Before winter sets in and your days get colder, make sure your HVAC unit functions properly. After all, you wouldn’t want to be trapped with a failed furnace when winters get chillier and temperature plummets. A detailed HVAC checklist will keep you safe and warm. It involves a few things that you can check yourself and others for which you’ll need a skilled professional. If you aren’t sure what to add to this list, here are the top things to do:
Check and Clean the Filters
Your HVAC needs thorough dusting before you resume its use in winters. It involves cleaning the filters before reactivating the unit. During the fall, the filters and ducts collect a lot of dust and grime when they are not in use.
You may clean the filters with a damp cloth and replace them every 3-6 months to prevent contaminated air from entering your home. When cleaning the filters, look deeply for any leakages too. If you find any, call your HVAC contractor immediately to fix the issue.
Start the Thermostat and Check the Heater
Even before you start carving the pumpkins for upcoming holidays, remember to switch your thermostat from cooling to heating. It will set the temperature a bit higher than the current room temperature. When you turn the thermostat on, listen closely for the sound of heat kicking in.
If it doesn’t make any noise and connections look secure, check the power source to see if the unit is turned on. And call a professional if it still doesn’t work because there may be an issue with the blower, heat pump, or furnace fan that’s better handled by a certified technician.
Check the Furnace
Add furnace checkups and tune-up to your HVAC checklist to keep your unit working efficiently. Clear the clutter around the furnace and make sure it has a few feet of open space on all sides.
When checking the furnace, use a flashlight to see if any critters or rodents have made their home inside it. If so, clean up the area or call a professional to do the chore.
Check the Humidifier
When you run the furnace, it may dry out the air. Hence, keeping the furnace humid is essential in the winters. That’s what a humidifier does. If you have a humidifier in your unit, clean its water panel and check that it has no mold growth or debris inside it.
Also, replace the carbon monoxide detector batteries to protect your unit from any unexpected furnace mishaps. Change the batteries every year and test the unit for its proper functioning after the battery change.
Winterize the AC Unit
In your HVAC checklist, make it a point to winterize your AC unit against winter elements. It will save you hundreds of dollars spent on AC repairs when summer gets back.
If your HVAC doesn’t have a heat pump, cover the condenser, so falling icicles won’t damage it. Cover the fan with a board instead of wrapping it in a plastic tarp that keeps the moisture inside.
Don’t Forget Draught Proofing
Though it may seem inconsequential, draught-proofing your home is essential for the proper functioning of your HVAC system. Any cracks or spaces in the walls, windows, and doorways can let the air escape and impede heat circulation inside the home. As a result, your unit might end up overworking itself.
Check and Clean the Heat Exchanger
Your HVAC checklist isn’t complete unless you add regular brushing and vacuuming the heat exchanger. However, this task should be entrusted to a skilled professional who can look for any cracks or leakages.
Check and Clean the Ducts
If the heating ducts gather dust or get damaged, your system will be overworked, increasing the utility bills and harming the air quality. Hence, inspect the ducts before winter starts and look for dents, mold, mildew, punctures, or broken wires. Though you can examine it yourself, call a professional for repairing or replacing the ducts properly.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
You can customize the temperature settings in your house with a programmable thermostat. It will allow setting the temperature back by 7-10 degrees F when you are asleep or not at home.
Experts also suggest keeping your house warm at 68 degrees during the day or whenever you’re at home. So, if you don’t have a programmable or Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat yet, it’s time to call your HVAC contractor to install one.
Change the Direction of Ceiling Fans
Mostly, the ceiling fans have a switch that allows you to change your blades’ direction to rotate clockwise. This way, the fans will push warm air down in the room and circulate the heat from the furnace throughout your house.
Check the Chimneys
The chimney’s flue is another item to inspect in your HVAC checklist. Make sure that it is properly closed to prevent drafty air. Sometimes, the chimney may harbor carbon buildup that needs to be cleaned well. Call a certified professional for chimney tune-ups and cleaning before you build the blaze in your fireplace.
