New Port Richey - Here are 11 Scientifically Backed Ways To Extend the Life of Your Central A/C System
Did you know:
Central air conditioning systems are the single largest investment you are likely to make in your home?
Of course they are. It’s an investment that comes with a 5-digit price tag, and New Port Richey AC repair bills can be a serious burden. Of course you you want to make it last as long as you possibly can.
However, a poorly maintained air conditioner isn’t likely to last the 10-15 years (or more) that you’re hoping for – and it may run inefficiently, before it finally fails.
But don’t worry – you can do better.
With proper maintenance and a few relatively simple strategies, you can extend the life of your air conditioning system far beyond the warranty period.
Let’s dive in.
1. Change your filters regularly. The most common air conditioner issues can often be traced back to the air filters. When those are changed infrequently – or not at all – or when an inappropriate filter is utilized, your system suffers.
Worst of all – this all leads to HIGHER BILLS. And we can all agree that those are unacceptable.
2. Use an effective low-resistance filter. Air filters come with differing levels of resistance. The manufacturer of your system will have an opinion on proper filters, but you can choose an alternative with the help of your local air conditioning service.
Low resistance filters allow the air to circulate more freely, which lightens the load. Your system will last longer if it is putting in the minimum work for the maximum result.
3. Ask your HVAC repair service about TUNE-UPS.
This is something we should straighten out right now:
MAINTENANCE is absolutely critical to your air conditioner’s health.
Skimping on your regular maintenance is the fastest way we know to ensure that your AC repair bills will be astronomical. A tune-up is an important part of your system’s upkeep, and any HVAC repair company is going to be able to help you.
If you don’t have a maintenance agreement, it isn’t hard to find. No matter where you are, your trusty friends at Google will respond with highly rated local professionals if you search “AC repair near me” from your phone or any device with location services enabled.
For anyone in the New Port Richey area, feel free to reach out to us directly.
During a standard tune up, your air conditioning service professional will:
We are often asked how frequently you should have your system tuned up. The answer is at LEAST annually or biannually or if you have furry pets in the home. You should schedule these a few months in advance before you turn it on for the cooling season.
For more questions, contact us directly and we’ll answer any questions you have.
4. Clean the parts of your system you can – including SUPPLY VENTS and RETURN GRILLS.
You should not depend on an AC repair company, even a fantastic one, to do everything for you.
Owning a central air conditioner comes with a few simple responsibilities for you, and attending to them in a timely fashion will help you immeasurably over the years. Not only will it keep your system alive longer, it will keep your bills lower in the meantime.
Don’t want to do any complex cleaning? Don’t worry. It’s easy.
Cleaning your vent grills is far less complex and labor intensive than cleaning your oven, washing your car, or mowing your lawn. The grills will trap dust in the same way that your air filter does, except that they aren’t designed for it.
Also - just like air filters, those grills can cause reduced airflow. It’s important that you take care of this little chore.
Which is why we’re putting a step-by-step guide right here for you. Here’s what you do.
For a more elaborate clean:
5. Consider installing ceiling fans.
A great way to extend the life of your system that isn’t brought up often is ceiling fan installations. Think of them like assistants – they make your system’s job much easier. They move very large volumes of air, slowly and inexpensively.
Air blowing directly down across your skin makes the room feel several degrees cooler. Fans in the ceiling help to circulate the air, which can allow you to set your thermostat 3 or 4 degrees higher.
That allows your central air conditioner to reduce the duration of the active cycle, which reduces energy consumption. As an added bonus, they’re great for the environment, too.
What does that spell in terms of savings?
We thought you might ask. Ceiling fans pay for themselves very quickly. Here’s a mathematical breakdown you may find intriguing:
6. Consider adding a UV light to your system.
Now this sounds like science fiction, but:
You can have ULTRAVIOLET LIGHTS installed in your air conditioning system.
This isn’t the cheapest solution on our list – not by a longshot – but it has been scientifically PROVEN to help improve your system’s efficiency and performance. If performance is improved, so is system longevity.
