Is It Okay to Partially Replace Your Central A/C System?

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Replacing a central air conditioning system isn’t something that many homeowners look forward to, if only due to the high costs involved. It takes an average of $3,692 to $7,134 to have a central A/C system installed. It’s no wonder that many homeowners decide to cut costs wherever they can. Some even try to save money by replacing only half of their central A/C system.

Partial replacement of a central A/C system may seem like a financially smart thing to do, but this penny-wise action could end up becoming pound-foolish in many ways. If you’re wondering whether you should replace only part of your A/C system or replace the entire system, you’ll want to read on to find the right answers.

Not If You’re Expecting Good Performance

Performance is usually one of the first casualties of a mismatched central A/C system. Putting a brand-new outdoor condenser unit together with an older indoor air handler unit could result in reduced overall cooling performance. To put things into perspective, imagine two horses pulling a heavy cart. A partial A/C replacement is akin to replacing only one of the horses when both get tired. As a result, the fresh horse can only do as much work as the tired horse is still capable of.

Over time, this mismatch in A/C performance can lead to increased wear and tear on both halves, resulting in more frequent repairs and a shorter lifespan for the entire A/C system.

Not If You Want to Actually Save Money

Partially replacing your central A/C system can also prove to be a waste of money in the long run. Although you might save a little money now, you could end up with higher maintenance and upkeep costs. Mismatched A/C systems also tend to use more energy than a properly paired A/C system, resulting in higher annual utility costs.

In addition, the shortened lifespan of your A/C equipment means you’ll end up spending more on your next replacement. If the older half of your A/C system fails shortly after your partial installation, you’ll find yourself with an uncomfortable choice—performing yet another partial replacement that could cost you even more money or spending extra money on a properly paired central A/C system.

Incompatible Equipment May Prevent It from Happening

In most cases, incompatibilities between your current central A/C equipment and the latest units currently on offer may put a damper on any attempt to mix-and-match your indoor and outdoor halves.

For instance, you may be using A/C equipment that still calls for R-22, an older refrigerant that is currently at the center of an ongoing phase-out campaign due to its negative impact on the ozone layer. This refrigerant can’t be combined with most of the newer types of refrigerant available, including R-410a.

Both refrigerants use different lubricating oils and operate under different pressures. Linking a system that uses one with the other could result in severely damaged A/C equipment and possibly even a risk of injury, in some cases.

You’ll Also Lose Your Warranty

Even if you do manage to somehow get your mixed-and-matched A/C system working, you might not be able to benefit from your A/C equipment warranty for either unit. Most warranties specify that both the indoor and outdoor halves of a central A/C system are to be purchased and used as a single unit. As a result, using different halves could automatically void your warranty for both halves, leaving you on the hook for any repair costs that could have been taken care of by your warranty.

In short, partially replacing your central A/C system could make you lose out on energy efficiency, long-term performance and any savings you were looking for. If you need new cooling equipment for your home, then it’s best to replace the entire system instead of gambling on a partial replacement. For a free estimate on your next A/C system installation, don’t hesitate to fill out our contact form.

When Is It Time to Use the EM Setting on Your Heat Pump?

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If you own a heat pump, you may have noticed a setting on the thermostat called “EM.” Leaving the EM setting on will not stop the unit from heating your home, but it can reduce the efficiency of your heat pump. Understanding the EM setting, and when to use it, can help you maximize your heat pump’s efficiency and can reduce your utility bills this winter.

How the Heat Pump Works

Heat pumps function by moving heat from one location to another location in order to control the temperature of your home. For example, when the air inside your home is too warm, refrigerant inside the heat pump coils will absorb the heat indoors and move it to the outdoors, thus cooling your home. This is the same process used by air conditioners and refrigerators to create a cooling effect.

When it gets cold inside your home, heat pumps reverse this process to push heat into the house. Heat from the outdoors is absorbed through the coils in the unit, and then that heat is transferred to your home through air ducts. The lower the temperature gets outside, the more difficult it becomes for your heat pump to transfer heat to your home’s interior.

As the heat pump’s job becomes more difficult, the unit begins to rely on a supplemental heat source to keep your home warm. This supplemental heat source is not as efficient as the heat pump itself, but it will help keep your home warm and help your heat pump keep up with the demand for warm air.

What the EM Setting Does

If your heat pump breaks, this supplemental heat source can be used exclusively to heat your home. Turning on the EM setting activates the supplemental heat source.

