5 Reasons Your AC isn’t Running Efficiently
Have you ever opened your mail to find that your energy bill was sky high? Maybe even more than double what you were expecting. You rack your brain but you can’ t remember doing anything differently. The meter must have been read incorrectly. You call up your utility company irate at these outrageous charges. Except perhaps the bill wasn’t wrong after all. Maybe you really did use all that energy. And the reason could be that your HVAC system simply isn’t running efficiently. At Entek, we want to make sure you keep your house cool and don’t sweat your bill. We’ll show you how to get the most bang for your buck and ensure you’re maximizing your AC’s energy efficiency.
The first thing to consider is the age of your unit. Some well-maintained units can last up to 25 years, but generally, it’s a good idea to replace your HVAC unit every 15 years so that you can upgrade to a more energy efficient model. For example, newer air conditioning units use 30%-50% less energy than units made in the mid-1970s. Even homeowners with units only a decade old could benefit from an upgrade because of the enhanced efficiency of newer models.
If you’re unsure whether your unit needs to be replaced, contact one of Entek’s qualified technicians for a home visit. For a limited time, we’re even offering a discounted rate for a home performance energy test. We’ll help you determine if it’s time for an upgrade.
If your unit is an older model that needs replacement, there are some things to keep in mind when shopping for a new HVAC system. First, while it may cost you more upfront, a quality HVAC unit will save you more in the long-term through energy cost-savings. One thing you should keep in mind when comparing units is the HVAC efficiency rating. Central AC units have something known as a seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER for short. A higher rating means the unit requires less energy to generate a given cooling effect. You should look for units with a SEER of at least 15.
A second HVAC efficiency rating to consider is the EER, or energy efficiency ratio. This rating correlates to the unit’s performance on particularly hot days. You’ll want to factor in both ratings when deciding which unit to purchase. A unit that excels in both areas and has maximum HVAC efficiency ratings is ideal.
But perhaps you’ve already purchased a new unit and your AC still isn’t cooling efficiently. What then? Well, you may have a different problem on your hands.
First, you’ll want to ensure that your unit is properly maintained. Check the unit’s coils, for example. If they’re covered in dirt, grime, or pet hair, they likely need to be cleaned. Removing any debris will make your unit operate more efficiently. Have your coils professionally cleaned. This will save you money by increasing your energy savings and decreasing the number of repair bills you’re likely to have.
Likewise, you’ll want to make sure you change your unit’s air filter on a regular basis. You may need to change it more or less often depending on your specific circumstances. If you have pets in your home, for instance, you should switch out the air filter every couple months. If you have more than one pet, you may want to do it more often than that. Pet hair often clogs the filter, making your unit operate with less efficiency. A good rule of thumb is to inspect your air filter each month. If it appears dirty, it’s time for a change. According to the Department of Energy, replacing a dirty air filter with a new one could reduce your AC’s energy consumption anywhere from 5% to 15%.
If your coils and filter are clean, you may have a leakage problem. Refrigerant is a compound that absorbs heat from the indoor air. Refrigerant leaks are harmful to the environment and will cause your AC to operate less effectively. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency requires you to fix any refrigerant leaks within 30 days of discovery. If you do have a refrigerant leak, it’s indicative of a mechanical problem. You’ll need to have the issue addressed in a timely manner and should contact a professional technician to inspect the unit as soon as possible.
Of course, the actual problem may not be the unit at all. In order for your HVAC unit to operate properly, it must have been properly installed. Did you know that close to half of all HVAC units are improperly installed? This is problematic not only because it lessens the unit’s efficiency, but also because it could lessen the lifespan of your newly purchased equipment. You don’t want to invest in a top of the line unit just to have it mishandled as soon as it gets to your home. It’s best to have your unit properly installed the first time around by a certified and professional technician, like those at Entek.
While it’s a good idea to invest in a new, energy efficient HVAC system, it’s not enough. You’ll want to make sure your unit is properly maintained over time. It’s a good idea to have it regularly inspected by a professional who can test its performance and confirm it is operating at maximum efficiency. When it comes to your HVAC unit, it’s best to be proactive. Have your unit checked on a frequent basis to avoid any problems during the hot summer months and to save more money in the long run. At Entek, we can save you up to 30% in energy costs through a home performance test. So give us a call and get ready to toss those costly energy bills out the window.