From Engineering on April 14, 2011 in Air Conditioning & Heating
To keep your home nice and comfortable as it should be, here’s how to lower your energy bill with a better-working HVAC, as well as seven red flags that indicate a problem with your little piece of paradise.
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Tune it Up
Studies have found that AC units lose about 5% of their efficiency every year. This can mean a huge bump in your utility bills. Spending a little money on a tune-up can help you maintain 95% of the unit’s efficiency, helping you save money on the bill and making your unit last longer. An HVAC tune-up should consist of cleaning the coils, checking the compressor, oiling belts and checking pressure levels. On your end, good filters are important. Change them regularly to keep your system running smoothly.
Cut Your Energy Bill
You can lower your electric bill by blocking sunlight. Keep curtains closed until the sun has passed by the window. Close off vents to unused rooms, and keep those doors shut. Cool air descends, so the vents in the lowest level of the house should be closed. Teach your kids to close the door behind them every time they go in or out of the house. Finally, invest in an automatic thermostat so you can cut your A/C costs this summer, and your bill.
7 Signs Your HVAC Needs Help
If you look at the lines coming from your unit into the house and see condensation or ice, call a technician. It’s not normal, and it’s not good.
2. Unit is running but not cooling
The A/C is on, you hear the fan going, but the air coming out of the vent is lukewarm. The problem could be anything from a serious freon leak to a minor fuse. Either way, it’s a good time to call the specialist in.
3. HVAC unit is running for hours on end
Listen to your unit, pay attention to when it’s running and when it’s not. If you realize yours has been running for three hours and the temperature in the house has only dropped one degree, it’s time for a service call and possibly a new unit.
4. Mysterious noises
Take time to listen to your unit. It should sound smooth with a nice, steady hum. If yours is clanking, rattling, and rolling then you might want to call for an inspection. There should not be any grating noises or rubbing sounds.
5. Scary electric bills
Most people open their electric bills and have a good idea of what it will be. If yours is suddenly much larger than expected, your HVAC unit might be the culprit. Check pricing for a new heating system here.
6. Water leaks
You should never see water puddling around your exterior unit. If you check your unit and find a collection of water near it, call a service technician for an inspection.
7. System is more than 10 years old
The average life span of an air conditioner is only 10 to 12 years. The industry is constantly making advancements in unit efficiency. If yours was installed more than a decade ago, the chances are good that it’s nearing the end of its life. Installing a new one will save you money on the electric bill every month. If a new unit just isn’t in the budget right now, an inspection and tune-up could help you get a few more years out of it.
You probably don’t give your air conditioner a second thought. But once it dies, that’s all you can think about. Having regular maintenance done will help you keep it running in top condition. Just as your furnace should be inspected annually, your air conditioner should also be inspected. Have any good HVAC tips of your own? Let us know in the comments.
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