Heating your home via the EM setting is far less efficient than heating your home with the heat pump. However, homeowners who find that their heat pump is disabled by malfunction or mechanical problems may find that this less efficient method of heating is better than not heating their home at all.

When to Use the EM Setting

Homeowners who notice that their heat pump is no longer able to keep their home warm by using the heat pump in the usual way can turn on the EM setting while waiting for their HVAC contractors to arrive. Symptoms of a broken heat pump include:

  • The unit is blowing cool air instead of warm air
  • Ice has built up on the exterior unit
  • The unit cycles frequently but does not warm the home
  • Some rooms are much warmer or cooler than other rooms

Before turning to the EM heat setting, always remember to check the thermostat, make sure the breaker is on, and open up the vents. If these basic trouble shooting steps don’t help, then it’s a good time to use the EM heat setting and call for help.

Maintaining Your Heat Pump

The best way to avoid problems with a heat pump and prevent unnecessary use of the EM setting is to get your heat pump serviced at least once annually. Having an HVAC contractor look at your heat pump once per year can help catch mechanical problems in their early stages. If your HVAC contractor notices a problem that can be repaired, getting that issue addressed can ensure that the heat pump keeps functioning throughout the year.

It’s also important to replace the air filter for your HVAC system at least once every three months. Doing this will prevent dirt and debris from building up in the system, which can prevent mechanical problems.

 

At Lakeside Heating & Air Conditioning, we help homeowners in Arvada, CO to maintain their heating and air conditioning units. Whether you’re in need of service for your furnace, heat pump or air conditioner, or you simply want a tune up to ensure that your unit continues to work throughout the year, we can help. Contact us today at 303-421-3572.

5 Air Conditioning System Repairs You Should Schedule Before Spring

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With winter in full swing, you might not have air conditioner repairs on your mind, but now is the best time to take care of any issues with your home’s cooling system. By being proactive about A/C maintenance now, you’ll have your air conditioner ready to go at the first sign of warm weather. Making wintertime repairs to your A/C system can also save you on labor costs.

Here are some common repairs you’ll want to take care of before the first sign of warm weather.

Refrigerant Leaks

The refrigerant circulating through your air conditioning system does not dissipate like other liquids and gases. However, a refrigerant leak can slowly empty your entire system of refrigerant. Low refrigerant levels can not only decrease your A/C system’s cooling abilities, but the resulting drop in pressure may also damage the compressor and other important A/C components.

Before spring weather arrives, have your trusted HVAC technician check your air conditioner’s current refrigerant levels and look for leaks. Catching and repairing leaks early on can help preserve your A/C system’s performance and efficiency. After finding and sealing the leaks, your technician can properly recharge the A/C system with new refrigerant.

Electrical Wiring and Relay Replacement

Worn-out relays, damaged contacts, exposed wiring and other electrical issues can easily prevent your A/C from working as it should when warm temperatures return. However, dealing with these electrical problems on your own could result in serious injury due to the electrocution risks involved. It’s best to have a trained and certified HVAC professional step in and safely complete the work.

Blower Fan Motor Maintenance

The blower fan motor plays an essential role in your air conditioning system. It not only draws in indoor air through the return air vents, but it also circulates conditioned air throughout the entire home. As with any other A/C system component, the blower fan motor requires occasional inspection and maintenance to ensure that it performs reliably.

As a part of your air conditioner’s regularly scheduled maintenance, your HVAC technician will carefully inspect the blower fan motor for any signs of damage or overheating. If the electric motor requires lubrication, your technician will have the right tools and lubricant to take care the task and ensure the motor operates as it should.

Your technician may also carefully inspect the blower fan blades for any signs of damage and carry out repairs or replacement as needed.

Compressor Replacement

The compressor lies at the heart of your A/C system. Without it, it would be impossible to keep your home cool. However, it’s all too common for homeowners to restart their A/C systems during the spring, only to run into compressor issues that prevent effective cooling. To keep this from happening to you and your household, it’s important to have your technician inspect the A/C system and make repairs before the arrival of spring.

Evaporator Coil Maintenance

A dirty evaporator coil can cause a number of problems for your A/C system. For starters, dust, debris and mildew buildup can block airflow through the coil, preventing the A/C system from removing as much heat from your home as it normally does. Debris buildup can also cause condensation on the evaporator coil to freeze over, which can keep the A/C system from working.

