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Jun 22, 2021 11:25:03 AM by Brian Kinkade

How to Keep Your Air Conditioner Running Smoothly

Tips to keep your HVAC system running efficiently

Homeowners know how crucial it is to keep your AC system running smoothly during the blazing hot summers. If your AC unit isn't installed, maintained, and properly used you may be damaging the longevity of your system. This could waste lots of time, money, and energy. See what common AC mistakes homeowners make and some troubleshooting tips and tricks.
Warm weather approaches fast -- one day you have sweatpants on and the next you're taking a dip in the pool. When this weather hits, homeowners jump to cranking the air conditioning to keep their house cool. But in order to ensure your system runs smoothly, proper use and maintenance are key. If your unit is not maintained or used properly, you could be wasting money and energy while marching towards a breakdown.
Don't wait for your air conditioner to fail at the height of summer. Scheduling a maintenance check-up before the heat wave kicks in will guarantee your system does its job when you need it most. Continue reading to learn other common mistakes homeowners make with their AC systems, as well as troubleshooting tips to prevent issues from arising.

The Most Common HVAC Mistakes

Mistake: Waiting until summer to check on your AC

Many homeowners wait until the hottest day of the year to check their AC unit and expect it run in perfect condition. But compare this to going for a five-mile sprint after not going running or exercising all year; just as we need to maintain our bodies to keep up with our lives, we must also maintain our HVAC systems so that they can "sprint" during those hot summer months.
Preventative maintenance is key to your system running smoothly, so don't wait until summer to start thinking about upkeep. With HVAC companies being busiest in the summer months, scheduling AC tune-ups ahead of time will ensure your system is ready for the busy season ahead.
Schedule My AC Tune-Up

Mistake: Gardening near your condenser

Many homeowners take pride in their green thumb by displaying beautiful landscaping around their home. If your system features an outdoor condenser, be mindful of these systems when gardening near them. Burying them in top soil or mulch can cause breakdowns and limit a technician's access to them.
Overall, this will cause issues for your home and for your garden, as it will need to be dug out to be fixed. If possible, keep mulch and dirt away from your condenser or make sure your condenser is always uncovered and level with the garden.
In general, with the condenser constantly pulling air in to cool it, it is also pulling in lots of dirt and debris. We recommend simply hosing-off the condenser a couple of times a  year so that it doesn't stifle the airflow.

Mistake: You don't clean the air filter

Air filters are what help filter out the dust and allergens from circulating in your home. That means grimy and cluttered filters lead to dirty air filled with pollen and dust being recirculated. So while you can't keep dust from forming, you can keep it from spreading.
Dirty HVAC units spread dust faster than anything else. Here at ECI, filter cleaning and changing is a necessary part of our AC Tune Ups. These annual check-ups help keep your unit running at maximum efficiency while reducing airborne bacteria. Air filters help with seasonal allergies, dust, and airborne bacteria to keep you from getting sick. 
A clogged air filter is also like wrapping the coil up in a blanket. If it's really dirty, air won't be able to get through and cool down the area properly, causing your system to use more energy than it needs to, which will cost you more money.
ECI Comfort Anti-Virus BundlesIndoor air quality is important for your HVAC system

Mistake: AC unit surrounded by home appliances

Air conditioning units typically contain sensors to automatically cycle on and off in order to maintain a certain temperature in the home. These sensors can be tricked into thinking the room is at the desired temperature if certain appliances are near the system. Lamps, TVs, and refrigerators can all emit cold or hot air, fooling your system and making it work harder and less efficiently. Direct sunlight and cooking in the oven can also play a factor in temperature manipulation and be counterproductive if you are trying to cool your home.

Mistake: Using the AC more than needed

We tend to turn on the AC as soon as there is a slight rise in temperature, and the energy used to run these systems can get costly. Ceiling fans and windows are great alternatives when there is a nice breeze outside.
Another option could be to install a ductless mini-split system, like this one from Mitsubishi. This gives you the luxury to focus air on rooms that need it most, and turn off the units in rooms that you don't spend as much time in when it's hot outside. Only cooling (or heating) certain rooms allows you to save energy and money. 

Mistake: "Hyper cooling" your home after a long day

How to maintain your air conditioner and save money

After a long day out in the sun, you probably want a cool house to relax in -- so you turn the thermostat
down to 60 thinking it will cool faster than if you set it to 70. However, the
only thing that speeds up in this case is wasted energy, while fan speed and motor speed remain the same.
Doing this makes the system cool the air to an extreme temperature, taking longer and using more energy than needed. If you are ever in this situation, set the thermostat to the desired temperature you want and it will cool just as fast.

Best Practices for Your AC

Tip: Placement of your outdoor AC unit

Location can be everything when it comes to air conditioners. Placing units in warmer spots that receive a lot of sun cause the unit to use more energy to cool the air. This, in turn, costs you more money for energy that isn't even used for your home. When installing outdoor AC units, aim for a shaded zone where the area is clear of shrubbery and clutter is minimal, if possible. This will help airflow and cooling while using less energy to run, saving you money. 
Tip: Install a programmable Nest Thermostat
Programmable thermostats help your system run more efficiently and help you save money. With these smart thermostats, you can create a personalized schedule that's best suited for your home situation. Adding preferences also helps your system adjust automatically over time and use less energy. This system also helps you control the temperature on the go, as it is compatible with Google smart speakers, the Google app, or just using the thermostat directly.
No more waiting to get home on a hot day to turn on the AC -- with Nest Thermostats you can ensure you home is cool when you walk through the door. Nest can also send you reminders on when to change filters and suggestions on temperature adjustment so you can save on your energy bill.
See If Nest Is Compatible With Your Home

Tip: Listen for odd noises and watch out for strange smells

Either of these things could be early signs that something isn’t quite right, which means you shouldn't continue to run your system and possibly cause more damage. In this case, it's best to call an experienced technician to look at the system. They’ll be able to diagnose the problem and make any necessary repairs before further damage is done.

Tip: Don't turn down the AC to combat humidity

Running your AC at extra cool temperatures to help with humidity is a no-no. Instead, opt for a dehumidifier for your home.
A whole home dehumidifier, like this one from Trane, is a better way to solve humidity concerns in your home. Over cooling by turning down the AC temperature costs more to operate during the summer, and AC does not provide comfort during the spring and fall seasons when outside temperatures will not allow the AC to run.

Preventative Maintenance and Common Care are Key!

From the list above, you can see a common theme of preventative maintenance and how crucial it is for the efficiency and longevity of your system. If your system is cluttered with dirt and debris it will be working extra hard to produce the same result as if it were clean, thus wasting energy and money.
Placement, time used, and cleaning all play a part in your system running at optimum levels for your home, and extend the longevity of the system as well. Cleaning your home and appliances are common, but don't forget about the AC unit.
Don't neglect a vital part of your home, take the proper precautions and schedule preventative maintenance on your system. Scheduling before the weather gets hot will help make sure your system is up and running all summer long.

If you live in the Delaware Valley/Greater Philadelphia area and would like to find comfort within your home, visit our website or give us a call at 215 - 245 - 3200 to learn more.

Schedule My AC Tune-Up


This entry was posted in Save Energy, Comfort Tips, Thermostats, Preventative Maintenance, Air Filters, Ductless, Indoor Air Quality, Charity, Troubleshooting, How To

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