YOUR STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE BEGINS HERE.
1. Pay Attention To Your HVAC System.
A central air conditioner is an incredibly complex and finely tuned machine – at least it’s supposed to be.
Here’s the thing about sophisticated machinery:
It wants to work perfectly, all the time.
Your AC system wants to do the job it was built for, and all those moving parts means it can be finicky. But that can work to your advantage if you’re keeping your eyes, ears, and nose on it as you go about your daily life.
You are the first line of defense.
Air conditioners will give you little warnings if something is going wrong, but you have to know what the signs are. Here are some red flags you might notice:
- Strange noises – clicking, screeching, or increased volume.
- Airflow issues, such as rooms not getting cool enough.
- A misbehaving thermostat.
- Water leaking from unfamiliar places.
- An overflowing drain pan or leaky drain line.
- Strange smells, especially mold or electrical burning.
If you manage to catch problems early, you can have them taken care of quickly, and your HVAC system can maintain optimal performance parameters.
2. COUNT ON THE TUNE-UP TO CATCH WHAT YOU MISS
The tune-up is the most important scheduled maintenance for your ac equipment. Nonetheless, homeowners frequently overlook regular annual or biannual maintenance appointments, and their equipment suffers. Skipping the tune-up is analogous to driving your car without changing the oil.
If you drive your car without maintaining it, you will, inevitably, break it.
By that same logic, if you run your system for several seasons without a tune-up, you are risking catastrophic problems.
So what is a tune-up, exactly?
If you make an appointment in the spring to have your equipment tuned up for the summer, our technicians will:
- Inspect your ductwork to ensure they are clean, sealed, insulated and free of obstructions.
- Check the levels of refrigerant and confirm that you don’t have any leaks.
- Check your lines for signs of refrigerant or water leakage anywhere in the system.
- Clean your condenser coils and housing, and, if necessary, straighten cooling fins.
- Carefully inspect all of your wiring to ensure that temperature changes haven’t loosened or compromised your air conditioner’s electrical integrity.
- Test the performance of your system and adjust as needed to make sure it’s optimized.
- Confirm that your air filters are fresh and ready to go.
- Check any and all other necessary components until they are reasonably confident that you will have a problem-free cooling season.
All of that comes at an extremely reasonable cost. Reach out to Air Conditioner Tampa today for more information or to schedule a tune-up.
3. CHANGE THOSE FILTERS
Step 2, above, mentioned changing filters. When we do an annual or biannual inspection, checking on your filters is a part of the process; however, filters should be changed more often. It is common to change or clean your filters about once a month, perhaps a bit more regularly if your home has air quality issues or furry animals.
How important are your air filters?
The word “critical” comes to mind when discussing air filters in your HVAC system. Whether your filters are disposable or washable, it’s important to keep them as clean as possible. Dirty air filters lead to a whole host of serious problems, mostly because they’re blocking air circulation and forcing your system to push too hard.
Dirty air filters contribute to particle, pollen, or allergen buildup in your home. Molds and bacteria may also crop up, leading to serious concerns for anyone with breathing issues.
Filters that haven’t been cleaned may also cause a nasty odor to spill out of your ducts. If your house has been smelling musty or of mildew, or if you’re sneezing more frequently, it’s probable that you’ve forgotten to change your filters.
Dirty air filters cause short cycling –which is what we call it when a system turns on and off too frequently. Your air conditioner is at maximum efficiency in the MIDDLE of the active or “ON” cycle, so short cycling makes your system work consistently at a lower degree of efficiency.
To be clear: that is costing you money.
Dirty air filters stop cold air from escaping through your vents, which can cause the interior temperatures to plummet – which can literally freeze your evaporator coils and shut your entire system down.
On top of all of that, you’re contributing very consistently to a higher degree of wear and tear on your equipment.
4. CONSIDER A LOW-RESISTANCE AIR FILTER
Low resistance air filters are an option, particularly if you don’t have allergens. Let’s go over the differences very quickly.
Essentially, there are four main types of air filters: Fiberglass panels which are typically flat and porous, pleated media filters, HEPA filters, and washable or reusable filters. Your HVAC system can probably handle more than one type of appropriately sized filter, but do you know which one you need?
Filters are graded on the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV. HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters, which are very popular, have a MERV rating that is typically much higher than fiberglass or washable filters.
Does that mean you should automatically choose a HEPA filter? Not necessarily.
High MERV rating also means that air has to work a little harder to pass through the filter, so a particularly efficient and effective filter will also – surprisingly – make your system push itself more. They are also more expensive than fiberglass filters. HEPA filters are the right choice if you’ve got air quality issues or serious allergy problems, but if your home isn’t prone to particulates in the air, you may elect a less expensive low-resistance filter on purpose.
Why would you choose the less effective filter?
Because air passes through it more quickly, and thus your central air conditioner can circulate air without requiring as much effort. Lower resistance air filters may extend the life of your system, particularly compared to HEPA filters.