To keep your A/C system in good shape, you should have it professionally cleaned prior to restarting it for the spring and summer. Your HVAC technician will have the tools and expertise needed to remove dirt and debris from the evaporator coil. Your technician may also inspect the coil for any signs of damage and make repairs as needed.

If your A/C system is in need of maintenance, visit the Lakeside Heating & A/C Inc. website and get in touch with us through our contact form.

7 Steps to Protect Your Outdoor A/C Unit During the Winter

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Your outdoor air conditioner was made to weather the sunny conditions of the spring and summer. But as temperatures begin to fall, your unit becomes vulnerable to freezing, impact damage, and clogs from seasonal debris.

Luckily, you can protect your unit through the winter until you need it again by taking the following seven steps.

1. Turn Off External Power

First, find the electrical circuit that powers your unit. The circuit is likely covered by a plastic or metal lid. Lift the lid and turn off the power switch.

This step prevents your unit from turning on until you power it back up. By turning off the external power, you prevent accidental startups on unseasonably warm days and reduce the risk of water getting into the unit and freezing there.

2. Wash Away Any Grime

Over the summer, your unit may gather grime and debris. Remove any larger debris, such as twigs and fallen leaves, by hand.

Then, clean the unit with a water hose using low water pressure. This step gets rid of bird droppings, dust, and other muck that can gum up your unit or even encourage corrosion during the winter months.

3. Let the Unit Dry Completely

Once you finish cleaning the unit, give it time to dry completely before taking any further steps. Placing insulation or a cover on the unit while it’s wet can lead to mildew and mold development over the winter.

4. Have the Unit Inspected

Once your unit is clean and dry, schedule a seasonal inspection. During this inspection, your HVAC technician can identify any existing problems and resolve them so the issues don’t have time to develop during the off-season.

If you have questions about your air conditioner model specifically, use this inspection as an opportunity to get your answers.

5. Insulate All Attachments

When you’re sure that the unit is ready for winter hibernation, begin protecting your unit by insulating all exposed exterior pipes that attach to the unit. Use cylindrical foam pipe covers to insulate each pipe from the cold.

You may wish to secure the pipe covers using duct tape or zip ties. This step simply ensures that the covers don’t fall off the pipes in high winds.

6. Cover the Unit

Decide whether or not you want to cover your unit completely. A high-quality waterproof cover can keep your unit dry, but it may also make your unit appealing to pests. A strong piece of plywood set on top of the unit minimizes damage from ice and snow but leaves the rest of the unit exposed.

Consider your climate and the recommendations of your HVAC contractor when deciding. If you often have snow pile up around the unit, opt for a full cover. If you’re more concerned about falling icicles, consider just a top cover.

7. Check the Unit Weekly

Once winter arrives, make weekly unit checks part of your household maintenance routine. During these checks, assess the condition and security of all insulating materials, including the cover if you decide to use one. Replace these safeguards if they become worn out or blow away.

Additionally, take this time to clear any obstructions around the unit or debris on top of the unit. Try to maintain at least 6 to 12 inches of clearance around your unit over the winter.

 

Take these steps to ensure your unit is intact and ready to run at the first spike in temperature next year.

To learn more about your air conditioning system, visit the Lakeside Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. central air page or speak with one of our experienced professionals today.

Boilers vs. Furnaces: Which Option Is Best for You?

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During Colorado winters, you need a functioning heater of some kind to stay not only comfortable but healthy too. To ensure you achieve those purposes, you make sure your home has a furnace, and you have professionals inspect that furnace regularly so it doesn’t fail when you least expect it. But did you know modern technology gives you other heater options in addition to furnaces?

Furnaces work well for just about everyone, but you might find that boilers make you more comfortable, depending on your preferences. Read below to learn more about boilers and how they work in comparison to furnaces.

Boilers Have Zero Flue Loss

Most heaters come with an AFUE rating, and the higher the rating, the higher the percentage of usable heat in your home. On the flipside, flue loss refers to the heat energy that gets lost in your ventilation or chimney. Boilers don’t need chimneys or ductwork, so they often heat your home more efficiently. They can have an AFUE rating of 90% or higher.

That being said, not all boilers have favorable ratings. Make sure you purchase your boiler from a quality manufacturer, and check the AFUE rating before you buy it.

