Keeping your air conditioning system working efficiently means you get your home cool without expending needless energy. Left on its own, every AC unit experiences degrading efficiency over time. Here are some signals that let you know your equipment is operating less efficiently than designed.
Less Air Coming From Your Vents
Pay attention to the amount of air coming from your vents. This is easy to do if you simply stand in front of floor vents with bare feet. There’s no need for special equipment.
If you find that the air feels fainter coming from your vents than you’re used to, you might have an efficiency problem. This lack of airflow comes from an airflow restriction somewhere in your system. Your air filter may be clogged, or contaminants could be clogging your evaporator coil or circulating fan.
Lack of HVAC Maintenance
Your cooling system needs routine maintenance every year to keep it operating at its designed efficiency. Neglecting this maintenance allows airborne contaminants to collect on components throughout your unit, restricting airflow and inhibiting the heat transfer from the circulating air to the refrigerant.
It also means you may have components operating less optimally. Less-than-ideal working condition slowly erodes away at the system’s efficiency, driving up your operational costs.
Increased Energy Bills
Keep an eye on the amount of energy you consume each month compared to the same month the previous year. Without major changes in your house’s appliances or significantly different weather, a spike in consumption indicates degrading efficiency.
Your energy consumption climbs as your efficiency declines because your cooling system runs longer cycles. Depending on the efficiency problem, the unit may also be consuming more watts per hour due to increased electrical resistance.
Noises are a major indicator that something is wrong in your AC unit, including problems that degrade your efficiency. Screeching indicates an issue with one of your fan motors, which inhibits proper airflow.
Buzzing, clanging, banging, or squealing from your condensing unit may indicate a problem with your compressor. If it can’t effectively regulate the refrigerant pressure, the refrigerant can’t transfer heat properly.
Debris Around Your Condensing Unit
In order to vent the heat your refrigerant absorbed from inside, your condensing unit must also draw air through its coil. If it can’t do so, the refrigerant going back into your evaporator coil is too warm and will absorb less.
The most common culprit for airflow restrictions around your condensing coil is debris against the outside of the unit. This may be overgrown grass or grass clippings, weeds climbing the unit, or even leaves. It could also be branches from trees, shrubs, or bushes near the unit.
Keep at least a 1-foot clearance around and above your condensing unit. Trim back your trees and bushes to give at least that minimal clearance. Also exercise caution building any kind of housing for your unit that may inhibit air movement.
Dirty Air Filters
Your air filters are the most regular part of maintaining your HVAC system. When you find a dirty air filter, you know that air has not been drawing into your system effectively. The sooner you find a dirty filter, the less effect it will have on your system.
To find clogged filters early, we recommend checking it monthly although it will not need changing that frequently. Gently vacuum the dirty side of the filter to help extend its useful life and to further maintain efficiency. The common 1-inch filter will need replacing about every 90 days, depending on your indoor air quality.
Frozen Condensing Unit or Refrigerant Lines
If you notice that your condensing unit has frozen, you’ll have had a substantial efficiency problem for a while. Frozen systems commonly happen because of low refrigerant, leading to low pressure in inappropriate areas of the unit. They may also be caused by malfunctioning components, like a burned-out compressor.
A frozen system has several components of lowering the overall efficiency. First, the cause of the freeze often means the unit is cycling longer and producing warmer air. Second, it creates an insulating effect on the frozen coil and an airflow restriction. These events together prevent air from flowing through the coil to transfer the heat from the refrigerant.
Controlled Climate Services is the trusted name in air conditioning service in Kennesaw. Our team provides friendly and expert heating and cooling installation, maintenance, and repair as well as indoor air quality solutions. Call to schedule your air conditioning service with one of our NATE-certified technicians today.