If you’re like most people, you want to conserve energy for both your wallet and the environment. Where heating and cooling are concerned, you’re probably familiar with the standard tricks: upgrade your windows, plant shady trees, and program your thermostat. All of these tricks are effective. However, there’s another way to conserve energy in your home you may have skipped over: maintaining your central air conditioner.
Regular central A/C maintenance is essential
Maintaining your central air conditioning unit sounds like an expensive project, but when you consider the cost of repairs or replacement, regular maintenance is the cheaper option.
Even if your home is already ultra-efficient and doesn’t allow a single drop of cold air to escape, if your central A/C unit isn’t working efficiently, you’re going to see a higher energy bill.
A/C units aren’t simple
Your air conditioning unit is more than a motor in a box that blows cold air out of vents. That’s the only part you see. What you don’t see is a complex system of ductwork, boxes, filters, and coils designed to work at maximum efficiency. When any part of this system breaks down – including leaky ducts – your air conditioning unit will have to work harder, which puts a strain on the motor and raises your electric bill.
Get your ductwork inspected
Torn ductwork wastes energy and invites dust and debris into a system designed to circulate clean air.
Your central air conditioning unit pulls air from the inside of your home and passes it over a filter to remove particles. The system then blows the air over a coil filled with refrigerant to cool it. Once cooled, the air is distributed throughout your home.
Unfortunately, many units have leaks throughout the ductwork, and much of the cool air is lost. However, that’s not the only problem torn ductwork can cause. Every A/C system has a return duct usually located in the dirtiest part of the home: the attic.
Your attic is full of dust, debris, and fiberglass insulation that you definitely don’t want to breathe into your lungs. According to A/C experts from Morehart, “This dirty attic air is then circulated throughout your home through the filter and vents, if the return ducts have leakage. For this reason, torn ductwork can be especially dangerous for anyone in your home with asthma, allergies, or other respiratory problems.
Coils require regular cleaning
If you’ve been ignoring the manufacturer’s recommendation to have your coil cleaned every few years, it’s time to get that coil cleaned. Due to condensation, coils become wet and tend to collect dust, debris, and other particles. This buildup restricts airflow and makes the motor run harder to suck air through the coil. Manufacturers recommend cleaning your indoor coil every 2-3 years.
Monitor and filter the air quality in your home
If you want to test the air quality in your home before calling out an HVAC technician, you can get a simple monitor to detect unwanted particles in the air.
If you live in an especially dusty area, or in an environment where allergens are unavoidable, set up a few high quality air filters throughout your home. That way, your air conditioner’s filter won’t bear the entire burden of filtering all the air in your home.
It’s not expensive to conserve energy
Every home can be optimized to conserve energy without spending a fortune on a new solar panel system or Energy Star appliances. You just have to start maintaining the appliances you already have.
Instead of looking for ways to spend more money to conserve energy, start with what you’ve got. It will cost you far less money (and less frustration) to maintain your A/C unit than to replace it when it breaks down in the middle of a hot summer.
Article Submitted By Community Writer