Boilers Tend to Conserve Energy Better

A higher AFUE rating doesn’t just mean that your boiler creates more usable heat. That rating also means that your boiler uses energy more efficiently. Remember, boilers don’t need ductwork. They don’t rely on forced air to move heat throughout your home. Instead, they use steam, and the water ensures that the heating system conserves energy. You’ll save money on heating bills as a result.

Boilers Keep Your Home’s Air More Humid

As mentioned in the previous section, boilers use steam to conduct heat. By extension, boilers also keep the air in your home more humid. This humid air can ease breathing during the colder months—an important feature for people who suffer from respiratory infections and colds during this time. However, the added humidity also encourages mold growth, especially if you already live in a wet climate.

Because of these boiler side effects, don’t choose a boiler lightly. If you need more humid air, one of these heaters will serve you well. But if you have a sensitivity to mold, you might do better with a furnace.

Boilers Tend to Produce Less Noise

Boilers don’t need to blow air, especially if you use them in conjunction with a radiant heating system. Consequently, they won’t create as much noise, and they won’t disrupt your sleeping patterns at night or your concentration throughout the day.

Boilers Marry Well With Radiant Heating Systems

Radiant heating systems send hot water through pipes beneath your floor, leading to cozy toes and a more even and efficient heating system. You couldn’t have radiant heating without a boiler. But boilers can function without radiant heating. If you plan to add radiant heating as part of a future project, invest in a boiler now so you already have the beginnings of the system in place.

Boilers Help You Save Space—You Won’t Need a Separate Water Heater

When you have a furnace, you need a separate water heater. However, boilers can be both your heater and your water heater at once. This fact means that a boiler may serve you better if you have a smaller space.

Boilers Can Cost Much More Than Furnaces

Most of the time, boilers costs more than furnaces, which is why most homes come with a furnace instead. If you have a tight budget now, you might want to get a furnace instead. Modern furnaces are also energy efficient and often quiet, so you can find one that fits your needs if you can’t afford a boiler right away.

 

If you think a boiler fits your needs better than a furnace, give the HVAC experts at Lakeside Heating and Air Conditioning a call. They’ll help you find the best brands and the best configurations for your home. 

Selling Your Home? Don’t Turn Off Your HVAC System

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When you need to sell your home, you can expect a lot of expenses that will eat away at your profits. The cost of painting, cleaning, and staging your home will come out of your pocket. Additionally, you’ll need to cover real estate agent commissions, transfer tax, home warranties, and closing costs for the buyer.

Understandably, you may want to cut expenses wherever you can. In an attempt to save money, you may feel tempted to shut off all of your utilities, including your heating and cooling systems. After all, why waste money keeping a vacant home comfortable?

But before you call up your utility company, keep in mind that your efforts to save may cost you more in the long run. A few dollars now could save you thousands of dollars in repairs later.

Not convinced? Check out these key reasons for leaving your heating and cooling system on.

1. You Prevent Damage to Your Property

Your house may look safe and snug after you’ve closed all the windows and locked all the doors, but that doesn’t mean it will always stay in the same pristine condition.

Without an HVAC system to regulate your home’s temperature, your wooden flooring, trim, railings, shelves, and other features will suffer damage. High heat will draw moisture out of the wood, increasing the likelihood of cracks, gaps, and cupping. Low temperatures will drive water back into the wood, resulting in warping, buckling, and rot.

Additionally, other parts of your home won’t respond well to temperature shifts. Pipes could burst; door and window frames could shift. Without an air conditioner to remove excess humidity, mold could run rampant. These repairs could cost you thousands of dollars to fix, far more than you’d pay for heating and cooling. 

If you want to save money without damaging your home, adjust your thermostat settings according to the season. During the summer, set your thermostat to about 85 degrees. During the winter, set it to no lower than 50 degrees.

2. You Increase Buyer Comfort

Buyers want to feel comfortable the moment they step past the door. Essentially, they want to feel at home long before they can officially call the property their own.

As you show your home to buyers, you need to do everything you can to ensure their personal comfort. Your living room should look inviting, the kitchen should smell clean, and the bedroom should sound calming (no noisy neighbors or streets, if possible).

Unfortunately, if you turn off your heating and cooling system after you move out, you leave the buyer’s personal comfort in the hands of Mother Nature. While some days the weather may be to your advantage, most days will leave your guests sweating in the heat or shivering in the cold.

