Sometimes, AC misunderstandings harm your wallet when they result in the need for AC repairs. Other times, these misunderstandings simply make your unit work harder and thus consume more energy, which increases your electricity bill. Here are some common heating and cooling misunderstandings that could be hurting your bank account.
Thinking You Can Close Registers to Control Temperature
While the registers that distribute heated and cooled air through your home may be closeable, that doesn’t mean you should close them if you think the room has gotten enough air (warm or cool).
Closing vents doesn’t alert the system that you want less treated air, it just blocks the airflow. This means it makes the unit work harder and may even result in increased energy use and wear and tear.
The same goes for rooms that aren’t currently in use. Closing the registers doesn’t mean the AC system won’t try to cool the room. It just means the AC will be wasting energy trying to push the cooled air through a closed vent. It also increases pressure in the ducts so any air leaks in the duct will leak even more cooled air.
Thinking Annual Maintenance Is All the Care Your AC Needs
Since professional maintenance is only recommended annually, you might assume that your AC system doesn’t need maintenance more often than that. However, there are several things your unit relies on throughout the year.
Your outdoor unit may collect leaves and other debris in the condenser coil throughout the summer. If this debris isn’t removed, it can make the coil work much harder to put the excess heat into the outdoor air after pulling it out of your home. You should check the outdoor unit every month or two and see if it looks like it needs to be brushed or vacuumed off.
Another maintenance issue you need to pay attention to is landscaping. If you’re not careful, grass and weeds may easily choke the unit until it can’t get the air it needs to dispel the removed heat from inside your house. This can be a huge issue that can cause overheating or inefficiency.
Assuming It’s Not a Big Deal to Ignore the Air Filter
Some homeowners may be under the impression that because the HVAC technician changes the filter at maintenance visits that means it doesn’t need to be changed the rest of the time. However, an AC filter really needs to be changed much more often than once per year if you don’t want to lose efficiency and pay more in energy and even repair costs.
A clogged filter doesn’t just lower indoor air quality, it also allows dust to get on the inside of the AC system, meaning it can wear out faster. The blockage reduces airflow as well. This can make the system work less efficiently, meaning you have to pay more on your energy bills. It can even cause overheating or make the AC coils freeze up, requiring emergency repairs.
Typically, AC filters should be replaced every three months, but some people need to change them even more often than that. For example, if you have pets, the hair and shed skin cells can greatly increase the number of pollutants that end up in the filter, meaning it needs to be changed every two. And if you have allergies, you may need monthly changes or even more.
Replacing the filter yourself also gives you the opportunity to choose the brand and filter features you want.
These are three mistakes you can make with your HVAC system that can put a strain on your budget by making your heating and cooling more expensive. For more ideas on how to cut costs, help your HVAC system work efficiently, and use maintenance to avoid repairs, contact Lakeside Heating & Air Conditioning to schedule a maintenance visit.