If you’ve ever had an air conditioning system break, you know how horrible and uncomfortable it can be. Taking a shower is useless and sleeping comfortably is almost impossible.
You want to head off this trouble before it happens. Each home varies depending on the actual insulation values, duct work conditions, location of the home with respect to sun exposure, individual user operations, current system design, age, and efficiency of the equipment. Taking all of that into consideration, here are some ways you can determine if your air conditioner may be on its way out.
- Your digital thermostat’s display is blank or has lost power
- You hear unusual noises coming from your equipment
- Water is leaking from your indoor unit (Attic units can leak and cause water stains on the ceiling)
Are you still having trouble? There are some other things you can do to quickly determine if your air conditioning unit isn’t working properly.
Check the Temperature
Does it feel hot in your house? Make sure your thermostat is set to Air Conditioning Mode. If it’s two or more degrees warmer in your home than your thermostat setting, the air conditioner should be working. If it’s not, you may have a problem. Sometimes air conditioners can have trouble keeping up if it’s hotter than 93 degrees outside, but most of the time it should be able to maintain your home within a couple of degrees of your setting.
Feel the Air
If you still think something may be wrong with your system, check the air coming out of the supply vents. If the outdoor unit is running and the thermostat is in Air Conditioning Mode, you should feel cold air. If there is considerably less air than normal coming out of the vents, or if the air is warm, there may be an issue. If the outdoor unit is running and there is no air coming out of the vents, this is also a problem.
If this happens, your evaporator coils may be iced over. Be sure to cut off the unit so that it can thaw before a technician arrives.
Change Your Filters
Before you decide to call a technician, check your air filters. Dirty air filters can cause all sorts of problems. Replacing a dirty air filter may fix the issue. Change your filters regularly and keep your system well maintained to extend its life.
Here are a couple of home energy efficiency tips for your home not just for winter or summer but for all year-round! This should help you save a lot from your utility bills. These tips will not also help you save money but you are actually saving energy and doing your part for the environment!
Home Energy Efficiency Tips for Winter
- Set your thermostat to 68°F during the day and 60°F at night. This should allow you to save at least 3% on your heating costs during winter.
- Install a window kit to the inside of your windows so that no cold air will come in and no warm air will go out.
- Change the filters of your heating system at a regular basis. A well-maintained heating system can save money and increase the comfort level in your home.
- Make sure your furnace is airtight because you may be losing more heat than you are generating.
- Check all the ductwork in your home for any air leakage if you want to save up to 10% on your heating costs. If you found any leakage be sure to use a silver metal duct tape to seal it – or better yet, call a professional to do it.
Home Energy Efficiency Tips for Summer
- Check the air filter of your AC unit on a regular basis. A clean air filter will improve the unit’s efficiency and save both energy and money.
- Your thermostat should be set to a comfortable level (~76°F.) 76°F should be comfortable enough for you and your family as it is the most energy-efficient indoor temperature.
- Get a professional to look at your AC unit just to make sure that it works properly and there are no issues with it.
- Don’t forget to ensure your windows and the doors are closed every time you turn on your AC.
- Make sure that your TV, lamps or other appliances are not close to your AC thermostat as it may cause for your air conditioner to cool the room more than is needed.
- Be sure that there are no object or furniture blocking the ducts and fans of your cooling system so the cool air can circulate freely and properly.
Home Energy Efficiency Tips All Year-Round
- Did you know that a water heater has the third highest energy expense in most homes? If you have a water heater at home be sure to set its water temperature to 130°F instead of 140°F to save a couple of dollars each month.
- Use a microwave to cook meals instead of an oven to save energy. This not only saves energy from the use of the oven itself but in cooling the house after baking.
- Wash your clothes in cold water and you will save at least $50 per year.
- Another way to save energy in the laundry room is to put a dry towel in the dryer with each load of wet clothes. The towel will absorb dampness and reduce drying time, saving energy and money.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with more efficient compact fluorescent and/or LED bulbs. Besides saving energy, you will also save money in the long run, since the life spans of these bulbs is substantially longer.
- If you have a crawl space, inspect it regularly to ensure that the insulation inside is dry. When insulation gets wet, it isn’t as effective. Be sure to find the source of the moisture and replace any damaged insulation.
- Vacuum the coils on your refrigerator at least every three months. The dirt buildup makes the refrigerator work harder to keep the contents cool and therefore uses more energy.
Summer is here and the temperatures across the country have started to rise. For some of us, it is a welcomed change from the cold winter. However, it also means that expensive cooling bills are on their way and the fights over the thermostat in your home and for some our workplaces.
When it comes to controlling temperature, even small adjustments can have big impacts. For every degree, you adjust your thermostat to, results in about a 3% savings. If your cooling bill is $200 during the hot summer months, that equals about $6 per degree per month. The key to adjusting your thermostat is to still keep the space feeling comfortable. This is where the use of air circulating fans come into play.