During showings, guests will want to immediately feel the warmth on the skin after a cold day in the snow, or they’ll appreciate the cool, crisp air after touring homes in the sun. As a general rule, you may want to try 72 degrees during the winter and 69 degrees in the summer, but feel free to adjust as needed.

3. You Help Appraisers and Inspectors

Most home contracts include a due diligence clause. Before closing on the home, buyers will need to do their part to ensure the home meets their expectations. Due diligence includes hiring a general inspector to assess the home’s overall condition and hiring more specialized professionals (plumbers, electricians, and HVAC technicians) to give complete reports on individual appliances and systems.

To complete due diligence, inspectors will need to check the home’s plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling. But if you’ve turned off your utilities, the inspector will have to wait to complete these services until after you’ve contacted your utility company. Your utility company may take a few days (or even a few weeks) to respond to your request for temporary power, and that delay could push back your final closing date.

Talk to a Technician About Extended Vacancies

If you anticipate your home standing empty for a few weeks or months, consider leaving your utilities on until the closing date. When you leave your heating and cooling systems on, you can prevent damage to your home and speed the selling process. 

However, if your home will remain vacant for more than six months, don’t forget to hire an HVAC technician to turn on, inspect, and repair your heating and cooling system before you show your home to buyers. Only a licensed professional can legally restore a disused HVAC system and make sure it’s up to code. 

The Advantages of Scheduling Regular Furnace Inspections

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You know that your furnace won’t stay in top condition without a little TLC. However, you also know that your heater doesn’t need that TLC every day or even every week. So how often should you have a professional take a look at your furnace? And what happens if you don’t schedule an inspection at least that often?

Below, you’ll find all you need to know about the benefits of getting regular furnace inspections, which should take place at least once a year, if not biannually. The small upfront costs will save you a lot of money in the long run and allow you to have more confidence in your heater when you need it most. Read on to learn more.

1. You Lower Your Utility Bills

As parts wear out and as dust and debris build up inside your furnace, the machine becomes increasingly inefficient. It has to work harder and harder to heat your house and keep it warm and comfortable, and it uses more energy as a result. And the more energy your furnace has to use, the higher your utility bills rise.

This rise doesn’t happen all at once. It happens gradually over months or years, so you might not notice it at first. But if you notice that you’ve begun to spend more on power than you did before, and you can’t think of an explanation, check your furnace. Or, better yet, schedule regular inspections so your HVAC professionals can nip energy efficiency in the bud.

2. You Improve Your Furnace’s Safety

Again, when parts wear out in your furnace, or when debris starts to coat heating elements or vents, your furnace becomes less safe to use. Broken parts may lead to a malfunction, and blocked heating elements could lead to a fire if the problem gets out of hand.

If you have regular furnace inspections, however, then you can catch these issues before they turn into disasters. You’ll keep your furnace and your home safe.

3. Your Furnace Won’t Need as Many Repairs in the Future

Just as you keep your furnace safer when you catch problems sooner, you spend less money on repairs if you catch them while they’re small. You’ll also prevent future repairs—after all, when one part wears out, it can make other parts around it wear out as well, so you’ll need multiple repairs to make the machine run smoothly again.

With inspections, you catch problems sooner, leading to lower expenses and fewer future repairs.

4. Your Furnace Will Last Longer

Again, when one part wears out, the parts around it have to work harder, so they wear out faster as well. Your entire furnace could wear out faster because of a small problem. So, schedule regular inspections to catch these problems before they affect your entire furnace. You’ll replace your heater less often as a result.

5. You’ll Improve Airflow Throughout Your Home

Does your home have cool or hot spots? Those spots could occur because of a faulty blower or partially blocked vents. Regular inspections allow you to catch these problems so you can have a uniformly comfortable home.

6. You’ll Save Energy and Save the Planet

When you make your furnace more energy efficient, you simultaneously release fewer emissions and use up fewer resources. So, when you schedule regular heater inspections, you contribute to making our planet a better place.

 

Regular inspections might not seem important, but you’ll reap all the benefits listed above if you schedule them. So don’t wait, and don’t risk your furnace, your wallet, or your home. Call your preferred HVAC experts and save the date for your next inspection. 

5 Ways to Optimize Your Evaporative Cooler’s Performance

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In the high and dry Colorado climate, many homeowners choose to use an evaporative cooler rather than install a new central air system.