How do these space-age accessories help my air conditioner?
Well, that’s a fair question. Let’s start with a question for you:
If any of those questions had you nodding your head, then your HVAC repair tech might suggest installing a UV light. They are very effective, depending on installation. They’re actually particularly effective in warm and humid climates – hello there, Florida!
UV lights target mold growth and bacteria. They don’t have any real impact on dust, pollen, or pet dander. However, installed near the coils, they prevent air passing through from carrying mold.
Prices have been dropping dramatically over the last decade with prices that now hover around the $300-$600 mark. Also, the bulbs must be replaced annually, at a cost of $80-$110.
How does this impact my systems lifespan?
The key thing to takeaway here is that you want your air conditioning service and accessories to support the main system. The less work that your system has to do, the more money you will save, and the longer it will last.
7. Get a proper ductwork evaluation.
An HVAC repair company should have technicians who are trained to evaluate whether your current ductwork is efficient and well designed for your home.
During the evaluation, a tech will look for airflow leaks and verify that the setup and layout of your ducts is appropriate and properly supports your air conditioning system.
Did you know?
The average home wastes 20-30% of their air through leaky or uninsulated ducts?
That’s a staggering amount of waste, and it’s costing you a fortune. Ask your New Port Richey air conditioning service professional to fix that, and you’ll find the efficiency and lifespan of your system gets a big boost.
8. Consider upgrading your thermostat.
Is your thermostat doing everything it can to improve your system’s efficiency? If not, it’s probably going to shorten your AC’s life. Older thermostats are lacking features that modern ones use to increase the performance of your air conditioner.
Also, if your thermostat is placed near a vent, or in a particularly sunny space, or near lamps or other heat-producing devices, it may be getting improper temperature information, which will negatively affect performance.
Part of upgrading is making sure that thermostat is placed in the optimal location within your home.
What makes a modern thermostat so special?
In short, everything. In detail:
Ask your service company today whether a thermostat upgrade is in your future.
9. Keep your condenser unit cleared of obstructions and dirt.
The outside portion of your system is called the condenser, and it has to deal with a lot more wear and tear than the air handler inside your home. A good cleaning is part of the tune-up process but there is a lot you can do to keep it clean in between those big annual cleanings.
If the pros are doing it, why should you?
Bottom line: Because the cleaner you keep it, the longer your AC lives, and the lower your bills are.
Once a year really isn’t enough if you want the MAXIMUM performance out of your system. Your condenser has a really big job – it dissipates the heat from inside your home. If the condenser coils and fins are clogged, that heat has trouble escaping.
Think of it like covering yourself up in a snowsuit during a heat wave. Heat couldn’t escape your body and you’d overheat, right?
This makes your air conditioner run poorly.
What does cleaning your condenser entail?
This isn’t too complicated, either. All you need to do is clear debris away and make sure there is plenty of clearance – a few feet, at least – around the unit housing. By debris, we mean dirt, bird feathers, grass clippings, trash, and anything else that gets trapped in there.
Then you, or your landscaper, should trim bushes, grasses, and anything else growing nearby away from the housing to keep it clear.
10. Shade your outdoor unit.
Going back to the “work smart, not hard” mentality that is a common them throughout this article, it has been proven that shading your outdoor unit can increase efficiency by up to 10%.
Shade can come in the form of trees, so long as you keep a vigilant eye to make sure leaves aren’t clogging the unit, or you can purchase and install a purpose-built shade.
11. Spot check often. Repairs are best caught early, before they cause a domino effect. Keeping an eye on simple things will help you catch repairs while they are simple and cheap. Here’s what to keep your senses out for:
If you still aren’t certain that you’ve done everything you can, contact us, and we’ll send a New Port Richey AC repair specialist to audit your home for efficiency. We can help you maximize your system’s lifespan.
If you have questions or to learn more, call us today at 727-270-9819.
