in.
- Grill On – During those hot days of summer, or anytime the heat is on Avoid furthering warming your house through appliance. Use your outdoor grill instead of heating up your oven and your house.
- Built-In Fans – To help remove heat and humidity use the installed bathroom fan when taking a shower or bath and use the range hood when cooking. It may sound simple and you may not think it does much, but every little bit counts when you’re talking about cooling it down a few degrees.
Wrapping it Up
In conclusion, servicing your air conditioner, it helps protects your investment, saves on energy costs, creates a more comfortable environment in your home, and helps save our planet. With the summer heating up and temperatures on the rise, those air conditioners are going to get quite a workout as they try to keep us all cool. So before you go and crank up that A/C, remember to replace or clean that filter, we know that can save 5 – 15% of your energy consumption. In addition, use that ceiling fan so you can lower your thermostat 4 degrees, so your air conditioner won’t have to run as long or as hard.
Maintenance is the key
Maintaining your current system will save you money and keep your current system working for up to 40% longer. Basic maintenance is important but making sure your system is maintained by a trained professional, who can check out the entire system and make sure everything is working as it should, in the long run, may be the best solution. Working with a professional company allows you the peace of mind knowing that the check-up will be done right. You can even set up regularly scheduled check-ups see you don’t even have to think about it in the future.
However, if you are looking for a more energy efficient system that can save you 20-50% of your energy costs, you may want to look at a new ENERGY STAR qualified system. You may even want to look at a Solar/Geothermal system to reduce your electric bill by 70% and reduce greenhouse gasses, helping save the planet. Either way it’s always best to consult with the pros.
Call YellowBird Air Conditioning at (575) 449-3565
Sources: Energy Saver (www.energy.gov/energysaver). The Energy Department’s Building Technologies Office (www.energy.goc/eere/buildings/building-technologies-office). Energy Star (www.energystar.gov). Weatherization Assistance Program Technical Assistance Center (www.waptac.org)