An evaporative cooler, sometimes colloquially known as a “swamp cooler,” reduces your home’s temperature by drawing air through specialized pads. As the air passes through the damp pads, its temperature decreases. Then, the system distributes this air into your home.

While evaporative coolers can work well in our climate, you may find yourself struggling to cool your home as the temperatures climb. In this blog, we provide five tips to help you maximize your unit’s performance.

1. Choose the Right Time of Day

Your evaporative cooler relies on significant temperature differences between your cooling pads, water, and the outdoor air to create a cooling effect. Run your unit during the warmest time of day to get the best results.

Additionally, pay attention to the humidity. Your cooler will not work effectively if the humidity reaches higher than 50%. So on rainy days, use your ceiling fans instead.

2. Clean and Replace Cooling Pads As Needed

Your unit’s cooling pads must work correctly for the unit to produce any cool air. For this reason, it’s important to keep the pads clean and intact. You should replace your cooler pads at least once a year at the end of summer.

When you clean your unit, rinse off any debris that may be blocking airflow through the pads as well.

3. Keep Your Unit Clean

Because evaporative coolers use water to run, they can become dirty quickly. If you notice a change in your unit’s performance, it may be time to clean. Take the pads out and look at the unit’s frame. Scrub with a wire brush to clear away any scale or debris.

Clean your unit at least twice a year, once before you turn it on for the first time and once at the end of the season. Additionally, have your unit serviced by a professional at least once a year to reduce the risk of electrical issues.

4. Maintain the Correct Water Level

For ideal performance, your cooling pads must be damp, not wet or dry. Check your water level every few weeks during the summer. In most coolers, your tank should continuously hold around three inches of water.

To determine your unit’s optimum water level, consult your user manual, any markings inside the tank, or a heating and cooling technician.

5. Run the Unit Smarter Instead of Harder

Older evaporative coolers have two switches: one for the pump and one for the fan. If you have two switches, don’t turn on the fan until you’ve run the pump for a few minutes. This step gives your unit time to saturate the cooling pads.

To reduce the amount of time you need to spend checking on your unit, consider installing a thermostat. An evaporative cooler thermostat automatically detects when your home reaches the correct temperature and turns off the unit. This automatic switch prevents your cooler from blowing warm air as the conditions change inside or outside your home.

 

Use these tips to help your unit work more effectively and more efficiently throughout the summer months.

If none of these tips seem to increase the amount of cool air produced by your evaporative cooler, schedule a professional inspection. Your unit may have an electrical or pump system malfunction. Or, it may be time to upgrade to a unit better suited to your home’s needs, whether that means a higher capacity evaporative cooler or a central air system.

To consult with professionals who understand the capacity of evaporative coolers and how to improve them, work with Lakeside Heating & Air Conditioning.

8 Ways to Improve Your AC Unit’s Efficiency

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Summer is here and you may already have noticed your energy bill rising right along with the temperature. You try to hold off on turning on your A/C, but you just can’t handle the heat anymore. There has to be a way to keep that energy bill low, though, without having to suffer through the heat, right?

This blog goes through eight of the most effective ways to improve your A/C’s efficiency and keep your energy bills low.

1. Call in a Professional

Before turning on the A/C for the first time this season, call in an HVAC professional. A professional should inspect your A/C unit on a yearly basis. The technician can take a look at the unit’s coolant levels, wipe down the coils, and check the airflow to eliminate common issues which affect unit efficiency.

2. Replace Air Filters

Typically you should replace your air filters once a month, depending on how quickly they get dirty. You should at least check them monthly and replace them as needed. Dust and allergens that get filtered out can clog up the filters and force your A/C to work that much harder to keep things cool.

3. Keep the Unit in Shade

One of the simplest ways to keep your A/C unit’s efficiency high is by making sure the outdoor portion of the unit stays in the shade. When the air around the unit stays cooler, the unit doesn’t have to work so hard to achieve the desired temperature. Plant tall grasses by the unit or place it on the side of the house that gets the least sun.

4. Place the Thermostat Wisely

Like keeping the unit itself in the shade, the thermostat should be placed in a cooler spot as well. If the thermostat sits right behind the television, next to the lamp, or in the kitchen, it will sense the heat coming from the appliances. The thermostat then believes the entire house is that temperature and keeps the air running longer than necessary.

