I know something important:
I know how expensive your central air conditioning system was. I know how much the average homeowner is spending on energy bills to cool their home.
And I think you are paying too much money.
I also think you should make your air conditioning system last as long as possible to offset that expense.
With the enormous price tag central air carries at installation, you should do everything you can to make the system last – and make your Orlando AC repair company help.
That’s why we’re here, after all.
So, to keep it brief …
I’ve got a few tips and tricks to help you out – and these are backed up by proper scientific research and guaranteed to work. If you employ a little time, attention, and energy, your air conditioning system could even outlive the warranty.
So … if I have your attention …
Read on to find out more.
1 – KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR LITTLE WARNING SIGNS
Your air conditioner will usually be pretty great at telling you that something is fishy. If you know what to watch for, you’ll be more likely to catch problems early – before they get out of hand and cost you a fortune.
Catching problems early also prevents them from damaging other components in your air conditioner and shortening its lifespan.
HVAC repair axioms and pearls of wisdom are usually accurate. One of my favorites is straight from Ben Franklin, and even though he wasn’t talking about air conditioners back in 1736 (he was talking about fires, if you were curious), it certainly applies.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Basically, if you catch a problem while it’s small, it won’t cost you nearly as much to fix, and it won’t create a cascading mess of other problems for you, either. So here are a few warning signs to watch for.
If you spot any impending disasters, shoot a call or email over to your Orlando AC repair professionals and ask for a preemptive air conditioning service.
2: CHANGE YOUR AIR FILTERS REGULARLY
If you were to ask me for JUST ONE piece of advice for caring for your AC system, this might be it. At every job in AC repair near me – and an enormous percentage of the air conditioning services we perform – can be traced back to blockages and airflow issues.
Dirty filters lead to a whole host of other problems, including:
3: CHOOSE THE RIGHT FILTER
Speaking of filters:
You have options. The one that came with your system isn’t the only compatible filter. Not every Orlando AC repair technician agrees on which type of filter you should use. Some will advise pleated, disposable filters.
Some will recommend electrostatic washable filters. You may, if you have allergies, choose HEPA filters. However, some higher-resistance filters exact a toll on your system’s efficiency because your air handler has to work harder to circulate air through them.
Striking a balance between performance (how well it traps particulates) and resistance (how easily air passes through) is key to getting the maximum life out of your air conditioner.
4: ADD CEILING FANS TO YOUR HOME
Ceiling fans don’t get enough love, in my opinion.
They’re relatively cheap and simple to install, and they have a staggeringly positive impact on your home. The problem seems to be that many people think of ceiling fans, box fans, and standing fans as a replacement for air conditioning systems, when in reality they are meant to work in conjunction with your HVAC.
A ceiling fan works in the simplest way imaginable: it moves a lot of air around, quite slowly. You don’t have to have them turned to maximum speed to achieve their cooling effect.
A room with a ceiling fan will feel about 4-5 degrees cooler than it actually is, which allows you the luxury of setting your thermostat an equivalent number of degrees higher.
Setting your thermostat higher gives your air conditioner less work to do, which reduces the duration of the “ON” cycle, which saves you money.
But how much money does it really save you?
A lot. Depending on your usage, you’ll see a substantial net savings. A ceiling fan typically costs around one cent ($0.01) each hour to run. An air conditioner is over 40 times more expensive than that.
Here’s the kicker:
The ceiling fan reduces your air conditioner costs by up to $0.17 per hour. Over a month of usage, that could drop your energy bills by $30 or more.
That sure sounds like a winner to me.
5: ADD A MODERN WI-FI CAPABLE, PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT
Your thermostat is the brains of the HVAC operation, and it pays to have the best brain around. A thermostat will dramatically increase efficiency, which – as I’ve said – will lengthen the lifespan of your air conditioning. It will also reduce the incidence of needing AC repair.
Even if you have a programmable thermostat, you should speak to your air conditioning service provider and discover whether recent advances in the technology could outstrip the capabilities of your current stat.
What kind of feats can modern thermostats accomplish?
Glad you asked. Modern thermostats can be controlled from your phone or tablet, which means you can turn the system on mid-commute, rather than leaving your home at a cooler temperature all day or trying to predict your schedule as closely as possible.
For people with varying or unpredictable schedules, it isn’t feasible to program a weekly routine into your thermostat – and wi-fi control solves that problem quite neatly.
