The following information should help you to assure that your Air-conditioning is keeping your home as cool as possible without wasting too much valuable energy. The information in this article can help you decide if you need a professional to service your Air-conditioning, to assure that the A/C keeps on working and cooling as efficiently as possible, saving you money.
Before you pick up the phone to call a licensed contractor to service/repair your air conditioning make sure that you have covered all the basic things that could be causing the problem with your air conditioning system or portable a\c.
Check your air-conditioner to see if:
- the thermostat switch is set to the proper position
- the set-point is below the room temperature.
- the furnace is plugged in and the power switch turned on.
- the air-conditioning disconnect or breaker has been turned on.
- the furnace filter is clean.
Air conditioning thermostats have bi-metals (older thermostat) or thermistors (new thermostat). These bi-metals or thermistor sense the air current returning to the return ducts or the surrounding air. For a residential air conditioner, the best location is the hall. The hall is usually the best place for the A/C thermostat to read the air current correctly.
Try setting your thermostat between 72°F and 78°F. Each degree setting below 78°F will increase your energy consumption by as much as 8%. Adding up to a lot of money that you can save on your utility bills over a year.
The Air Filters
Air filter(s) have to be clean. The air filters are usually located near the return air duct adjacent to the air handler or in a return air grill(s). Check your air filters every 30 to 90 days to make sure that they are clean. Depending on the house, i.e. if you have pets or not you may need to clean the air filter more frequently.
The AC/Heating Coils
Inspect and clean both your indoor and the outdoor A/C heating coils. The indoor coil inside the air conditioner acts as a magnet for dust because it is always a little wet during the summer. Dust and dirt build-up on the indoor coil is the single most common cause of poor A/C efficiency.
The outdoor coil must also be checked periodically for dirt build-up and cleaned if necessary. Make sure to wash the outside condenser coil once a year. If it's dirty, the air conditioner will run hot and inefficient.
To clean the air-conditioner coils, make sure the power from the unit is disconnected first.
When you need to have your equipment serviced make sure you use a local plumber who is insured and has the needed permits from your local city or county officials. Or a member of the (PHCC) Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors Association.