Air conditioning units play an essential role in households. They allow homeowners and residents to go through different seasons safely and conveniently. Additionally, keeping their homes comfortable and cool is every homeowner’s priority, so it’s not a surprise that around ¾ of the houses in the country are equipped with air conditioning systems.
Air conditioners actually take up a significant percentage of a regular household’s utility or energy expense. According to the Department of Energy, in the United States, homeowners spend more or less $29 billion per year on air conditioners. This is why keeping the air conditioning system efficient is essential.
While some homeowners immediately replace their air conditioners the minute they find out it’s not working like it used to, there are other ways of ensuring the system remains efficient. One of the options is to schedule regular AC maintenance.
Additionally, understanding air conditioners and how they work can also help.
How Air Conditioners Work
Air conditioners are cooling systems that remove heat from an indoor area by moving it to the outdoors. It is a vital HVAC component as it helps control home temperatures.
An air conditioner has a condenser or an outdoor unit and an evaporator, otherwise known as the indoor unit. This is why it is often described as a split-system. The condenser and evaporator work together to cool and dehumidify homes or rooms. More specifically, the evaporator or indoor coil cools the house while the hot outdoor coil releases heat to an outdoor area.
Types of Air Conditioners
- Room air conditioners – These are cooling units for rooms and not intended for an entire house or building.
- Central air conditioners – These ACs are categorized into two kinds: packaged and split systems. Central air conditioners are created for homes and offices or buildings where the cool air can easily circulate in the rooms.
- Ductless mini-split air conditioners – These cooling systems are commonly used in commercial units, institutional structures, and homes or residential units.
Air Conditioning Tips, Tricks, and Hacks
As mentioned above, regular air conditioner maintenance is essential. An HVAC specialist knows what to do, but not all homeowners do. Luckily, there are several proven tips, tricks, and hacks that anybody can easily follow.
1. Air conditioners must be regularly maintained.
If air conditioners are left unattended and not regularly maintained, homeowners may experience the following:
- Sudden changes in temperature cause stress to the body, which can lead to specific ailments. When a homeowner gets inside an air-conditioned home from somewhere hot (i.e., the backyard or garden), there is a drastic drop in the temperature, and this can cause muscle spasms, eye infections, and respiratory problems.
- Dry skin, cracked lips, dry mouth, dehydration, sinus infections, and other allergies, and respiratory illnesses due to lower humidity in air-conditioned rooms.
- Mold and bacteria develop in HVAC or AC systems that are not well-maintained, specifically in the coils. This does cause not only a foul odor or smell but also certain allergies and airborne diseases. The presence of mold and bacteria in an AC can also result in higher power consumption, leading to an increase in utility expenses.
The situations indicated above mean one thing: a well-maintained air conditioning system is essential for a clean and healthy home. Thus, homeowners are expected to schedule a regular maintenance visit with their HVAC specialist.
In cases where calling an HVAC specialist is difficult, here are some tips and hacks to follow:
- Clean the air conditioner’s internal filters regularly. Ideally, though, homeowners should replace these filters every month or as needed. If the AC is constantly running in a room or area that is exposed to dust.
- The AC’s internal and external parts must be kept free of debris, leaves, and dirt or garbage. Condensers are vital for the system’s efficient functioning, so they need to be cleaned as regularly as possible. The area around the condensers should likewise be cleaned.
- Ideally, HVAC specialists should pay homeowners a professional visit once a year to ensure that their systems are cleaned and well-maintained.
2. Insulate the walls and install blinds and shades.
An air conditioning system is more energy-efficient if it is complemented with an insulated wall. With an insulator, the air is kept warm when it is cold outside and remains cool when it is hot outdoors. This significantly helps ensure that the AC is not overworked.
Installing blinds and shades on the windows, particularly in the room or area where the air conditioner is running, helps keep the heat away. They block off light from outside, the glare, and anything that reduces the air conditioning system’s cooling effect.
Blinds, shades, and curtains should be medium-colored and not light-colored ones. Additionally, using a window film to block off the glare and heat is also ideal. This window film is a thin self-adhesive polyester laminate sheet that can be easily applied to glass surfaces. The film works by reflecting the rays of the sun away from a structure or home.
3. Air conditioners must be in a shaded area.
Ensure that the air conditioner is located in a shaded area of the home. It shouldn’t be facing a window as well or any place that the sun directly hits. The shade helps cool the air coming out of the AC.
Also, the thermostat shouldn’t be placed near appliances that give off heat, such as the television and refrigerator.
4. Plants and good landscaping can protect air conditioning systems.
Plants, mainly vines, can protect walls and awnings. Once it covers the house’s exterior, it provides shade and blocks heat coming from the sun. Thus, the walls do not absorb heat.
Additionally, proper landscaping likewise helps ensure an energy-efficient air conditioning system. For example, homeowners should avoid using cement or asphalt when landscaping, particularly on the property’s south or west side. Such materials can overwork the AC because of the heat they generate, especially if they are without shade and directly exposed to the sun.
5. Complementing the air conditioning system with fans can help.
Installing fans around the home is another way of protecting the air conditioning system. Aside from being more energy-efficient than air conditioners, fans can also increase the AC’s cooling impact. The ideal option is to install a ceiling fan and use it along with the air conditioner. When the thermostat increases, the fan’s movement distributes the air around the room, therefore making it cooler.
The best tip homeowners should follow is to find a reliable HVAC specialist who can help keep their air conditioners in excellent and efficient condition for many years.
About the author
Sara Olsen is the Content Marketing Manager of Emergency Air, Arizona’s premier HVAC repair and service company with NATE-certified technicians and the best HVAC service in the quickest time. When not writing articles, she makes the most of her time with her family and gives back to the community.