Check the Igniter Switch
If the igniter in your HVAC system isn’t working, push the reset button. However, if it still doesn’t switch on, check the breaker or call a technician to examine the igniter switch and circuit breaker in your house.
Schedule a Professional Tune-Up
You can’t overlook the importance of a professional tune-up and inspection in your HVAC checklist. You may fix and check the smaller issues, but system faults, boiler issues, replacements, and draught-proofing are some specialized tasks best managed by certified professionals. Schedule a pre-winter inspection with your HVAC contractor to ensure that your unit is ready for the season.
Winters bring a lot of change to your outside temperature, your home, and your lifestyle. Cleaning your spaces to improve air quality is essential alongside this HVAC checklist to stay warm and protected inside your home.
With a professional examination, you can find and fix minor issues before they compound into a serious problem down the road.
Did you know that the average American spends 87% of their lives indoors? This means that indoor comfort is of the utmost importance when you’re in your home.
This is typically achieved through your air conditioning and heating system. However, things can go wrong, which can really decrease your comfort.
To help you out, here are 7 ways to do air balancing in your home. That way, you can avoid hot and cold spots.
1. Check Your Air Filters
All HVAC systems have air filters. These are there to eliminate impurities in the air so you breathe in good quality oxygen.
However, over time, they can become clogged. This process can be accelerated if there’s been something detrimental in the environment, such as a forest fire nearby.
It’s important to either clean and/or replace your air filters regularly. This is one of the most important things to do when it comes to HVAC air balancing. Not only will this provide you with better quality air more frequently, but it’ll also help prolong the lifespan of your HVAC system.
And most importantly, it’ll get rid of hot and cold spots, plus keep your utility bills down. In fact, it can reduce your energy consumption by up to 15%!
2. Check Your Registers
The registers are what block or allow air to flow from your HVAC vents. One key piece of advice is to never completely close all vents, as this can cause other issues to occur.
In general, if you’re experiencing hot weather, you should completely open the registers on the 2nd floor. For the 1st floor, you should close them partway. Because hot air rises, during hot weather, you want to push as much cold air into the top floor to make up for that extra hotness.
On the other hand, if you’re experiencing cold weather, you should close the registers partway on the 2nd floor. And on the 1st floor, you should open the registers all the way.
3. Get Good Clearance on Your Vents
It can be hard arranging your furniture and items within your house. But you just might have to rearrange once again.
Go through all your rooms and check that nothing is covering any registers. For example, you might have some furniture that’s blocking the vents. As a result, this can cause your HVAC system to work a lot harder than it needs to.
In general, you should allow for at least 18 inches of space for your vents. If this isn’t possible, you should consider purchasing a magnetic air deflector. These items have the power to redirect airflow so you get the best air circulation possible.
4. Check All Seals
One of the main things that can create cold spots in your home is leaky seals. This can definitely be the culprit if you live in an older home and haven’t performed maintenance in a while.
Go around to all your windows and doors and see if you can detect any drafts. Bring a lit candle with you to better visualize any leaks, as the flame will flicker or even go out if there are any.
Once you’ve found the leaks, seal everything up properly. This should fix the cold spots in your house.
5. Install Window Coverings
This HVAC tip is for addressing hot spots in your home.
During the summer, your windows can be a huge source of heat, since they can create a greenhouse effect. If you don’t have any drapes, shades, or blinds, this means you’re constantly receiving sunlight through these pieces of glass. In turn, your home will quickly heat up, especially the direct areas the sunlight’s hitting.
A simple way to fix this is to install window coverings. Not only will these block the heat better, but they’ll also add to the aesthetics of any room. Plus, you can shut them to get some privacy if you have lots of foot traffic outside.
