Air conditioner efficiency is of the utmost importance because an inefficient unit will not only cost you more in utility bills but also might be emitting toxic chemicals into your home. It’s important to know how to determine if your AC is running efficiently, so you can either fix it or get rid of it. Here are ways to tell if your air conditioner is running as efficiently.
1. Check the Energy Guide Label on Your AC
The label will tell you the SEER rating. SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, is an efficiency rating that indicates how efficient your air conditioning unit is. A high SEER means a more efficient unit and a lower energy bill. Look for a SEER rating of at least 14 or higher. The higher the number, the more efficient your air conditioning is.
2. Check the Refrigerant Charge and Pressure in the Unit
You can do this by calling a professional HVAC inspector to check it for you, or you can purchase an inexpensive gauge for about $20 at any hardware store. If you find the refrigerant high, it is safe to assume that your unit is not running efficiently. How much excess refrigerant you have will be determined by the efficiency of your air conditioner, not how well it was installed or maintained. If you’re unsure if it’s high enough, call a professional HVAC installer to check.
3. Check the Condenser Fan Motor Speed Setting
This should be set to “AUTO.” If this has been set to some other speed, your AC cannot turn itself off and on according to the room’s needs. As a result, your AC will have to be overworked and will not run as efficiently. This is a good way to tell if your AC runs as efficiently as possible.
4. Find the Highest Indoor Temperature in Your House
Estimate the indoor temperatures for when you turn on your AC unit and about one hour later when it’s turned off. Add these two temperatures together to get a “worst-case” scenario for when you’re using your AC unit fully. For instance, let’s say in the summer you run your AC unit for about 2 hours on maximum fan speed, but let’s also say that at this time, your bedroom is at 79 degrees. That means it would be 80 degrees in that room when the AC runs. Thus, the “worst-case” would be 80 + 79 = 169 degrees, which is probably not what you want to be cooling down.
5. Check the Evaporator Fan Motor for Proper Operation
This fan should be set to “AUTO” as well. If it is at a different speed, then it cannot turn itself on and off according to the room’s needs. As a result, your AC will have to be overworked and will not run as efficiently. For example, if your unit is not set to “AUTO,” it will run continuously, and if the room is hot, it will work hard to cool down the room and turn on later to cool down the room, possibly causing it to run for a long time. If you have a problem with this fan running continuously, then you should look for another AC that does not have this problem.
6. Check the Defrost Timer for Proper Operation
The defrost timer should turn off your compressor during the defrost cycle unless you live in a humid climate. You can tell by checking if your coils are frosted or if you see ice on them. When your coils are iced over, the AC is freezing rather than cooling, and as such, it is not running efficiently. For instance, if you are cooling a room at 80 degrees and the coils are frozen, that AC is not running efficiently.
7. Check the Thermostat for Proper Operation
The thermostat should turn your unit off when the internal temperature is high enough and allow your unit to run as long as necessary to maintain the internal temperature of 85 degrees or higher. If not, you will have to keep calling for heat until it does what it’s supposed to do. For example, if the unit does not turn off your AC and it is running at 100 degrees, it will not be able to cool off that room because the thermostat won’t allow it to do so.
8. Check the Suction and Discharge Ports for Any Obstructions or Leaks
Use your vacuum cleaner with soft bristles to remove dirt and debris from the suction port, making sure not to touch any electrical connections outside the unit. The same can be done for the discharge port, but remember that this could cause serious damage to both your unit and yourself.
9. Check the Air Filters for Clogs, Contamination, and General Condition
Make sure your air filters are clean and checked regularly. Dirty or clogged filters will reduce your AC’s efficiency as it has to work harder to filter the air out of your home. If you have a problem with your unit not properly cooling down the room, then one of the first things you should check is the filter since it isn’t doing its job.
With these steps that were suggested by a local company that does AC repair services in San Antonio, you can tell if your AC is running efficiently. If you have a problem with your AC not running efficiently, don’t wait any longer. Call an HVAC company as soon as possible! The longer you wait, the less efficient your HVAC unit will get, and the higher your energy bills will be.
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