Your home’s HVAC system is one of its most expensive components. It is charged with keeping your family comfortable throughout the year, and going without it is not an option. It’s much easier to get through the hot, humid summer months with a reliable and efficient air conditioner. Even if you have a top-of-the-line unit, you can’t expect it to remain in excellent shape on its own.

Routine Air Conditioning Maintenance – Why it Matters

Air conditioners are given SEER ratings, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio ratings, which refer to their cooling output versus the amount of energy they consume. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient an AC unit is. SEER ratings aren’t static. Without maintaining your air conditioner, its efficiency will drop by about 5 percent per year, and its SEER rating will drop along with it. It’s important to maintain your air conditioner for the following reasons:

Efficiency – Routine maintenance keeps your AC unit running efficiently, which results in lower energy bills.

Effectiveness – AC maintenance includes cleaning coils and other components. Such measures help an air conditioner to operate effectively. If it gets too dirty, your air conditioner will be less able to adequately cool your home. It may also be less able to pull moisture from the air, which reduces overall comfort and creates an unpleasantly clammy environment.

Longevity – Maintenance increases the likelihood that you will be able to squeeze every last drop of use out of your air conditioner, which will save you money over time.

DIY AC Tips

You should plan on having a heating and cooling contractor perform an annual tune-up on your air conditioner. In the meantime, there is a lot you can do to keep your unit running effectively and efficiently. From being diligent about changing air filters to periodically cleaning components, your efforts will further enhance your air conditioner’s ability to keep your family cool and comfortable.

AC Filters

All air conditioners have air filters, and changing them regularly is one of the most important steps you can take. These filters are typically located on the furnace in the basement, where they are out of sight and out of mind. As a result, people often forget to change them on a regular basis. Visit Hogg Heating & Air Conditioning for more maintenance tips.

An air filter is designed to do two main things. It keeps dirt and other debris from working their way into the unit. It also filters the air before forcing it through the vents, which improves indoor air quality. A clogged filter impedes airflow in an air conditioner. Reduced airflow leads to reduced efficiency, which results in higher energy bills. When a filter gets dirty enough, a phenomenon is known as “filter bypass” may occur. This means that dirty air is able to bypass the filter. It then collects in the evaporator coil, which reduces the coil’s ability to absorb heat. In turn, the effectiveness of the unit is compromised.

Where is the AC Filter Located?

You can’t change the air filter on your air conditioning system without knowing where it is. It’s often found in the furnace. It may also be located on the return duct, in walls, on ceilings or inside the AC unit itself. Refer to your owner’s manual or check with an HVAC contractor for assistance.

How Often should Filters be Replaced?

There’s a lot of debate out there about how frequently AC filters should be replaced. It’s generally best to replace the filter every one or two months. Under certain circumstances, it may make sense to change it more frequently. These circumstances include:

Dusty Environments – If your home is located in a really dusty area, you will probably need to replace the air filter more frequently.

Pets – Hair and dander from pets put additional strain on a home’s HVAC system. Filters clog more quickly, so they should be replaced more often.

Large Homes – Heating and cooling systems in large homes have to move larger volumes of air. This causes air filters to get dirty more quickly.

Constant Use – In hot, humid areas, air conditioners tend to run consistently for several months. Not surprisingly, constant use causes filters to get clogged with dust, dirt and other debris more quickly. find out more here

Filter Size

Make sure that the replacement filter you use is the right size. The easiest way to figure out the correct size is by checking out the filter that’s currently installed. The measurements should be printed right on it. Installing an improperly sized filter increases the odds of filter bypass.

MERV Ratings

Air filters for HVAC systems have MERV ratings, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value ratings that range from one to 20. Higher ratings reflect more efficient filters. Such filters are capable of pulling exceptionally fine particles from the air. Always consider the MERV rating of a filter before purchasing it.

Establishing best practices and implementing regularly scheduled maintenance of HVAC systems can increase energy efficiency and longevity of equipment. Obtaining the right equipment for efficiency and researching what is best for your region and climate, is the best thing to do when choosing the best system or product. For the long-term and the overall comfort of your property, take action now to put practices in place for energy efficiencies and cost savings.