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Category Archives: Air Conditioning

Summer HVAC Mistakes That are Costing you Money

Summer is here!  But before you head over to your thermostat to set your air conditioning to a comfortable level, consider these common mistakes that often end up costing you money.

 

 

1. Setting the thermostat really low to cool the room faster

Unfortunately this doesn’t work, even if you have a high-efficiency variable-speed system.  Setting the thermostat low does not cool your home any faster, and in only serves to make your system work harder.  In rare cases this can also cause your indoor coil to freeze.

 

2. Turning off air conditioning when you’re away from home

Unless you’re going on a summer vacation there’s no sense in turning off your air conditioning each time you head out.  Even if you go away for a day or two, just set the temperature a little higher.   If you’re turning the AC on and off, it has to work harder to get back to the right temperature.

Use a programmable thermostat to help to keep your air conditioner costs lower when you leave the house.  Without causing it to overwork.

 

3. Not replacing air filters often enough

Filters play a vital role in the efficiency of your air conditioning.  When they’re not replaced often enough, they can place a strain on your unit, costing you more money.   A dirty filter can also lead to ice forming on your coils, short-cycling, reduced lifespan and more issues.

Most manufacturers recommend you replace your filter every 30-60 days.  But how often you need to change also depends on your circumstances.  If you live on your home, have no pets or allergies, 6-12 months may be sufficient, otherwise.

  • 90 Days for an average (no pet) home
  • 60 Days for a home with a dog/cat
  • 20-40 Days for a home with multiple pets/allergies

 

4. Cooling an unoccupied room with ceiling fans

Ceiling fans are designed to cool people, not rooms.  In fact they have no affect on room temperature at all, so if you’re using it to keep a room cool, you’re just waiting money.

 

5. Using the ceiling fan so the AC doesn’t work as hard

Again, the ceiling fan does not cool the room, so the AC still has to use the same amount of energy to get the room to a comfortable temperature.

 

6.  Closing vents to increase efficiency  

Closing vents, in unused rooms for instance, doesn’t improve efficiency, it reduces it.  When the vents are closed, the blower is pushing air, but it can’t get through.  This pressure builds up in the duct-work and actually makes the system work harder.

Use dampers to direct airflow away from an unused room to where it is most needed.

 

7. Assuming your AC Is ready for summer

Air conditioning units need regular maintenance to operate at their best, and prevent breakdowns.  After a long period without use, never assume that it’s ready to just switch on and get going.  It could have low refrigerant levels, a dirty filter or dust and debris that could be wearing it down and costing you more money.  These are things that can be addressed with an annual tuneup, and with your own checks every month or so.

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Air Conditioning FAQs

Got questions about buying or using an air conditioner? Confused by a problem the unit is throwing up?  We have many of your questions answered right here.  If you’re still confused, and need help in the southern CT area, don’t hesitate to get in contact.

 

Do I need to have my air conditioner serviced every year?

No you don’t need to, but it is recommended.  A yearly service will help to maintain your warranty, keep your energy bills down and ensure your continued comfort.

 

What does it mean if my evaporator coils freeze?

Don’t panic! This is not uncommon and there are a number of possible causes:

  • Dirty air filter or evaporator coil
  • Low refrigerant
  • Closed off supply vents

 

What happens if I don’t maintain my air conditioner?

Air conditioning units don’t run forever without maintenance.  Some of the issues you may experience are:

  • Dirty coils – Which can restrict airflow and even harbor mold
  • Dirty blower – A blower that builds up enough dirt can stop working altogether
  • Dirty filter – The filter keeps the air in your property clean from harmful particles such as pollen, dander and allergens.  When it gets too dirty it stops doing its job and the particles circulate through your home, ready t be breathed in by you and your family
  • Leaking – This could happen if the drain or hose becomes blocked with dirt, the condenser pump stops working, or the seals on the unit loosen

 

What size air conditioner should I get?

This depends on the size of your home and your personal needs.  Too small and it could take a while to cool your home, too large and you may end up with an overworking expense, that can even grow mold and have a reduced lifespan.  If you are not sure speak to an air conditioning professional.

 

What do the air conditioner ratings mean?

 

ERR (Energy Efficiency Ratio) 

This is tested in laboratory conditions and measures cooling output divided by energy usage at peak load.

A higher number is more energy efficient.

 

SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) 

This measures cooling efficiency calculated over a seasonal average (and not in lab conditions).  The ratings run from 9-24.  In the US each state has a minimum requirement for the sale of air conditioners, usually 13 or 14.  To calculate how much you could save with a new unit, use this handy tool from SEER Energy Savings.

A higher number is more energy efficient.

 

HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor)

This measures head pump efficiency.

A higher number is more energy efficient.

 

Can my A/C control humidity in my home?

Yes, air conditioners naturally reduce humidity as cooler air holds less of it.  The amount of humidity reduction can also depend on the unit’s setup, and can be controlled with the humidistat if you have one.

 

How can I reduce A/C running costs

  1. Upgrade to a newer and higher efficiency unit.
  2. Go for energy star systems.
  3. Install economizers which use cool outside air to reduce the amount of time the air conditioner is in operation.
  4. Keep your system maintained at least once per year.

 

Why is my air conditioner leaking?

This is not uncommon and there are several possible causes:

  • Clogged condensate line
  • Dirty/frozen evaporator coils
  • Dirty air filter
  • Low refrigerant level
  • A problem leftover from installation

 

Should I set my A/C to on or auto?

ON constantly circulates air to keep you comfortable.  Auto only blows when the a/c is putting out cool air.  Really it comes down to cost.  If you always have the A/C set to ON, you will have higher energy bills than setting it to auto.

 

Why is the air conditioning noisy?

Often this is caused by:

  • A dirty fan coil or condenser – leading to a vibration sound
  • A dirty coil – leading to draft noise
  • A loose mounting – leading to rattling

 

Why is the air conditioner smelly?

This is caused by bacterial growth in the fan coil unit.  In severe cases, a chemical treatment may be used to remove the smell, but generally a good clean will fix it.

 

I’m always hot what should I do?

Don’t assume you need a bigger unit.  If the one you have is sized appropriately for your home, consider a ductless split system; this allows you to control the temperature in specific rooms/areas of the home.

 

 

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