Don’t believe the myth that standard air circulating fans do not cool the air and that the only way air can be cooled is with some type of refrigerant added to the mix. What air circulators do is make your body feel like it is being cooled. Think of it this way. Imagine you’re outside on a hot day and there’s no breeze at all, it’s going to feel really hot. But if there’s a slight breeze, it will feel cooler. The air temperature has not changed, but the moving air passing across your skin gives your body the feeling that it’s cooler. There are scientific formulas that could explain this, but for this example, we need to agree that air blowing across our skin makes us feel cooler. By creating an artificial breeze in our homes or workplaces, you can set the temperature higher but still feel comfortable.
An added benefit of using fans is that they distribute the cool air from an air conditioner vent evenly throughout the cooled space. Almost all homes and workplaces have areas that are normally warmer than the other areas. Using fans will distribute the cool air more evenly from room to room within the space. This will take stress off your HVAC unit so that you will not have to run it longer than it needs to just to get that one area cool enough to feel comfortable.
Air circulating fans use electricity, so how much do I really save? Fans do use electricity, however, the amount it takes to operate a fan compared to an air conditioner is a great deal less. An average fan uses about 40 watts. A typical household air conditioner will use between 1000 watts for a single window unit that can cool 1 or 2 rooms to 3500 watts for a central air unit. If using an air circulating fan allows you to raise the thermostat 3 to 4 or more degrees that could mean your air conditioning units operates about an hour less a day, which can add up over the course of a month or over a hot summer.
Why You Should Always Hire a Licensed Air Conditioning Company
Welcome to the Part III of our look at why you should hire a licensed air conditioning company.
Insurance and Bonding. There are risks involved when repairing or replacing an HVAC system. Because of that, you need to be protected. A licensed company will have the right state and local licenses. Additionally they will be bonded and insured.
An important factor in choosing the correct company is insurance coverage. Liability and coverage for your home, property, as well as your family, are provided by hiring a licensed company. Your homeowner’s insurance policy will not cover work done by an unlicensed company.
Bonding provides protection on top of a company guarantee. A surety bond is provided to cover job incompletion, poor workmanship, improper permits, or if a technician does not pay workers or vendors. Most licensing boards require that contractors are bonded before applying for their license.
Permits Rules and Regulations. Local professionals know the latest requirements for your area. There are a number of rules and regulations, such as building codes, inspections, and permits required that HVAC companies must follow when installing or repairing a unit. The average homeowners are unaware of these requirements, however, a licensed company will know and follow them. Hiring the right company will reduce the chance that you’ll run into problems.
Here are just a few examples of just a few things that could happen if you do not hire licensed air conditioning technician.
- Down the road, you decide to sell your home not knowing the proper codes or not having filed the correct permits can be an expensive issue. This will result in extra expense and delay the sale of your home.
- You could have a fire due to faulty wiring.
- Drain lines and float switches not installed to code could cause flooding and damage to your system.
Would your insurance cover it if not done by a licensed professional? Do you want to take that risk?
With a licensed company, you’ll have a peace of mind that any HVAC service you need will be done effectively and efficiently and they will offer continued service. Oftentimes, the person that offers the “best deal” quite frankly does not survive in the long run. Unlicensed technicians cut corners and lack the skills and expertise to get the job done correctly. Some of them even moonlight as magicians. When something goes wrong they disappear! Instead, choose a licensed company that provides long-lasting solutions, and are there when you need them.
Why You Should Always Hire a Licensed Air Conditioning Company
Welcome to the Part II of our look at why you should hire a licensed air conditioning company.
More on Knowledge
Professional have their Ducts in a row! Duct work is one of the most important parts of your air conditioning system. Professional ducting is essential to you home’s efficiency and clean, healthy air quality. Improper duct work will increase the risk of air leakage, mold, and an overworked system.
System types. HVAC systems work differently depending on where you may live. When it comes to air conditioning systems weather, climate, humidity and the size of your home are very important factors to consider. A local, licensed technician will know and understand these factors and how they affect your system and air quality.
Warranties and Guarantees
Warranties. Protect yourself, protect your warranty! Manufacturers may void the warranty if an unlicensed technician works on your system. A qualified technician will gladly display his or her license number and will not hesitate to provide it immediately upon request. When in doubt, ask!
Guarantee. If you are a do-it-yourself-er or are thinking of hiring an unlicensed technician, consider this – Not only will your system’s warranty potentially be void, work not done by a professional does not come with guarantees. Your air conditioning system is one of the most expensive components and vital organs in your home. Licensed air conditioning companies offer guarantees. In addition, bonding is required by most licensing boards prior to application. We will discuss bonding and what it provides for your peace of mind further in part III.
Before calling the number that you see on the sign that just popped up at the end of your street, weigh the risks! In Part III we will discuss the importance of insurance, bonding and additional risks involved in not hiring a license air conditioning company.