|Maintaining Your A/C
The U.S. Department of Energy has good advice on maintaining your air conditioning system in a manner that can be both energy efficient and can extend its life. Integrity Air is available to help you keep your system in good shape.
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY WEBSITE (www.doe.gov)
Maintaining Existing Air Conditioners
Older air conditioners may still be able to offer years of relatively efficient use. However, making your older air conditioner last requires you to perform proper operation and maintenance.
Air Conditioning Problems
One of the most common air conditioning problems is improper operation. If your air conditioner is on, be sure to close your home's windows and outside doors.
Other common problems with existing air conditioners result from faulty installation, poor service procedures, and inadequate maintenance. Improper installation of your air conditioner can result in leaky ducts and low air flow.
Many times, the refrigerant charge (the amount of refrigerant in the system) does not match the manufacturer's specifications. If proper refrigerant charging is not performed during installation, the performance and efficiency of the unit is impaired. Service technicians often fail to find refrigerant charging problems or even worsen existing problems by adding refrigerant to a system that is already full. Air conditioner manufacturers generally make rugged, high quality products.
If your air conditioner fails, it is usually for one of the common reasons listed below:
Refrigerant Leaks. If your air conditioner is low on refrigerant, either it was undercharged at installation, or it leaks. If it leaks, simply adding refrigerant is not a solution. A trained technician should fix any leak, test the repair, and then charge the system with the correct amount of refrigerant. Remember that the performance and efficiency of your air conditioner is greatest when the refrigerant charge exactly matches the manufacturer's specification, and is neither undercharged nor overcharged.
Inadequate Maintenance. If you allow filters and air conditioning coils to become dirty, the air conditioner will not work properly, and the compressor or fans are likely to fail prematurely.
Electric Control Failure. The compressor and fan controls can wear out, especially when the air conditioner turns on and off frequently, as is common when a system is oversized. Because corrosion of wire and terminals is also a problem in many systems, electrical connections and contacts should be checked during a professional service call.
An air conditioner's filters, coils, and fins require regular maintenance for the unit to function effectively and efficiently throughout its years of service. Neglecting necessary maintenance ensures a steady decline in air conditioning performance while energy use steadily increases.
Air Conditioner Filters
Some types of filters are reusable; others must be replaced. They are available in a variety of types and efficiencies. Clean or replace your air conditioning system's filter or filters every month or two during the cooling season. Filters may need more frequent attention if the air conditioner is in constant use, is subjected to dusty conditions, or you have fur-bearing pets in the house.
Air Conditioner Coils
Sealing and Insulating Air Ducts
An enormous waste of energy occurs when cooled air escapes from supply ducts or when hot attic air leaks into return ducts. Recent studies indicate that 10% to 30% of the conditioned air in an average central air conditioning system escapes from the ducts.
For central air conditioning to be efficient, ducts must be airtight. Hiring a competent professional service technician to detect and correct duct leaks is a good investment, since leaky ducts may be difficult to find without experience and test equipment. Ducts must be sealed with duct "mastic." The old standby of duct tape is ineffective for sealing ducts.
impair the efficiency of a duct system almost as much as leaks. You should
be careful not to obstruct the flow of air from supply or return registers
with furniture, drapes, or tightly fitted interior doors. Dirty filters
and clogged evaporator coils can also be major obstructions to air flow.
Courtesy of "Department of Energy"