Winter weather will be gone before we know it and everyone will be gearing up for the summer months. Beach days, picnics on the river and outdoor festivals will consume our weekends as the days get longer and warmer. While most of you are eager to turn off the heat until next year and get the AC cranking, stop to consider these top AC mistakes homeowners commonly make. Avoiding these oversights will save you time and money. A small mistake can result in big problems, ultimately affecting the comfort of your home. Although the AC unit’s function is pretty simple, they are complex machines that rely on numerous components to run properly.
Incorrect AC Location
The location and positioning of your AC unit can have a big impact its energy efficiency. While your unit won’t add any curb appeal to the house, hiding it behind trees and shrubs can hinder its ability to run efficiently. For improved ventilation, it’s important that the unit is not obstructed so it can breathe properly. In addition, the unit should be placed in a mostly shaded area that doesn’t receive direct sunlight. The more direct sunlight it gets the more power it will require to cool down your home. Consequently, the harder your unit has to work the higher your energy bill will be. Finally, make sure that the systems thermostat is located away from any lamps or appliances that create heat. If the thermostat gets too hot it may make your system run harder than necessary.
Having the Wrong Sized Unit
Many homeowners assume that the bigger the AC unit, the better and faster it will work. However, an oversized unit doesn’t generate uniform temperatures and will constantly cycle on and off resulting in inefficient power usage. Having an HVAC contractor calculate exactly how much cooling capacity your house needs is crucial because an undersized air conditioner can lead to different problems of its own. Without enough cooling capacity your unit will wear itself out quickly and fail to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.
Not changing the Air Filter
The AC filter is easily one of the most overlooked aspects of an AC system. A clean filter is what keeps the unit running at top performance. A dirty filter impacts the systems efficiency, the quality of your air cleanliness and causes the equipment to overwork. They are very inexpensive but can save you a great deal when used properly. Check out these common signs for knowing when it’s time to change your filter.
Running the AC 24/7
Running the AC all day long is a huge waste of electricity and money. If you are going to be out of the house most of the day, be sure to push up the thermostat and then turn it back down when you get home. It won’t take long to cool the house to you preferred temperature and you won’t be paying as much. Installing a programmable thermostat is the best way to take the work out of following these thermostat best practices. They allow you to regulate changes in the home’s temperature by programming them to change automatically depending on your family’s schedule.
Not Using the AC at all
Turning off the AC in the morning before everyone leaves the house for work or school is a good idea. However, if you think that not using the AC at all will save you money, you should re-think your strategy. Leaving the unit permanently off and letting it sit idle will allow mold to grow and deteriorate your unit. Running the AC for a little each day is strongly recommended. Investing in a WIFI-controlled thermostat will allow you to program different temperature settings throughout the day and run your system even when you are away.
Not Using the Ceiling Fans
Many people think that the AC is an alternative to using ceiling fans. However, these two were designed to work in unison. The ceiling fan helps your AC run more efficiently by circulating the air around the room, especially in bigger spaces like the living room. Not only do they improve your AC’s efficiency, they also make you feel cooler and provide a ‘wind chill’, which we can all appreciate during Jacksonville’s hot summer months. For best results, run the fans downwards or counterclockwise during the summer months and upward or clockwise during the winter months.
Letting Outside Air In
While the AC is running keep all your windows and doors closed. If it is a cool evening and you want to let the fresh air breeze through the house, shut off the AC. Making the AC compete with the humid air will reduce its operating efficiency.
Closing Unused Vents
Although it may seem like it, closing vents in unused rooms does not actually save energy. Despite this logic myth, no matter how many vents you have open or closed, the unit still produces the same amount of air. In fact, the added pressure caused by closing vents may result in air leaking out of your system, causing unnecessary air waste. An air leak also causes your system to have to work much harder. Don’t forget to check for leaks in your attic as many people forget to think about this area when cooling the rest of their homes.
Not Keeping up with Routine Maintenance
The best way to avoid major problems is to have your unit regularly maintenanced by a professional and act early when you sense an issue. You should schedule your technician to come at least once a year to inspect the condition of your AC system. The general rule of air conditioner efficiency is based on age. If your system is about 2 years old, typically repairs will be sufficient. If your system is about 8 years old and reaching the end of its lifespan, a replacement is the way to go. If you are in the middle, it’s best to focus on regular maintenance routines so you get the most out of your units lifetime.
Ignoring AC Issues
Choosing to ignore AC problems is one of the most detrimental mistakes you can make. The AC system is a big investment for your home and it is your responsibility to protect it. At the first sign of trouble, check your unit for any visible signs and be ready to call in your HVAC professional to properly diagnose the situation. In many situations, you can fix some of the top AC issues on your own.
Think you’re prepared to take on the summer heat? Don’t let the AC steal your time away from your greatly anticipated summer plans. For any further questions regarding best practices or other tips for staying cool, contact one of our Snyder technicians.