Thermostats with modern technology can also help to create cooling zones in your home – so that your money only goes to cooling down rooms that will be occupied.
If you’ve got a guest room that you know isn’t being used, or don’t feel like cooling off your dining room when there are no dinner parties happening, zones will be a big help.
6: CLEAN OFF YOUR OUTDOOR CONDENSER UNIT REGULARLY
Your outside unit works hard, and depending on where your home is located, it probably lives hard as well. Whether your climate woes are humidity, snow, dry heat, high winds, or something else entirely, there’s no way living outdoors year-round is going to be problem-free.
However, your condenser has to be kept clean to effectively perform the task for which it was designed. The coils and fins enable your system to gather heat from within your home and expel it into the Great Outdoors.
Keeping your condenser unit free of debris is simple. Just make sure all plants and bushes are trimmed a few feet back, and give it a once-over every few month or so. Make sure that the fins are straight and clean and that nothing is caught in there.
Leaves, grass clippings, trash, dirt, weeds, and the like will clog your condenser and stop it from dissipating heat. When that happens, your equipment suffers.
One method I’ve found helpful is this:
When you’re watering your lawn or garden, hose off the condenser unit as well!
7: SHADE YOUR CONDENSER UNIT
Shading your condenser can improve its performance by up to 10%, and that means savings AND a healthier system. There are a couple of ways to do this:
8: TALK TO US ABOUT SCHEDULING AN ANNUAL OR BIANNUAL TUNE-UP
When the spring rolls around and you’re getting ready to shake the dust off of your air conditioner for the warmer seasons, you should schedule a tune-up. You may also choose to have the system gone over at the end of the season to make as certain as you can that the spring tune-up won’t turn up any unpleasant surprises.
I bet you’re wondering:
What’s a tune-up, and why should you pay for one?
It isn’t a hustle, I promise. It’s one of the smartest ways to spend money on Orlando HVAC repair, and it’s actually a pretty inexpensive process.
Think of it the way you would a car: every few thousand miles, you want to change the oil, rotate the tires, check the brakes, and so on. Well, in a year, your air conditioner is doing an amount of work nearly the equivalent of a car driving 170,000 miles.
A tune-up doesn’t sound so unreasonable now, does it?
As for what a tune-up is, that’s easy to explain.
Those are the basic steps of a tune-up, and if they turn up anything worrisome, your air conditioning service professionals will advise you on what steps to take next.
9: CLEAN YOUR RETURN GRILLS AND VENTS
This works on a principle similar to your air filters. If those grills are blocked or obstructed, the air conditioner has to work that much harder to get things done. It is such a simple job that including it in the checklist of Owner Maintenance Tasks should be a no-brainer.
A few things to keep in mind, though:
10: UV LIGHTS – THE BACTERIA-FREE WAVE OF THE FUTURE
A slightly more recent innovation, ultraviolet light bulbs can be strategically installed over coils or inside ducts to effectively destroy mold and bacteria. This will take some of the strain off your filters and allow your system to work more efficiently, and as added value, it will also increase the air quality.
They are particularly helpful for those suffering from allergies, asthma, or pulmonary disease.
While UV lights have recently become a very affordable option as far as AC repair near me is concerned, they are a viable and proven method of controlling bacteria and mold, which are often a particularly serious problem in the humid climate we experience here in Orlando.
It’s up to you to decide what that’s worth, but we are more than happy to answer your questions.
11: ASK YOUR HVAC REPAIR SERVICE PROVIDER FOR A DUCT INSPECTION
Your home is probably losing 20% (or more!) of its cooling energy to imperfect ductwork.
In recent years, HVAC repair specialists have gained a far more sophisticated understanding of how the ventilation apparatus we call ductwork impacts your central air’s performance.
Here’s a clue: it’s a really important factor.
Ductwork that is outdated, poorly installed, or improperly laid out can lead to a money-devouring energy loss problem. If you suspect that might be the case, you should ask for a duct inspection to be included at your next air conditioning service appointment.
Call us with questions or concerns at 407-499-8942
Orlando AC Repair: 3 Easy Tips To Get Improved Performance From Your Air Conditioning or Heat Pump System
Who doesn’t love Pro Tips, right? I don’t know about you, but anytime I get a chance to learn a professional’s secrets, I get excited. That’s why I’m excited to share these little tips and tricks with you.
