5 Mistakes You’re Probably Making With Your AC Unit
Once considered a luxurious feat of science, controlling temperature for your home with an affordable AC unit is now an everyday expectation, but still one that requires a bit more attention than you may be giving it to keep your home nice and cool.
There have been many advances in HVAC technology through the decades, since the first modern electrical air conditioning units to hit the market in the early 1900s. A century later, nearly 50 percent of all energy consumption in American homes is a result of cooling and heat, according to the Energy Information Administration. It’s hard not to take for granted all the advancements that led to the modern AC unit that cools your home today, all of which must be more diligently cared for than most homeowners understand.
A little TLC for your AC unit can go a long way in ultimately saving you a lot of time, money and hassle.
Start Handling Your AC Unit Like a Pro and Stop Doing These 5 Things
You’re Not Considering Your Way Of Life
While AC units may seem like a “one size fits all” appliance, each home and the family that lives therein affects how to adjust, clean and manage it. If you have pets or many individuals living in the home, extra dust, dander and dirt will likely circulate through the ventilation system. Smoke in the home, from either cigarettes or a fireplace, will tax your AC unit further. If you live in an arid climate, or if you simply prefer a cooler home, you probably run the AC unit six or more months out of the year. Thankfully, it’s easy to manage your AC unit to accommodate all these lifestyle choices — simply chance the air filters in the AC unit once per month. Otherwise, if your home is free of pets, smoke and excess debris, simply change the filter every ten weeks.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 37% of homes in the Midwest use central air conditioning all summer, twenty-four hours a day, every day of the week, which jeopardizes both the condition of your AC unit as well as the state of your wallet from all those electricity bills. In the Southern states, that rate nearly doubles to 67%.
To prepare for summer, it’s recommended to set the thermostat of your AC unit higher at night than when you’re awake, as your body can tolerate the difference much more comfortably while you’re asleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
You’re Treating Your Thermostat Like A Television Remote
As nearly every ‘90s sitcom portrayed, fidgeting with the thermostat can cause a lot of household drama, but every change to the AC unit has greater effects, too. According to Reliant Energy, you’ll cut up to 3% off your AC bill for every degree you raise the temperature. One can easily cut their costs by 10% without hardly breaking a sweat. Additionally, if you wish to cool your home considerably right away, resist the urge to dial your AC unit far lower than you actually want it to be. Patience is not simply a virtue — it’s also a requirement for treating your AC unit properly.
More than anything, however, it’s recommended to install a programmable thermostat that lets you set your AC unit to cool the house at lower temperatures while you’re home and higher temperatures while you’re away. According to the EIA, less than 50% of homes in the Midwest have a programmable thermostat to manage their AC unit, which are designed specifically to reduce consumption by automatically and routinely lowering the temperature whenever necessary. Plus, with the rise of smart technology and mobile compatibility, many such programmable thermostats may be managed while out of the home, making it a doubly sensible investment.
You’re Not Properly Accounting For Drainage, Leakage & Water
As with many modern appliances, your AC unit does more for your home than you may think. In addition to keeping it cool, the AC unit also removes moisture from the air to decrease the humidity level in the house. Over time, that moisture accrues into condensed water that drains from the AC unit through a pipe that leads outside the home.
While a great convenience, this extra moisture can also account for extra hassle if not monitored and managed properly. If the water is not effectively drained from the AC unit, a flood of problems may seep into your home. Improper insulation on indoor tubing may lead to beads of moisture that drip as the AC unit runs, which can easily go unnoticed until water damage has already occurred. Further, drain pipes that don’t successfully carry the water from the AC unit to a clear and suitable exit can result in extensive damage and costly repairs. Thankfully, it’s an easy problem to avoid with simple vigilance. Check the drain pipe often, especially after storms, construction or other circumstances that may have caused structural change to your home’s fixtures and ensure the drain pipe is indeed draining all the excess water unimpeded. If the end is at all obstructed, the water, as well as yard waste and debris, will clog the drain pipes, damage the AC unit and compromise the structural integrity of your home as well.
You’ve Not Accounted For Positioning
Though you may want to consider décor as you select the placement for your thermostat and AC unit, pragmatism should take precedent over prettiness. If positioned in direct sunlight or lamplight, the thermostat may be adversely affected and even misread the temperature of the home, causing you to twist the dials far more than you may have intended. Additionally, ensure furniture, curtains and belongings do not obstruct any of the AC vents, as these may limit air circulation. Finally, for the households with outdoor condenser cabinets for their AC units, you may be tempted to hide the appliance behind shrubbery or decoration; however, it is recommended to give it two feet of clearance on all sides to permit the fan to properly circulate air and release heat.
Though it may not be the most decorative addition to your home, your AC unit must be given just as much consideration as any other household fixture, if not more, to guarantee a safe and comfortable home.
You’re Not Giving Your AC Unit Proper Care
Whether you consider yourself a DIY homeowner or if you’re more comfortable holding the flashlight for someone else to do the dirty work, it’s easier than many may think to keep your AC unit up to snuff.
Change the filter at least every ten weeks and as often as once a month, as a dirty filter can lead to much more damage, such as freezing the AC unit’s evaporator coil and adding up to 15% to your air conditional bill, according to Purdue University’s engineering staff. Additionally, scrub and soap-up the fins of your AC unit, an easy project we walk you through on our site [link: https://stadtlerhvac.com/services/air-conditioning-maintenance/]
Though a simple task, even the hardiest of homeowners needs to have the AC unit serviced professionally periodically, no matter how chill they like to keep it.