Sometimes taking care of your home means knowing what not to do. This applies to your central air conditioning system. To protect your home and your investment in your HVAC avoid these common mistakes.
1. Choose the wrong size AC
HVAC professionals size air conditioning units through careful calculations, taking into account a variety of factors. These include square footage; number of levels; the home’s layout, orientation and window placement; the number of occupants; and your lifestyle. An incorrectly sized air conditioner will work harder to cool the space, wear out more quickly, and operate at lower efficiency than it is designed for.
2. Skip proper cleaning of coils and fins
The coils and fins help the evaporator and condenser absorb and release heat. Layers of dust and grime get in the way of this process, making your system lose efficiency and costing you more to operate it.
3. Let the air filter become clogged and dirty
Clogged air filters are the main cause of air conditioners breaking down and wearing out prematurely. Dirt and debris cause restricted airflow, which is harmful to your system and compromises its performance. Changing the filter is also the easiest, most economical way to keep your system operating efficiently and effectively.
4. Forget to program or set your thermostat
Your thermostat is a key component in the function of your air conditioner. Consider upgrading to a programmable thermostat, if you haven’t already. Regardless of the type of thermostat you have, make sure to check the settings, particularly as the seasons change.
5. Set the temperature too low
Lowering the temperature setting does not cool your home faster. Doing so just makes the system run at full power longer, resulting in greater wear and tear. Simply set the thermostat for the temperature you want, and let the system do the work efficiently.
6. Allow drains to clog and overflow
Surrounding floors and walls can sustain permanent damage if water is allowed to collect and overflow. Clean the drain line and snake the drain every year to keep it clear and open.
7. Wait too long to replace an old unit
HVAC technology improves rapidly, so investing in a new system can be more affordable than continuing to repair and run an old, inefficient system. With a new system, you instantly begin saving on monthly energy bills and frequent repairs. New equipment, compared to an old unit, can save quite a bit over its lifetime, perform better and give you peace of mind.
8. Skip annual, professional maintenance
Annual professional maintenance will keep your system running at peak efficiency, greatly reduces the risk of unexpected breakdowns and extends the life of your system, saving you money overall. Some manufacturers require regular service to maintain the warranty.
9. Run AC when no one is home
Cooling your home when no one is there wastes energy and money, and increases wear and tear on your system. Today’s air conditioners cool your home quickly, and programmable thermostats can help you control when the system turns on automatically.
10. Forget to close blinds, drapes and windows
Proper use of window coverings can assist your HVAC system. Keeping your home cooler in this way means your system doesn’t have to work as hard. Opening windows occasionally for fresh air is a good idea, but be sure to close them.
11. Put the outside unit in a hot spot
Having the outside unit in a sunny spot on the south or west side of your home will make your AC work too hard. Instead, locate it in a shady spot on the north or east side of your home.
12. Block the unit with shrubs or plants
Debris from trees, shrubs or plants can get inside the unit, hinder ventilation, clog the condenser coils and result in inefficient operation or even cause breakdowns. Keep the area around the unit free of anything that could get inside it.
13. Close unused vents
Closing the vents in unused rooms may seem to make sense but doing so is actually counterproductive. It often reduces the efficiency of the system.
14. Improperly locate the thermostat
To function properly, the thermostat should be located away from any heat sources such as windows, appliances or lamps, that can affect the temperature reading.