Years of Orlando AC repair have taught me how to maximize the performance and extend the useful life of heat pumps and air conditioning systems. If your cooling system is underperforming your expectations, read on.
A note on AC repair near me: humidity and high heat present different challenges than other climates. These tips and tricks, however, aren’t unique to the Orlando area climate, and will work just as well if you’re in Philadelphia, Des Moines, or Seattle.
So how do you help your heat pump or AC reach its full potential?
Insulation, insulation, insulation. A home’s thermal envelope is a critical performance factor. In case you’re wondering what a thermal envelope is, it means the structural elements of your home that hold warm or cool air inside, where you want it to be.
Your doors, windows, walls, and ceilings are all part of your thermal envelope. That’s why Energy Star recommends high-efficiency windows, as a for instance. But in this case, we’re talking:
Attics. Inadequate insulation at the top of your home means heat loss in the winter and heat penetration in the summer. A well-insulated attic will immediately help your AC perform better.
Doors and windows – An intrepid homeowner who has read Orlando AC Repairs collection of tips and tricks could easily find and repair leak points that are causing your system to work harder. Many Orlando homes are losing as much as 40% of their thermal energy to leaks. Check windows and doors and seal any leaks with caulk and weather stripping.
Ductwork. Many homeowners forget that ducts should also be insulated, particularly when they run through uninsulated spaces such as garages or attics. You also want to seal leaks between your attic and living space, and seal all of your HVAC vents.
Spray-in foam can be a big help here. It’s all about making sure the energy goes where you want it to go. If you aren’t sure how to handle this, duct repair is one of the many heating air conditioning services we offer.
Keep it clean. We often stress the importance of preventive maintenance, and we’re about to do it again. Like Ben Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” If you put that in HVAC terms, it means that doing simple maintenance tasks can help stave off nightmarishly expensive repairs. When we’re talking about preventive maintenance, we mean:
Air filters. Keep these clean, and they’ll return the favor by keeping your air free of allergens, pollen, mold, dust, and mildew. However, if you forget to clean them or replace them at least once a month, you’re risking the integrity of your system.
The first thing that will happen is a loss of efficiency, as your system has to work hard to compensate for the restrictions in airflow. Left unchecked, that can lead to far worse than performance problems, however – like a slugged compressor and an AC repair bill that will definitely make you sweat.
Intake registers and air vents. Even if you’re one of those people who always remember to change the filter, you might be forgetting to clean the registers and vents. It also helps to keep them open and clear.
It’s a misconception that closing vents off to rooms you aren’t using will save you money – your heat pump or air conditioner will deliver the same output regardless, all you’re doing is changing the balance of airflow and increasing air pressure.
This could actually impact the performance negatively. In short, keep your intake registers and air vents as clean as your filters, and don’t close them. It is also advisable to keep curtains, furnishings, and such from covering your vents and registers, for the same reason.
Anything that makes your system work harder lowers its efficiency – the exact opposite of our goal.
Clean the outdoor unit. Out of sight, out of mind. Since most of us put some effort into hiding the condenser unit (we’ve seen privacy fences, strategically placed bushes, and more) it’s easy to forget to keep it clean.
However, over time, lawn clippings, pollen, dust, dirt, and anything else the wind and weather can kick up can build up on the fins, fans, and chassis of your exposed outdoor unit. One quick way to improve performance is to clean the outdoor unit – we recommend twice a year.
Do it gently, with a garden hose, and make sure that no weeds or grass are growing within two or three feet of the unit.
Upgrade your thermostat. The EPA makes a very big deal about programmable thermostats, because they can save you up to $150 a year, on average.
If you’ve got a decent grip on your schedule and a programmable thermostat, you can improve the performance of your system by making sure it turns on precisely when it is most needed, and runs for appropriately timed super-efficient cycles.
Many modern thermostats are also Wi-Fi capable and come with apps that allow you to track efficiency and performance from your phone. I’ve found that it can become kind of a game, to see what little tricks there are to pull the absolute maximum efficiency and performance from your air conditioner or heat pump.
Remember – Orlando AC Repair is always here to advise you. Next time you get the urge to hop on your phone and search “ac repair near me,” just give us a call, instead. We’ll steer you in the right direction.
Call 407-499-8942 today with questions or to schedule a service call and save $25!
Michael Haines is a veteran A/C contractor and founder of the largest and oldest e-commerce site in the heating and air conditioning industry. His HVAC websites have served 10's of thousands of customers.