Your home’s heating and air conditioning system is designed to keep you and your family cozy and comfortable indoors throughout all the seasons of the year, but it can only be fully effective if it’s in its best condition. If you’ve noticed that it’s not operating as efficiently as usual, it will be difficult for it to achieve the temperatures that are optimal for making your home comfortable. While this can also affect your energy bills, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your AC system needs to be replaced.
The Common Culprits Behind Inefficient AC Operation
If your AC system is relatively new or less than ten years old, then you should have it checked by a certified technician. Otherwise, it may be time to have your whole system replaced. But if you want to be extra sure it’s time for a replacement, here are some of the common causes of inefficient operation you need to keep an eye out for.
- Leaking Ducts – As a homeowner, you may give little thought to the ducts that deliver conditioned air throughout your home. If your air conditioning system is relatively new yet isn’t being very efficient, the problem may involve leaky ducts. It’s amazing what even a few small leaks can do when it comes to the efficiency and effectiveness of an AC unit.
- Dirty Evaporator Coils – Without occasional cleaning, the evaporator coils of an AC system will slowly accumulate dust, dirt and other debris over time. When they get too dirty, their ability to transfer heat becomes affected. This can compromise your unit’s ability to heat or cool a home, since it will have to work harder, though this will hardly be noticeable until it begins to be reflected on your energy bills.
- Lack of Maintenance – If you haven’t been maintaining your AC system regularly, then there may be an unknown cause behind its inefficiency that could have been addressed by now if the system had been checked sooner. Air conditioning units are complex, which is why they need occasional maintenance. In fact, you need to have them tuned up at least once a year. It’s estimated that the average heating and cooling system loses about 5% of its efficiency every year when it’s not properly maintained.
How You Can Improve Your AC System’s Efficiency
The fastest and easiest way to improve the efficiency of your air conditioning system is to replace it entirely. But this may not be an option for everyone, especially if the ducts in your home aren’t in great shape or if the system is improperly installed. To improve the efficiency of an AC system, here’s what can be done:
- Seal & Insulate Ducts – Leaking ducts are more common than you think. But this is usually easy and inexpensive to resolve. With mastic tape and duct insulation installed by a certified technician, you can seal up leaks and drastically improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your entire heating and cooling system. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve efficiency by 10-15%.
- Improve Airflow & Refrigerant Charge – If the airflow or refrigerant charge of a unit doesn’t match the manufacturer’s specifications, the efficiency of the unit will suffer. These things should be assessed during the installation of the air conditioner, but they can degrade over time for various reasons. If done professionally, recharging an AC system can improve its efficiency by up to 20%. Correcting airflow can also boost the efficiency by another 5-10%.
Whether you have an air conditioning problem or a forced-air heating issue you need to resolve at home, consider hiring O.K. Heating & Air Conditioning. Schedule your service today at (925) 337-8319. You can also fill out our online request form.