6. Move Electronics Placed Nearby Thermostats
As you may already know, electronics generate lots of heat whenever they’re in operation. If they’re anywhere near your thermostats, this can give them false readings. As a result, your air conditioning might be on for longer than necessary.
Not only should you move your electronics if they’re near thermostats, but you should also adjust your vents. This will allow the hot air from your electronic equipment to be removed from the room more efficiently.
7. Try a 2-Degree Offset
This is one of the HVAC tips that will only work if you have a separate thermostat for the upstairs and downstairs.
As the name suggests, you’ll have a difference of 2 degrees between the floors. The difference will depend on whether you’re experiencing hot or cold weather, because again, hot air rises.
If you’re having hot weather, set the thermostat on the upper floor 2 degrees lower than the bottom flower. And in cold weather, you’ll want to set the thermostat on the bottom floor 2 degrees lower.
Both methods account for the hot air rising, which will help to make temperatures more even throughout your home. This works similarly to how opening and closing the registers works as well.
Try These Air Balancing Tips
If you’re getting hot and cold spots in your house, then you should give our above air balancing tips a try. However, these may not always work.
In that case, you should give Briggs HVAC a call. We can come out to your property to service your HVAC system. They can do professional air balance testing, which involves adjusting both the intake and output accordingly. As a result, that’ll have it up and running smoothly to keep you comfortable in your home.
Would you like assistance with your HVAC system? Then schedule an appointment with us now. We also have emergency services available.
The average lifespan of a typical HVAC system ranges between 12 – 15 years. But experts agree that you can easily extend the life expectancy of your unit by properly caring for it.
One of the main ways to extend the life of your heating and cooling system is to perform regular maintenance tasks. A good rule of thumb is to check your system before you switch between heating and cooling — so at least once in the spring and once in the fall.
Keep reading to discover the top HVAC maintenance tips to keep in mind as fall occurs.
1. Replace Your HVAC Filter
Replacing your HVAC filter is one of the easiest maintenance tasks you can do, but it’s also one of the most commonly forgotten tasks.
It’s recommended that you should replace your air filter at least once every three months. If you have pets in the home or someone suffers from respiratory issues, you probably should be changing the filter at least once a month.
If you’ve never changed your air filter, the process is pretty simple.
To start, turn your HVAC unit off and remove the current filter. If you’re unsure about what size filter you need, look at your current filter before purchasing a new one for the correct dimensions. Most filters will have instructions on them to show the correct way to place the filter into your unit.
Once the new filter is in your unit, check to see if there are any gaps around the filter. If it doesn’t appear to be a perfect fit, you either have the wrong size of the filter or the filter you purchased is damaged.
Then, replace any seals or levers that secure the filter in place and then turn your HVAC system back on. Make sure the filter stays in place when it begins to run.
Make sure you mark on your calendar the date of your next filter replacement.
2. Clean Up Around the Outside Unit
The next maintenance task you’ll want to perform is cleaning up around the outside unit.
Start by clearing away any debris that’s built up around the exterior of the unit. This includes any leaves, vines, weeds, or tree branches. Anything surrounding the outside of the unit will impede the airflow, meaning your HVAC unit will have to work harder to regulate your home’s temperature.
You can also take your cleaning a step further by turning the vacuum off and using a hose to spray any debris or dirt that’s built up on the unit. You can purchase a coil cleaner to spray on the unit after your initial rinse. Let the cleaner sit for about 10 minutes before rinsing it off with the hose again.
Be extremely careful around the condenser fins of your exterior unit. If you do accidentally bend or damage these fins, contact your HVAC professional immediately.
3. Prevent Clogs in the Condensate Drain Line
When preparing your unit for fall, you’ll also want to prevent clogs from forming in the condensate drain line. If this line does become clogged, this can lead to mold growth or water damage in your home.
First, make sure your HVAC unit is completely turned off again. Then, locate the access point to the drain line, which is near your indoor air handler. Use the suction hose of a wet vac in an attempt to collect any build-up that may be in the line.
