You may not think much about your air conditioner’s efficiency until you get an outrageous bill. However, working to improve your efficiency now will not only reduce your utility costs but extend your system’s service life. Here are some easy things you can do to ensure your system is running efficiently.
Check Your Air Filter
The first thing to do is keep a close eye on your air filter. You know your system is operating inefficiently if there’s a lot of dirt or dust caked on the filter.
Your system depends on its ability to draw air in, condition it, and push it back out. A dirty filter means your system cannot draw the right amount of air.
Most 1-inch filters need a replacement about once every 90 days. However, poor air quality may mean more frequent replacements. Plan to check the filter every month to ensure it is free from dust and replace it as needed.
Take a Temp
You may not think about taking your air conditioner’s temperature, but this is an important part of checking its efficiency. What you’re actually checking is the temperature of the air coming from your vents.
Ideally, you want the temperature from your vents to be at least 15 degrees cooler than the ambient air temperature. You can easily check this with a meat thermometer. First, record the temperature the thermometer reflects after setting out away from a vent.
Once you have this temperature, start your air conditioner, and let it run for a few minutes, ensuring the air feels cool. Then, put the probe for the thermometer in a vent to record the temperature of the air coming out. Anything less than 15 degrees indicates an inefficient system and requires some service.
Listen to the Sounds
The sounds your system makes can also give you an indication of how efficiently it is running. A well-running air conditioner should make very little noise, aside from the sound of the circulating and condensing fans. However, your system will naturally start making noise as it ages.
New sounds that draw your attention are key indicators that your system isn’t running efficiently. A squealing sound indicates a possible failing fan motor, which contributes to inefficiency.
Another important sound is screaming or bubbling, both of which suggest a refrigerant leak. Without enough refrigerant, your air will not get cold enough to cool your home.
Consider Your Maintenance Routine
Maintenance is exceptionally important for your heating and cooling system. In fact, it is so important that many manufacturers require it as a term of their warranty.
As your AC runs, small airborne contaminants settle on components throughout the system. This causes airflow restrictions that prevent your system from cooling properly.
Your system may be operating less efficiently than it should if you do not have annual professional maintenance. Several years without maintenance significantly reduces operational efficiency.
Watch Your Run Times
Your system should cycle on, run for 15 to 20 minutes, then turn off. It is common to have two or three cycles per hour, depending on the temperature outside.
A key indication of an inefficient system is cycles that run too long. Short cycles may also indicate inefficiency, causing your system to cycle on more often. Either of these can drive up your utility costs and put a strain on your system.
Check Your Thermostat
Your thermostat controls when your HVAC system turns on and off. The average thermostat should reliably control your system for about 10 years. If your unit is older, it is likely causing your system to run inefficiently through inaccurate temperature sensors.
Most modern thermostats also have a programmable feature. Check your thermostat to see if you are utilizing these important programs to their fullest.
The department of energy estimates you save about 10% when effectively managing your thermostat programs. To realize these savings, you need to increase the temperature by 7 to 10 degrees for about eight hours each day. This can be while you’re in bed, at work, or otherwise don’t need it as cool.
People around Peoria have turned to Bratcher Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. to keep their air conditioners running efficiently since 1983. Our technicians are expertly trained to provide heating and cooling installation, maintenance, and repair. We also offer indoor air quality solutions. Call to schedule your AC service with one of the area’s best AC technicians today.