As summer draws near, New Port Richey air conditioning systems are getting tuned up and turned on. Quite often, we get a call about a system that seems to run too frequently. If it feels like your cooling system never really turns off, that can be a serious cause for concern.
If there’s something wrong, it’s going to show up in ways that you could live without – higher energy bills or breakdowns right when you are least capable of dealing with them.
New Port Richey AC Repair contractors are more experienced than most with systems running constantly. The high temperatures we experience every summer make many homeowners assume that a non-stop air conditioner is normal.
In fact, that’s not always wrong – there are situations in which it is perfectly normal. In the summer, particularly somewhere this hot, it isn’t uncommon for a system to run pretty often. In fact, that can be good – long cycles help a central air conditioner run efficiently and help humidity issues.
Also, starting and stopping are more stressful to the system than running, and so long cycles may be a good thing.
However, if your air conditioning system literally never stops running, and you’re not comfortable in your home or it doesn’t reach the temperature on the thermostat, you have a problem. For your sake, we’re going to cover some problems that could be at the heart of your system’s behavior.
Why Your System May Keep Going, and Going, and Going, and Going, and …
1. Size matters. We’ll start with the worst case scenario – that your system is the wrong size for your home. HVAC technicians are always seeking a Goldilocks Effect regarding their installations – it needs to be just right, or your home will be too hot or too cold.
In order to operate at the efficiency level on the Energy Star label when you bought it, your system needs to be matched to your home. That means that it must be the appropriate size and power for the home in which it is installed.
If too large or too small, you’ll immediately notice problems. Unfortunately, the only reliable solution for an improperly sized system is a new replacement system, or at the very least the additional of supplement cooling.
The cost of these things might be hard to swallow, but air conditioning repair prices only get higher the longer you wait to have problems fixed.
Too Small: If the system is too small, you’ll notice precisely the behavior that this article is focusing on. It will run all the time, because it has to work harder to cool a space that is too large. This will keep it from achieving maximum efficiency, and you’ll have higher bills.
Even worse, your home will never quite achieve the desired comfort level, and the system will have a shortened lifespan because parts will wear out faster than they should. The part most at risk from an undersized system, by the way, is the compressor – which is expensive, and definitely not something you want to replace.
Too Large: Rather than running too often, an oversized system will short-cycle, which will result in uncomfortably humid air and lots of starting and stopping. That’s inefficient, and will raise your energy bills as much as an undersized system, if not more.
Undersized ducts: If your system is the right size but your ducts are not, you may experience running issues because the ducts can’t adequately manage airflow. That could lead to hot or cool rooms, and if one of those rooms contains the thermostat, you’ll likely see a system that runs constantly.
Also, speaking of thermostats:
2. Thermostats aren’t infallible. If your thermostat isn’t working properly, neither is your air conditioner. It may be that your home and your air conditioner are both fine, but the thermostat doesn’t know this, and so it won’t send the signals to the air conditioner to stop its cooling cycle.
If a thermostat is faulty, your AC system may run constantly, in fits and starts, or not at all. The thermostat is the brains of the operation. You can check your thermostat in a few different ways:
3. Airflow issues can lead to many problems. If you are noticing weak airflow in addition to the system running constantly, then you may have issues related to air circulation. The outdoor unit may not be the issue, however – your indoor air handler may have a faulty motor.
Your ductwork could be damaged or incorrectly installed. Your air filters could be dirty, or your vents could be blocked or closed. Any of those would cause restricted airflow. In New Port Richey, air conditioning systems with poor airflow are likely to run constantly to try to overcome that and cool your home.
Having that checked out by a professional as soon as possible can help stop more serious problems. And while we’re on the topic of maintenance:
4. Maintenance is preventive medicine for air conditioners. Think of air conditioners the way you think of cars. Would you drive your car 10,000 miles without having the oil changed? Of course not, and if you did, you wouldn’t be surprised when the “Check Engine” light flicked on.
Yet many homeowners forget to have preventive maintenance on their car. Dirty filters, ducts or coils can all have a damaging effect on your system’s ability to run, resulting in longer or shorter run cycles.