5. Turn it Off When No One’s Home

When everyone’s gone at work or school, don’t keep the air running in an empty house. If needed, install a programmable thermostat so you can identify the hours your air needs to be running and the hours it should be off so you don’t have to remember on your way out the door.

6. Use Ceiling Fans

If your house has ceiling fans, run them. Ceiling fans use significantly less energy than your air conditioner, and they keep the air moving so rooms don’t get too stuffy. You can even switch the ceiling fans to run counterclockwise which will push cool air down.

7. Weatherize the House

Far too often, there are little gaps in your house that let the cool air from the A/C outside. Check the seams around all the windows and outside doors and use caulking and weather stripping to seal up leaks. Insulate the ducts of the A/C system as well. Make sure your home is air tight.

8. Replace the Unit With a Newer Model

If your A/C unit is older, it might be time to go ahead and replace it. Newer, more efficient models come out regularly and are all guaranteed to last you a good long while. Pay attention to the SEER rating (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) and remember that the Department of Energy sets the minimum rating at 13.

Set an appointment with an HVAC professional today to get your unit inspected. Ask this professional what he would recommend to make the unit more efficient and when you should replace it. Don’t spend all your savings on keeping your house comfortable this summer—simply follow these tips.

Is It Time to Replace Your AC Unit?

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Most homeowners know when their air conditioning unit needs repairs, especially during the hot, summer months. The signs are simple, the unit stops heating your home effectively.  However, many homeowners question when their air conditioner is beyond repair and needs to be replaced. Like most home appliances, air conditioners have limited service lives and will eventually require replacement.     

Here are some questions that can help you determine when it’s time to replace your air conditioning unit.

Is the AC Unit Producing Cool Air?

When a broken air conditioner is beyond repair, it will no longer produce cold air. If you set your air conditioner to its full capacity and still can’t feel cold air, replace the unit. Air conditioners that no longer produce cold air likely have a broken compressor or low Freon levels. Typically, these issues can’t be resolved with simple repairs and require the homeowner to replace the air conditioning unit.

Can You Feel a Steady Flow of Air Coming From the AC Vents?

Air conditioners that don’t produce a steady flow of air may have debris obstructing the ventilation system. If left untreated, the debris may damage your air conditioning system and require you to replace the unit. Debris can also become a health hazard for you and your family.

Reduced air flow from an AC unit can also be a sign of a failing AC compressor, which often requires replacing the entire unit as well.

Have You Noticed Your Home is More Humid When the AC is Running?

You may have the wrong size of air conditioner in your home if your house feels humid when the AC is running. Pay attention to the humidity levels in your home during the summer. If you notice high humidity levels, you may need to replace your air conditioning unit.

Have You Recently Noticed an Increase of Dust in Your Home?

Your air conditioner should filter out harmful particles and dust from inside your house. If you notice more dust throughout your home than normal, your AC system may have a leak in the ductwork or need replacement.

Are You Paying More Money on Your Energy Bill This Year Compared with Last Year?

Outdated air conditioners often use more energy than newer units. Older units also tend to get progressively less efficient over time.

 If possible, check your electric bills from past summers to compare energy costs. If you notice your utility bills are higher now compared with last year, you should consider updating your AC system. High-energy bills may be a result of the air conditioner taking longer to cool your home or leaks in your ductwork.

Have You Noticed Moisture Near Your AC Unit?

Moisture near your air conditioner doesn’t always mean you need to replace the unit. The water could mean a drain tube in your AC unit is broken or blocked. Often, an AC technician can easily replace the tube without having to replace the unit.

However, water near your AC unit could also be a leak in the refrigerant container. Damaged refrigerant containers can cause health risks and may require you to replace your AC unit.

Call an AC technician immediately if you see water near your air conditioner. Even small leaks can lead to serious water damages in your home.

Has It Been More than 15 Years Since You Replaced Your AC Unit?

The National Association of Home Builders recommends replacing air conditioning systems every 10-15 years. Your AC system may last longer than 15 years if you stay up-to-date with regular maintenance. However, even if your AC unit runs smoothly after the expected service life, you may want to replace the unit with a more efficient model.

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, call an AC technician. Your AC professional can help you determine when your system is beyond repair and requires replacement.   

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Lakeside Heating & Air Conditioning
6260 West 52nd Ave Unit 116
Arvada, CO 80002
Phone: 303-421-3572
Fax: 303-463-8837
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