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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.

Go with the Airflow: How to get the most out of your air conditioner with efficient airflow

Improving the efficiency of your air conditioning is a great way to save yourself money on utility costs, maintain the health of your air conditioning unit for longer, and keep you cooler. With warmer weather just around the corner, now is the time to make sure your air conditioner is fully operational and giving you the best airflow efficiency.

 

Read on to learn about the importance of airflow efficiency, and our tips on how to maximize the function of your air conditioner in time for summer.

 

We’ve assembled some of the best ways to optimize airflow and get the most out of your air conditioner. From general maintenance tips to optimizing the area surrounding your AC unit, we’ve got all the information you need to ensure you stay cool and comfortable.

 

What Problems Are Caused By Inefficient Airflow?

 

 

1 – High Energy Costs

One of the main issues that stems from an inefficient air conditioner is that it can really ramp up your energy bills. Around ¾ of US homes have air conditioning installed, and the electricity required to run it makes up a large chunk of your energy bill. If your house and AC unit are not optimized for efficient airflow, you’ll likely be using more energy than you need.

 

2 – Your Air Conditioner Could Break Completely

If your air conditioner is not maintained to keep it healthy and efficient, you run the risk of the unit breaking completely. The filters, coils and fins all require regular cleaning and maintenance in order to keep them working efficiently. If you neglect to keep your air conditioner in good condition, it will have a much shorter lifespan.

 

3 – Dangers of Leaking Coolant

Inefficient air conditioners are much more likely to break, and this can cause the coolant, or refrigerant, to leak out of the unit. If a coolant is leaked, especially in hot weather, it can evaporate and form freon. Freon is an odorless, tasteless gas that can cause serious damage to your internal organs and cells if inhaled. Reduce the risk of leaked coolant by getting your air conditioner regularly maintained by a professional.

 

4 – Increased Risk of Dehydration

Aside from the financial cost of replacing or repairing an inefficient air conditioner, the risk of having no air conditioning in your home during the hottest months of the year pose a serious threat to your physical health. Dehydration occurs quickly when temperatures soar, causing dizziness, blurred vision, and in extreme cases loss of consciousness.

 

5 – Heat Exhaustion & Heatstroke

Other heat-related health issues include heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Heat exhaustion can lead to dizziness and loss of consciousness. Heatstroke is a serious medical issue and should be treated by medical professionals. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, fever and chills. You are more at risk of developing a heat-related health problem in hot weather if your air conditioner isn’t working efficiently.

 

How to Improve the Airflow of Your Air Conditioner

 

In order to keep your house fresh and cool and your air conditioning unit working to its best capacity, you need to increase airflow efficiency. Here are our top tips for maximizing airflow and keeping you air conditioner healthy and functional.

 

1 – Clean Your Unit’s Filters Thoroughly

Ideally you should clean your air conditioner’s air filter once per month, especially when it is in high use during the warmer seasons. There are a few different ways to clean your filter. You can use a vacuum cleaner to suck out any debris that has collected there. You can also wash your filter with warm water, or use a damp cloth to remove dirt and dust. You can get rid of any odor from your filter by scrubbing it with baking soda. Avoid using soap products or washing your filter with dishes as this can leave an unwanted residue on the filter.

 

2 – Clean the Drain Line

The drain line is the part of your air conditioner that drains the condensed liquids. An air conditioner is designed to collect water in the air and remove it through the drain line: this reduces humidity, cooling your home in the process. Over time, mildew, mold and other residues can build up in the drain line, causing your air conditioner to become less efficient. You can easily clean out your drain line by pouring a cup of bleach into the pipe. This will unclog anything that has accumulated there and keep your AC in top working order.

 

3 – Clear Out Vents in Your Home

As well as regularly maintaining your air conditioner, you need to make sure your home is optimized for efficient air flow. This means you need to keep your vents clean and clear of debris and any blockages. Indoor vents help keep the flow of air to your air conditioner steady which means it can work to its full capacity. Vacuum indoor vents to remove dust and other build-ups, and make sure your vents aren’t obstructed by furniture or blinds.

 

4 – Close All Windows and Doors

Your air conditioner won’t work properly if it’s trying to process all the air in the outside world as well as the air inside your home! When your AC unit is in use, make sure to keep all windows and doors closed so your home is kept cool and reduce the amount of hot air that can get in from outside.

 

5 – Keep Heat-Producing Appliances Away from Your Thermostat

Your thermostat is used to tell your air conditioner what the temperature of the air is, and controls how hard the AC unit has to work in order to keep your home cool. If your thermostat registers heat from a heat-producing appliance, it will communicate to the air conditioner that the air is hotter than it actually is, and the air conditioner will have to work harder, thinking your home needs to be cooled more. Avoid this by keeping all lamps, stoves, boilers, and other heat-producing kitchen appliances away from your thermostat.

 

6 – Ensure Ductwork is Properly Sealed

The ductwork of an air conditioner is what transports the air from room to room, removing warm air and delivering cool air in its place. If your ductwork is not properly sealed, there can be leaks of air into spaces that you don’t need conditioned, such as loft or basement spaces. Use special duct-sealing tape to mend any visible gaps in your ductwork. Alternatively, hire professional help with ensuring all your ductwork is properly sealed and functional around your home.

 

7 – Avoid Using Large Heat-Producing Appliances in the Daytime

 

 

During the warm seasons, the middle of day is the hottest time and is likely when your air conditioner will have to work the hardest. Using large heat-producing appliances at this time of day, such as an oven, heater, or dryer will cause extra hot air to be drawn into your home. Avoid using these appliances in the middle of the day to help optimize airflow and keep your home fresh and cool.

 

 

 

So, there you have all the information you need to get the most out of your air conditioner. Maximizing airflow is achieved through regular maintenance of your AC unit, as well as by optimizing your home to keep air as cool as possible. We recommend seeking professional assistance in the installation of upkeep of your air conditioner, as this will ensure it is working efficiently and not eating into your energy bill.

 

Stay cool and go with the airflow!

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