Having a professional give your system the all-important tune-up will help diagnose and repair small problems before they have a chance to become big ones. This will lengthen the overall life of your system, and help it to run as efficiently – and cheaply – as possible.
New Port Richey AC Repair technicians are experts, and qualified to perform an annual or bi-annual tune-up on your central air conditioner.
When you live somewhere as warm as New Port Richey, AC repair isn’t something you want to slack on. Florida summers can be treacherous to the unprepared – but don’t worry, that’s what these articles are all about!
The most useful piece of information we hand out to all of our customers is: don’t wait – deal with your HVAC problems as early as possible. That’s because the longer you wait, the more opportunity those problems will have to spread and multiply. A simple repair now could be a big financial problem in just a few weeks.
If you’re experiencing a very specific symptom – your air conditioner turning on and off too frequently – then you’re dealing with what we call short cycling. It can affect heating, as well as as air conditioning and it is the kind of problem that can have many causes.
Remember, though, if you need a New Port Richey air conditioning expert, we’re never more than a call or email away.
Short Cycling: Explained
If you don’t know exactly what’s happening, we’ll start with a little background. In HVAC, the time between an air conditioner turning on and off is a “cycle.” It’s a short cycle when it happens too often. It’s bad for many reasons:
Reduced energy efficiency. An air conditioner doesn’t reach peak efficiency until it has already run for several minutes. It takes more energy to start the motor than it does to keep it running. This means that a short cycle is increasing your energy consumption. That manifests in a most unwelcome way: higher energy bills.
Wear and tear. Your system is supposed to be good for 10-15 years, right? Not if it’s short cycling. You could see a drastically reduced lifespan if this issue is left unchecked. The start-and-stop is more stressful on your air conditioner than running regular cycles.
Poor performance. Your home is going to be less comfortable if your central air is short cycling. It can cause temperature swings, and humidity is not going to be well controlled. A full cycle will cool evenly and dehumidify the air. No matter what’s causing it, short cycling will weaken your system’s ability to do any of those things.
Short Cycling: What Causes It?
Short cycling isn’t uncommon at all. You shouldn’t be panicking if it’s happening to you. Many of the causes are simple enough to fix, and assuming you’ve acted quickly, New Port Richey AC repair specialists are going to get your home’s cooling needs under control.
Here are some of the causes of short cycling:
When that happens, dirt, dust, mold, mildew, and other debris can build up on your filter. This makes it impossible for air to circulate properly, which can in turn cause your system to overheat and power down.
They aren’t able to cool or dehumidify the air, and it can cause a whole host of issues with your residential central air system, including short cycling. If ice is your problem, time to thaw and a thorough cleaning are the remedy, and it’s best if those are performed by qualified HVAC contractors.
Leaks are the only cause of low refrigerant – none of the substance is actually used up in the cooling process, and it’s kept in a closed, pressurized system. You’ll need a New Port Richey air conditioning repair tech to come out, find and repair the leak, and restore the levels of refrigerant to their correct amount.
Prices of refrigerant can vary depending on whether or not your system is old enough to still be using outdated R22 (Freon) instead of a newer, more eco-friendly refrigerant. If your system is old enough to be using R22, short-cycling could be one of many problems you’re facing, and it may be time to upgrade.
A faulty thermostat can cause short cycling, as well, as it is not sending correct signals to your central air conditioner.
That may seem counterintuitive, but it’s accurate. Rather than working better or faster, it will overwhelm your home with cold air that it won’t have time to properly dehumidify before it reaches the correct temperature, and it will shut down.
Then, because it hasn’t cooled evenly, it will turn back on again in reaction to temperature swings in your home. Not only will this reduce comfort, but it will also put a lot of stress on the air conditioner and increase the cost of operation.
If your home cooling system is short cycling, contact New Port Richey Air Conditioning Repair today, and let us solve your problems.
Call us today at 727-270-9819 today and save $35 with your paid repair!