You can also break up any mold or debris in the line by pouring a cup of white vinegar or a combination of hot water and dish soap. Let this sit in the line for about a half an hour before flushing the line with clean water.
4. Clean Your Ducts and Registers
The next task on our list of fall HVAC tips is to clean both your ducts and registers.
Throughout the year, it’s natural for dust and debris to build up in your ducts and registers. If you want to achieve proper airflow and keep your unit working as efficiently as possible, it’s best to clean out this build-up. Having clean ducts also ensures that your home is circulating clean air, which can help eliminate respiratory issues.
Let the fan run for a few minutes to help loosen up any dirt before turning the system completely off. Use a brush or vacuum attachment to clear out any dust inside your registers. It’s ideal to use a vacuum with a long hose attachment to clear out as much dust as possible.
Then, wipe down your register cover with a gentle cleaning solution.
5. Schedule a Maintenance Appointment
To keep your HVAC system in the best possible shape, you’ll want to have professional preventative maintenance.
With Briggs’ HVAC Maintenance Agreement Plan, you’ll extend the life of your equipment while ensuring it works to its full potential. In addition, you’ll save money in the long run when it comes to repairs and catch small issues before your HVAC system stops operating.
During your annual tune-up, our team will do everything from checking your system’s evaporator coil to evaluating safety controls. We can even clean or change your air filter for you as well as adjust your thermostat calibration. When you schedule a maintenance appointment, you can rest assured that your HVAC system is ready to keep you warm throughout the winter.
Contact Briggs for More HVAC Maintenance Tips
These are just the main HVAC maintenance tips to keep in mind this fall. Make sure you perform these simple tasks before you make the switch from air conditioning to heating. You don’t want to find out that you have a serious HVAC issue on your hands when the temperatures start to drop.
If you hear any abnormal sounds from your system or notice that your system isn’t properly warming your home, the team at Briggs HVAC is here to help. Our experienced HVAC service technicians have spent the last decade serving Woodbridge and the surrounding area. Whether you need emergency service in the middle of the night or an annual maintenance check-up, we have the expertise to get the job done right.
Call Briggs at (703) 730-8444 or click here to schedule your next HVAC appointment.
Have you ever had your air conditioner give out, on what seems like the hottest day of the year? It’s all too common and results in a frustratingly hot wait while the repairs are being completed. However, you can avoid major breaks in your system by catching smaller issues early and keeping up with air conditioner check-ups.
In general, your air conditioner needs a check-up once a year, just before you turn it on. However, there are some warning signs that your air conditioner needs a check-up sooner, to prevent a more serious problem from cropping up. Here are the signs to look out for.
Unusual noises are never good from anything mechanical and your air conditioner is no exception. Sometimes we miss the noises our air conditioner makes, because it’s the outdoor unit with the problem, and we tend not to spend much time near that. It might be wise to stand near your outdoor unit while your air conditioner is running and see if it’s making any sounds. Although, the air conditioner can make noises on the inside too.
- Rattling: Any sound that you think might have been made by parts knocking off each other is probably just that. Loose fan components, even the case on the outdoor unit, may be improperly secured and creating the noise. This will become a more serious problem over time as the two parts knocking against each other may break each other.
- Squeaking: Squeaking can also be the sound of a part moving in a way that it shouldn’t.
- Clicking: Clocking is commonly a cycling problem, where the air conditioner is turning itself off early, or turning itself on frequently. Either is a waste of energy
- Gurgling/hissing: These sounds often indicate a problem with the refrigerant, potentially a leak. Refrigerant leaks are safety hazards and they will slowly render your air conditioner useless.
Of course, if your air conditioner just plain won’t turn on, then you know it needs some work. What are some more subtle performance issues that signal that your air conditioner is headed towards a break if it doesn’t get some professional attention? Here are a few things to check:
- Air no longer feels as cool: Your air conditioner doesn’t change how cold the air is that it outputs. It just stops running when your home doesn’t need any more cool air. So, if the air actually feels less cool than it used it, this is usually a performance or refrigerant problem.
