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Air Conditioner FAQ

 

Outside air conditioning unit

Proper maintenance on your air conditioning unit can prolong the life of your system.

We’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about your AC unit to help you determine how to get the most out of your system.

Q: What tip do you have to keep cooling costs down during the summer?

A: Since your air conditioner cannot cool down your home in a matter of minutes, don’t allow your home to become uncomfortably hot. Air conditioners are designed to cool for a 20° change in temperature. For example, 100° air temperature would only be cooled to about 80°. Turning your AC off when you leave the house is not good for efficiency, or your comfort. It’s better to turn the temperature down to a manageable level so that your system does not have to work extra hard to cool your home down.

Q: How often should I change my air filter?

A: You should change your air filter at least once every six months in order to help extend the life of your system. Changing your filter every three months is even better. All of the air in your home circulates and re-circulates through the same filter. An air filter is designed to remove dust particles to keep the air you breathe clean, and when your filters become clogged, it can cause your system to work less efficiently, which will cost you more to operate. If the filter is left unchanged for too long, your system could fail.

Q: What is a tune-up?

A: A tune-up is when an HVAC professional checks the key components of your system and makes adjustments to keep it operating efficiently.

Q: When should I have my unit serviced?

A: Get a regular tune-up twice a year: once at the beginning of the heating season, and another at the beginning of the cooling season to ensure that your system is working efficiently. However, tune-ups may be scheduled at any time.

Q: How can I find out if I am spending too much on heating and cooling?

A: Start with your utility company; they can help a great deal. Take your energy bill and divide it by the square footage of livable space in your home.  Calculate how much you are spending to heat or cool each square foot in your home. After calculating both values, ask your utility company what the average cost per square foot is in your area for that same period of time. Then compare.

Q: Would installing a programmable thermostat really save me money?

A: Yes. Getting a programmable thermostat will save you money. Programmable thermostats are designed to auto adjust the temperature throughout the day, which can save you between 15 to 25% on cooling costs. When you get your thermostat installed, make sure it is not placed in an area where the temperatures can easily fluctuate.

Q: How do I know if I need to replace rather than repair my unit?

A: You should consider replacing if your unit is older than 7 years and if you have repaired it frequently.  You should also replace when your system stops working, or fails to cool all areas of your home. You should also consider replacement if the AC runs excessively or constantly turns on/off, producing high utility bills. In these situations, it would be better for your wallet to replace your existing system.

A: It’s best to call a professional to give you a consultation.  Advent Heat & Air will send a specialist to your home for a free estimate to examine your home inside and out to determine what the best system is for you.

Q: How long does an average HVAC unit last?

A: Most systems last about 10 to 20 years, and as your unit starts to age, the efficiency used to produce can lessen.  Your unit may get louder and need more repairs. When a unit starts showing its age, you can either keep repairing the system or decide to replace it.

Q: Can I just replace the outdoor unit on an older air conditioning system to save money?

A: If you just replace your outdoor unit your initial investment may be low, however, it could cost you more in the long run due to utility cost. You should always replace the indoor cooling coil with the outdoor unit.

Q: Do I need to have my ductwork replaced?

A: Industry experts estimate that as many as 70% of all homes with central air have poorly installed ductwork. Ducts that are not properly insulated fail to heat or cool your home efficiently, therefore costing you money. Before you invest in a new system, make sure you call an HVAC expert check your ducts.