5. UPGRADE YOUR THERMOSTAT
You get home, and it’s a bit warmer than you like. You decide to turn the temperature down on your thermostat to cool things off a bit.
Did you picture yourself walking up to something on the wall that you spin counterclockwise? Did you imagine pressing a white button and watching a digital number drop?
You probably didn’t picture reaching for your phone or tablet, right?
But today’s thermostats can do remarkable things.
Don’t get me wrong. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a basic thermostat. It does precisely what it is intended to do, and if that’s enough for you, I support that. However, you’re reading this article because you want to get the most out of your HVAC system. Perhaps you looked up a new heat pump price or the cost of an AC installation and decided you’d prefer to keep what you have.
No matter your reasoning, a programmable thermostat is a key part of a high-performance system. They can:
- Be controlled from a mobile device via an app, even when you aren’t home, which allows you an unprecedented level of freedom.
- Monitor temperature and performance data and give you feedback and tips on how to be even more energy efficient.
- Create heating or cooling “zones” in your home, allowing you to decide precisely which rooms will be climate-controlled.
If you are considering an upgrade, you’ll find that modern technology takes a lot of the guesswork and tedium out of older programmable thermostats.
6. INSTALL CEILING FANS IN THE ROOMS OF YOUR HOME
Have you ever wondered what people did before air conditioning?
Ceiling fans were the preferred method of cooling one’s home in the days before Willis Carrier’s air conditioning inventions revolutionized the field. They remain in common use today, but as a companion to, rather than a replacement for, your central air conditioner.
Why do you want a ceiling fan if you’ve got AC?
An AC installation should take efficiency into account, and ceiling fans make your equipment work more efficiently. Even on a low, slow and quiet setting, a ceiling fan moves a lot of air around, and it has a unique effect on people: if you’re in a room that is 80 degrees Fahrenheit, a ceiling fan will make that room feel like it is only 75. That means you can set your thermostat 4 or 5 degrees higher while the fans are on.
Want to know the best part?
A ceiling fan costs about $0.01 every hour that it’s running. Now that’s what I call a bargain.
7. GET THE INSTALLATION DONE RIGHT
Most homeowners buy a home with a central air conditioner pre-installed. It is only those who are building their home or replacing a previous system who have the advantage of being able to insist on a job done right.
An air conditioning installation, if it’s done well, has taken into consideration hundreds of variables. Contractors must perform complex load calculations and home audits, plan convoluted ductwork layouts, consider a home’s thermal envelope, and weigh performance against efficiency.
They must also balance all of that knowledge against the desires of the homeowner. This puts you in a very good position if you’re ready to install a new air conditioner or heat pump. Price and performance are elements of an HVAC system that are within your control; the skill level of the installation contractor can sometimes be harder to confirm.
In short, however, a good installation can mean the difference between an HVAC system that underperforms or dies before the warranty expires, and an HVAC system that hums along efficiently for a couple of decades, only to be retired, not because it’s broken, but because the homeowner wants to take advantage of modern innovations.
8. WATCH FOR OBSTRUCTIONS THAT CAN LIMIT AIRFLOW
This may surprise you to hear, but you can shorten the life of your air conditioner with a poorly placed wardrobe. As we’ve said, anything that restricts or limits airflow can cause problems. Now, if something is blocking your vents, that’s not a direct issue, but it’s going to cause issues nonetheless.
If the vent is blocked in, for instance, a bedroom, because you didn’t realize that the new wardrobe was a foot taller than you’d thought, that bedroom isn’t going to get cool enough. In response, someone in the house is going to turn the thermostat down – which makes your HVAC system run harder and longer than it needs to.
9. MAKE A HABIT OF HOSING OFF YOUR OUTSIDE UNIT
The condenser unit that sits outside of your home does a lot of the heavy lifting, and because it’s outside, it is vulnerable to clogging by dirt, leaves, trash, and whatever other muck the world can throw at it. If you make a habit, once a month or so of hosing the unit down, you’ll go a long way toward keeping your air conditioner happy.
And happy air conditioners live longer lives.
If you have any questions about maximizing the life and efficiency of your HVAC system, call our AC installation experts today.
Call us right now if you questions about this article or would like to discuss service for your AC system at 813-701-3430
TAMPA - HERE ARE 9 Pro tips to extend the life of your central air conditioner
Hey there Tampa, and hey there World.
I have a question:
Are you frustrated by your HVAC system?
Is the expense of an impending AC installation worrying you?
If you find yourself worrying that you’ll need to fund a new air conditioning installation or are concerned that a new heat pump price tag will be more than your wallet can handle, you’re probably looking for ways to extend the life of your current central air conditioner.
We solve this.
Years in the industry have taught us everything we need to know to help your HVAC system remain useful for longer than you dare hope, and if you follow these scientifically proven steps, you could save thousands of dollars and avoid tackling the cost a new system
Of course, most air conditioning installation contractors would hesitate to share these trade secrets with you … but we do things a little differently around here.
So read on, and we’ll do our best to help you maximize the lifespan of your AC