- Air no longer reaches as far: Does it seem like the cool air from your air conditioner doesn’t get to the other side of the house anymore? It’s possible your fan isn’t running properly anymore, or that your filter needs to be cleaned or replaced.
- Utility bills rising: When your air conditioner has a problem, it functions less efficiently and costs you more in utility bills, even if there are no other obvious signs of an issue. Unfortunately, few people will catch this sign, as utility bills tend to creep up slowly over time. It’s best to compare your bill to the same month last year, or the year before, rather than compare month to month.
Moisture and Air Quality Issues
Your air conditioner may also develop moisture or air quality issues that not only indicate something is wrong with it, but that may also undermine your comfort in your home.
- Leaks: Any puddles or droplets near the air conditioner may have been caused by it. The air conditioner condenser uses moisture as a way to move heat out of your home, so leaks and humidity are a potential problem. This excess moisture may damage the air conditioner, your drywall, and contribute to high humidity in your home. Usually, this is a condenser issue that needs to be resolved by a professional.
- Air quality: With that high humidity may come smells, mold, fungus, and other air quality issues. Or, your air conditioner may develop these problems due to a dirty filter. Either way, a professional can refresh your air conditioner and make the air it blows out much more comfortable.
Best Practices for Air Conditioner Maintenance
You should check on your air conditioner periodically, but not just early in the season. Just before summer hits its peak, you should check in on it, as your air conditioner will start to work significantly harder in the high heat. This is when it is most likely to suffer complete failure. So, if you and your HVAC professional can catch errors before this, you’ll save yourself the trouble of having to arrange for emergency repairs.
Maintaining your air conditioning unit can not only extend the life of your unit, but it can also improve the health of your family & pets, and help you avoid costly repairs down the line that could’ve easily been avoided. We’ll walk through 5 tips that can help you maintain your air units.
Air conditioner (AC) units monitor and regulate air temperature inside your home, but have you ever wondered how? Although an AC is a comprehensive system of components, it’s not too complex. We’ll break down the major components for you.
Evaporator coils are used to deliver cool air into your home during hot summer months. The process by which air is cooled by the evaporator coils is as follows:
- Air from inside your home is forced over the evaporator coils
- Since heat flows naturally from hot to cold, the heat from the air inside your home is absorbed by the refrigerant inside the coils
- The refrigerant changes state from liquid to vapor or gas
- Cooler air is forced back into your home
The efficiency of the evaporator coil relies on how much refrigerant is available. Too little refrigerant results in operation failure. When too much refrigerant is available, it results in a parched evaporator and causes more liquid to transfer into the compressor.
In order for heat to transfer back to the outdoors, the temperature of the refrigerant must be higher than the outdoor temperature. The main purpose of the compressor is to pressurize the refrigerant gas or vapor, thereby bringing it back to its liquid form. In order to disperse heat from the system, the air outside your home then cools the refrigerant.
The compressor runs on a motor and is therefore susceptible to mechanical problems if not properly maintained. It can stutter, overheat, and eventually burn out. If there are unusual sounds coming from the compressor, or if the AC isn’t keeping your home as cool as you’re used to, it could be because of a failed compressor.
A condenser coil is the opposite of an evaporator coil, as it contains hot liquid for heat transfer. Located outside of your home, it receives the high pressure, high-temperature refrigerant from the compressor.
The refrigerant inside the condenser coil releases heat energy with the aid of the condenser fan, which blows air over the coils. As the heat energy leaves the refrigerant, the cooler liquid then flows to the expansion valve.
Since the condenser coil is located outside of your home, it’s important to keep it clear of falling leaves, branches, or other debris. Ignoring regular maintenance could result in poor AC performance or electrical failure.
