How to Keep Your Air Conditioner Running Efficiently and Efficiently

The most important maintenance task to ensure the efficiency of your air conditioner is to replace or clean your filters on a regular basis. Dirty, clogged filters reduce the amount of air flow and significantly reduce system efficiency. Regular cleaning and maintenance will save you money and extend the life of your heat pump or air conditioning unit. Look for the minimum filter efficiency value, or MERV, which ranges from 1 to 12 for domestic air conditioning units; the higher the number, the better the filtration (and the more energy it will take to extract air through it, so balance air quality issues with energy costs).

Federal laws require air conditioning units to be much more efficient than they were just 10 years ago. For central air conditioning, look for the seasonal energy efficiency index, or SEER; for window units, the measurement is simply called the energy efficiency index, or EER. The standards require a SEER of 13 and an EER of 8, but devices with higher numbers will cost less to operate. Keeping your air conditioner running efficiently is essential for maintaining a comfortable home environment and saving money on energy bills.

As an expert in HVAC systems, I recommend taking a few simple steps to ensure that your air conditioner is running at its best. Perhaps the most essential and easiest air conditioner maintenance task is to replace or clean air filters regularly. Dirty, clogged filters severely limit the efficiency of the air conditioner by decreasing system airflow. In addition, when a filter is clogged, air can bypass the filter, allowing unfiltered air to flow throughout the HVAC system, potentially damaging the evaporator coil in the process.

Filters remove dust, hair, and other particles from the air so that these pollutants don't spread throughout the house. You can improve the air quality inside your home and consume less energy if you change the air conditioning filter every 30 days. Clean filters allow more air to pass through, allowing the system to heat and cool more efficiently. For most systems, filters with a MERV rating of between 7 and 13 offer an excellent balance between filtration capacity and maximum air flow. The average lifespan of an air conditioning system is between 15 and 25 years.

Several variables can increase or decrease that period, such as the type of system, the brand, and the consistency of maintenance. If you take care of your heating and cooling system diligently, you'll maximize its lifespan and maintain greater efficiency for a longer period of time. Taking the time to clean your central air conditioning unit regularly will keep it running smoothly and efficiently for as long as possible. Keeping your HVAC system in top condition is a great way to save money on monthly energy bills and to avoid high system repair or replacement costs, or having to call your HVAC company. Consider scheduling two seasonal HVAC adjustments each year, one in spring for air conditioning and one in fall for heating. Another important maintenance task that will ensure that your air conditioning system is in good condition is to clean the air conditioner evaporator and condenser coils at least once a year.

The air filters of central air conditioning units are usually located along the return duct, usually on the wall or ceiling, or sometimes in the air conditioner itself. Unless you're going on vacation, don't turn off the system; otherwise, the air compressor will have to work harder to cool the house later on. We asked Richard Trethewey, plumbing and heating expert at This Old House, to share his tips on air conditioning maintenance for central air units and windows. Home heating and air conditioning systems account for more than half of a home's total energy consumption, and it costs thousands of dollars to replace them. The cold coil absorbs heat from the air and cools it before it is recirculated back into your home.

As for replaceable filters, make sure to buy ones that have a high MERV rating to maximize indoor air quality. What is the final result? While an expert owner can perform some air conditioner maintenance tasks, it is still necessary to have the system checked regularly by an expert technician. Moisture from the air condenses on the cold surface of the evaporator coil in the form of liquid water which drips onto a tray below. By following these simple steps you can keep your air conditioner running efficiently all year round: replace or clean filters regularly; schedule two seasonal HVAC adjustments each year; clean evaporator and condenser coils at least once a year; buy filters with a high MERV rating; don't turn off your system when going on vacation; have your system checked by an expert technician regularly. By taking care of your HVAC system you can save money on monthly energy bills while ensuring that your home stays comfortable all year round.

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