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Posted 11/14/2017

Further steps you can take to improve Air conditioner performance

Further steps you can take to improve Air conditioner performance

Air conditioning is a blessing often taken for granted. It is only realized when the system starts to malfunction or gives up completely. The extreme heat from the sun, combined with humidity and sweat is enough to drive any man or woman nuts. Here are a few steps you can take to improve performance of your air conditioner.

Regular maintenance goes a long way

Changing the filters of the air conditioning unit is an easy enough task ignored by most households. This can lead to bigger problems which might require the help of professional services.

You can also clean the dirt off the coils and the drains at the start of summer. It is also a wise suggestion to take care of all requirements before summers come in full steam. This will save you money as off season repairs generally cost less. Also, it is difficult to get a hold of a handyman in the summers as they have busy schedules dealing with issues of customers same as you.

However if the cooling unit is blowing out warm air, all you need to do is replenish the refrigeration charge and you will be good to go. This is a small task for any HVAC technician and does not take more than 30 minutes. While he visits the house, he can also inspect for potential leaks and seal them to prevent further leakages.

Ventilation and network of ducts around the house

A leak in the air ducts can be tough to find however it can sap 20% to 40% of the energy out of a relatively new and well operating cooling unit. If ducts pass the outside of the cooled spaces such as attics, garages and basements, they should be well insulated to be kept cool and damage free. There are various installations that can be added specifically to insulate ducts. Consult a professional contractor for further details for which ones fit your home.

You might be surprised what a huge difference it can make when you seal your leaky ducts. Approximately half ton of air conditioner capacity is renewed with this simple act alone. If the ducts are accessible, you can fix them with duct tape, hence the name, or mastic. If they are remote or hard to reach, you will definitely have to call professional services, who are equipped with the right tools for the job.

Ventilation might not be the original intended purpose of an air conditioner but it is equally important. An air conditioner should, cool, heat, humidify, dehumidify and ventilate in order to provide comfortable and healthy surroundings. Ventilation of all the other parts also prevents corrosion and rusting.

Depending on the design of your house, inadequate ventilation can lead to significant health related issues such as allergies, suffocation and asthma. Older homes were better built for cross ventilation however with the growth in urban populations, it has become norm for people to live in crowded apartments with only one side that opens towards the outside. This restricts ventilation and Qi energy flow. Most new homes are relatively tight and require mechanical ventilation to meet minimum ventilation requirements. This takes a toll on the utility bills such as electricity and gas.

Lighten the load

Air conditioner performance can be significantly enhanced by lightening its load. What that essentially means is that it has to do less work, allowing it enough time to switch off the compressor and reset. Insulation is a natural way of reducing heat and pressure on the AC.

Insulation means can include adding curtains, blinds or dark tints to the windows. Reducing the ceiling height with a false ceiling can significantly reduce the total volume of the room and the load on the AC. Of course the installation of these features involves time, effort and money but it is all worth it as it can cut down your utility expenses by half in less per year.

Other means to reduce internal loads are to switch off electrical appliances and equipment when not in use. Move the heavy duty appliances such as washers and dryers to cooler parts of the house that receive less sunlight. Dehumidify the surroundings with exhaust fans that are Energy Star certified for maximum efficiency.

Increase the efficiency of the heating cooling system

Heat loss might occur due to holes in ducts, walls, windows and doors. Sealing these entry points will be the single factor to reduce heat loss and improve efficiency of the cooling system. Second most useful thing to do is to clean the coils and filters on a regular basis.

When buying a new air conditioner check the SEER value as mentioned by the manufacturer. If the manufacturer does not mention it, don’t buy it. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating and you should look to buy a unit with a SEER 13 or higher. You can also check out  the Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) which basically suggests output at peak performance. For a hot and humid climate pay particular attention to the dehumidifying capabilities.

Humidity control

Increased levels of moisture in the air cause sweating and the original purpose of the AC was to tackle this issue. High levels of humidity can also cause molds and other health problems. Most modern ACs dehumidify as they lower the air temperature. This can be noticed by the water dropping in the outer unit. 

Steps to lessen the need for dehumidification

You may notice that the cooling increases right after it has rained. That’s because the humidity levels in the air go up. Here are some steps you can implement to counter that:

Do not leave the fan set to an “on” position instead set it on “auto”.

Activities such as cooking washing and bathing produce a lot of moisture which should be removed using exhaust fans instead of the AC. Avoid drying clothes inside the house unless with a clothes dryer.

Refrain from opening windows and using cross ventilation when humidity levels are high in the atmosphere.

Implementing any of the above mentioned strategies should considerably reduce utility bills and extend the life of the AC at the same time.

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