Located between the condenser coil and evaporator coil, the expansion valve removes the pressure from the condensed liquid refrigerant. As the pressure is removed, the temperature is decreased and the refrigerant changes from a liquid to a vapor form.
Keeping your expansion valve in good working order will ensure that your system stays efficient. A faulty expansion valve can result in your AC blowing warm air or frost, or it may keep your compressor working too hard.
Refrigerant is a special fluid that changes states from liquid to vapor at convenient temperatures for the AC cycle. As it moves through the AC’s cooling tubes and copper coils, it absorbs heat from the inside of your home and transfers the heat energy outside.
One of the most common problems that can happen in the AC system is leaking refrigerant. Signs that refrigerant is leaking include:
- Water puddles form around the compressor, evaporator coils, or condenser coils
- Lower than usual airflow from the vents
- The air inside your home feels warmer
- It takes longer to cool down the house
If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to call a certified AC technician. At Briggs HVAC, we can fix small problems caused by leaking refrigerant in order to save your AC system from much bigger problems down the road.
Putting it All Together
The return vents inside your home force hot air into the AC system. As the hot air flows over the evaporator coils, the cold refrigerant absorbs the heat energy from the air.
After moving through the evaporator coil, the refrigerant discharges to the compressor. By pressurizing the refrigerant, the vapor inside the compressor is heated up even further. The hot vapor then flows through the condenser coils to facilitate heat transfer to the outdoors.
The refrigerant then cycles back over the expansion valve, depressurizing and cooling down. The AC system then performs the same heat absorption process over and over again.
Briggs HVAC: The Heating and Cooling Company
For professional residential HVAC sales and repair, contact us today. We service, maintain, and install heating and cooling systems to keep your home comfortable all year long.
When the warm days of summer give way to the crisper weather of fall, it’s a sign you should be getting ready for winter. Winter proofing your home keeps things running smoothly, reduces energy waste, and keeps your family toasty warm even on the coldest days. Here are our helpful tips to help prepare for winter with a fall maintenance check.
Air Leak Check
Over the years, your home starts to show its age. This often means it can develop many sneaky ways for warm air to escape. Some of the most common places for air leaks are your windows and doors, as well as your attic. With the first signs of fall, perform an air leak check to look for spots that might interfere with your home’s heating:
- Look at each of your windows for potential air leaks particularly around the frames and sill. These areas can be caulked inside and out with the proper seal for interior and exterior use.
- Open and close your windows and see if they look like they could use some new weather stripping to help improve the seal. You will notice issues in any areas that pull away from the frame when the window opens and closes. A good test is to slide a dollar bill or piece of paper into the window and shut it. If you can pull it out, time for new weather stripping.
- Do the same tests and inspection for any exterior doors. You can caulk gaps and add weather stripping to improve the seal.
- If you have vines on your home overlapping siding, look for gaps. Pull the vines away and seal the gaps to prevent moisture and cold air from entering the walls.
- Check your attic for signs of gaps along the roofline as well as dampness. Seal any obvious gaps using the appropriate caulking.
Look for Mold
Mold is a very dangerous, unhealthy intruder in your home. Because your home tends to remain closed up for the winter months, you really want to avoid sealing yourself in with mold. Look for mold in common areas where moisture occurs such as your bathrooms, sinks, and windows. Use a strong mold spray to remove it and prevent further mold from growing.
Roof and Gutters
Make sure your gutters are debris free to ensure melting snow and ice have somewhere to go. Clogged gutters can lead to serious issues including giant icicles that can cause harm to your home not to mention put your family at risk for falling ice. As well, ice that builds up in the gutters can cause ice dams, which are very risky for causing roof damage and ultimately leaks. You’ll also be better prepared for thaws that occur in the spring to avoid water damage.
It’s always a good idea to have a roof inspection. If you are comfortable on a ladder and with heights, you can do a once over of your roof to look for issues such as damaged or missing shingles. Otherwise, you can call in a roofing expert to look for areas in need of repair.
Furnace Maintenance Call
The last thing you need is a furnace breakdown in the frigid winter. Set up a maintenance call with your HVAC specialist so they can do a complete check to make sure it is in top shape. You can do some preliminary checks by turning on your furnace to make sure it works, and that the thermostat allows you to turn the heat up and down. You can also do a quick clean up around your heater like vacuuming up dust. This is also a good time to change your filters to allow your furnace to run more efficiently. Your HVAC pro will handle the rest making sure all parts are in working order and letting you know if repairs or a replacement are required. Remember, if you want to reduce your energy bills, you need to make sure your heater is humming!
Inspect Duct Work
Your ductwork can also experience leaks that can lead to energy challenges. Wherever you have exposed ducts look for signs of issues such as loose screws, missing or loose duct tape, and ducts that appear to be disconnected. Check your duct returns and supply ducts for debris and give them a quick vacuum to keep them free of obstructions.
Water Heater Check
If you want to improve energy efficiency, you can also add a water heater blanket and foam pipe insulator to help you save on water heating.
Schedule Your Fall Maintenance Check
Completing this fall maintenance check will get your home winter ready so you and your family will avoid issues when winter makes its first appearance.
If you would like more information on fall maintenance for your HVAC system, contact our team of experts today.
Your air conditioner is often an important, unsung hero during the summer season. It’s easy to forget, when you’re inside during the day, living your life, or sleeping comfortably at night, that the AC is working away in the background, keeping you and your family comfortable.
However, your air conditioner, like every other part of your home, is a fallible piece of equipment that may, one day, outlive its usefulness. When that happens, it’s time to retire it, and replace your AC with a new unit. But when will you know that that day has finally arrived? Keep an eye out for these signs.
You Require Frequently Repairs
During the optimal operational lifespan of an AC, there’s no reason to replace it when a repair job would be the more cost-effective option and add more years of reliable operation to your unit. However, while an occasional, rare repair to address an issue is acceptable, calling an HVAC expert regularly to address a new problem is not.
Frequent breakdowns are a sign that an AC unit is no longer able to keep up with the performance that is required of it. If you’re finding that your AC is demanding more and more attention from something else going wrong, it’s better to replace your AC with a new unit that will provide many years of reliable operation.
Your AC Is Old
You may have lived in your home an entire generation, raising a family, or you may find yourself having just purchased a home where something similar took place. In either case, one thing you should look at is the age of the AC unit there. Beyond a certain point, old technology should be replaced with a more efficient solution, or it should be replaced before the age starts to show and you end up dealing with more repairs.
In general, an air conditioner that is 10-15 years old should be replaced with a newer model. Over a decade of reliable operation means that such a unit is already behind newer models in terms of efficiency. If the AC is even older than that—some homes have been using the same unit for 20-30 years!—it’s definitely time to upgrade to a modern replacement.
Your Bills Are Going Up
An AC unit uses electricity to power itself, so you will usually see a bump in your electrical bill during the summer months as you rely on the AC more. But that increase should be nominal. What you shouldn’t see, is a sizable increase in your bills, especially if you aren’t using it any more than previous years.
A chronic increase in your electrical bills due to AC usage can mean only one thing; the efficiency is going down, and your AC is struggling to keep the home at the same temperature and is drawing on more resources to do so. A drop in efficiency may also coincide with a chronic repair problem, so this would be a good time to think about upgrading. Stop paying more on your cooling bills than you have to.
Your Square Footage Changed
Your AC was installed to provide you with the most efficient cooling for your home after careful measurement of the square footage of that space. Homes of different sizes require different AC capacities to properly cool the entire structure. It’s always important to fit an AC unit to the approximate size of the home for the sake of efficiency.
This means that if you’ve undertaken a major renovation, such as adding an addition to your home, or something even more drastic like adding a second floor, the AC you currently have will not be up to the task. If you’ve expanded the size of your home, you’ll need to reinforce the cooling with an entirely new AC unit to tackle the increased space. Alternatively, you may consider additional units, such as a window or ductless unit if you’re reclaiming space like an attic, where you may not want to build in extra ventilation ducts to get HVAC processed air into the new area.
If you’re in a situation where you think it may be time to replace your AC with a modern, more energy-efficient unit, contact us today. We’re ready to look at your current AC and home configuration and determine what kind of upgrade would best meet your needs.
Summer is here, and that means longer days with hotter temperatures. Whether you’re staying at home or going to work, the air conditioner is going to be cooling the environment. An air conditioner is a necessity, especially for children, the elderly, and delicate electronic equipment, which all suffer in extreme heat.
With more reliance on your air conditioner, you may be doing things that are causing more AC and power usage than necessary. Here are a few of the ways you can decrease that power consumption.
Change Your Filter
The easiest way to ensure more efficient power use is also the easiest to forget. If you’re using a central HVAC system, all the air that is processed still runs to your furnace before being piped through the vents. So, the air is pushed through and cleaned by the filter.
The filter should be replaced with every change of season. Waiting four or more months means allowing the filter to become so clogged with dirt that air is no longer smoothly passing through. If that happens, your air conditioner must now work longer to produce more air to get through the filter and into your home. That adds up to higher electricity bills. Make sure to replace your filter, and you’ll maintain power efficiency.
A centralized HVAC system uses vents that push heated or chilled air out of grates or registers in the floor. The placement of registers in rooms is optimized to distribute that air as efficiently as possible, but sometimes, HVAC efficiency interferes with decor needs.
If you have a sofa, recliner, or bed that is positioned directly over one of these registers this is a significant hit to your air conditioner—and furnace—efficiency. That air is not spreading throughout the room the way it should, which causes HVAC systems to work longer than they need to. If possible, try to arrange furniture so that it doesn’t block the air flow from these registers. It makes a difference to your power consumption.
Run It Hot During Vacancies
The air conditioner is meant to keep you and other residents comfortable. But if no one is home, there’s no need to keep running the AC at these lower temperatures. If you know that people won’t be in the space for hours at a time, such as during work or school hours or for vacations, then it’s better to set the temperature to 85°F. This is still cool enough that electronics won’t be affected.
If you have a smart thermostat, you can do this remotely through an app on your phone, which then allows you to reset the temperature to a comfortable level a few minutes before you return to your home.
Run the Air Conditioner at 78°F
This depends entirely on willingness and personal sensitivity. However, if you can do so, keeping the temperature of a home at 78°F is the air conditioner equivalent of running a car on “cruise control.”
The heat tolerance of you and your family is critical here, so always prioritize the safety and health of family members. However, if no one has any issues, then for every degree above 78° you are willing to go, you can save 3% on bills. Conversely, you experience that same increase in your bills with every degree you go below 78°F.
Dress for Comfort
In the tropics, people dress for the weather, and the same should be true here when summer hits Virginia. If you’re at home, there’s no need to dress in jeans and a sweater. Dress lightly, with thinner materials, and in shorter sleeves and pants.
You will be comfortable at much higher temperatures in your home and can set the thermostat to more efficient settings.
Use Your Fans
If you have ceiling fans or any other type of fan, these use less electricity than your air conditioner. At the same time, they can help you to lower your usage of the air conditioner since the movement of air provides a cooling effect.
Combining ceiling or room fan action with your air conditioner allows you to leave your thermostat at higher settings while remaining comfortable. Try this in any room that you’re using. If you have any additional questions or need assistance with your air conditioner, contact us today, and we’ll be happy to help.
889 Highams Ct.
Woodbridge, VA 22191
Servicing Prince William County, Loudoun County, Fairfax County, Stafford County, Spotsylvania County, and all of Northern VA.