Air conditioning is a basic yet vital part of our homes. It provides us with warmth during the cold winter, and alternately, the coolness to ease us from the hot and humid summer season.
As practical individuals, making the most out of the situation is one of our main concerns. In this article, we will discuss the top ten important things every consumer ought to know about air conditioning.
What is Air Conditioning?
Before we dive into the important facts about air conditioning, let us first briefly define what it really is.
Air conditioning is the process of treating the air by eliminating heat and moisture from the inside of a typically enclosed space. On the other hand, an air conditioner, or also called as AC in short, is an electronic appliance that alters the temperature of the air via a refrigeration cycle.
Now, onto the interesting information about the AC.
1. AC must have a clean filter.
An aircon filter is primarily used to filter out contaminants such as dust, smoke, mold, pollen, and other solid particles that may potentially cause soiling of the internal parts. That being said, it is necessary to maintain its integrity regularly to ensure the AC unit is continuously delivering better air quality.
Here is the ideal frequency of filter change or cleaning.
|2-inch filters||Every 2 months|
|4 to 5-inch filters||Every 6 to 12 months|
The figures stated above represents the “ideal” frequency. However, there may be instances that would require owners to clean or change filters more often than the suggested period. Example situations include – infrequently cleaned carpets, owning multiple pets, residing near a dusty road, construction sites, and other locations predisposed to contaminants.
2. Keep the AC condenser coil clean.
A condenser coil is a component than often appears spiny or like a radiator fin. It is responsible for removing the heat out of the room and replacing it instead with cooled air. On that note, leaving it unclean will result in a less cool air output thus promotes wastage of energy.
In order to maintain the efficiency of its performance, it is likewise important to prevent dust, dirt and other debris from accumulating. To clean, you may simply use a hose with a spray nozzle to rinse out the dirt starting from top to bottom until all area is covered and cleared.
3. Avoid setting the thermostat too low in hopes of cooling the room faster.
Most people believe that the lower the number, the faster the room becomes colder. This is probably one of the most common misconceptions a lot of us think when using an air conditioner. Apparently, this is not entirely correct.
Initially setting your thermostat at a low number doesn’t necessarily mean it can accelerate the cooling of the room temperature. We must understand that the AC system works by cooling the air by 15 to 20 degrees one batch at a time.
So, for example, the indoor air temperature is 85°F. The AC then takes in a batch of indoor air and reduces its heat by 15 to 20°F before it gets released back into the room. Since the room is still filled with a mixture of both the 85°F-indoor air and newly airconditioned air, it may take some time for the room temperature to stabilize and achieve the desired level of coolness.
Furthermore, lowering your room temperature below 72°F can significantly increase your energy consumption and electricity bill subsequently.
4. Avoid any obstruction in the outdoor unit of your AC.
Technically, air blows out of the air conditioner’s outdoor unit. Hence, it is necessary to keep its immediate surroundings free from any obstructions. Anything that can hinder the air from blowing out freely may cause the performance and efficiency of the AC to be compromised.
Examples of objects that potentially cause airflow obstruction may include the following: bush, tree, sunshade, parallel wall, fence, canopy, and other similar structures.
5. Check for water leaks.
If you happen to notice your AC outdoor unit is leaking with water, it is important to understand that minimal water leaks from time to time are normal. Nevertheless, you should also be able to determine when does it become an issue already.
So, how much water leak is considered as problematic?
Normally, your AC leaks water due to condensation. It is typically produced depending on the thermostat setting and the outdoor temperature. The quantity of water is enough to create a small puddle that easily dissipates during hot days.
However, when the leaking becomes persistent all throughout the day for several successive days already, then it is best to contact a professional AC contractor for further assessment and repair.
In this case, there are several possible reasons causing the leak.
- The air filter needs cleaning or replacement.
- The condensate pan is damaged.
- The drain pipe is blocked.
- Insufficient level of refrigerant.
- Extremely cold outdoor temperature.
- Improper installation of the AC unit system.
6. Maintain sufficient levels of freon.
Freon is a critical component of your air conditioning system. Its main purpose is to act as the refrigerant or coolant. Hence, allows your AC to basically produce cool air.
It is also crucial to maintain a proper level of freon at all times because it helps to release the internal heat and ensure the optimum functioning of the AC unit.
Nevertheless, it is not a requirement to add freon every year. This will only be mandatory if there is an incidence of leaking thus the level depletion.
There are a few quick ways to check if the unit is leaking freon.
- A fairly audible bubbling or hissing sound from the refrigerant line.
- The vents are not blowing cool air as it used to be.
- The evaporator coils get frozen.
- Unusually high electricity bill.
7. Check the integrity of the AC ducts.
Sometimes, when you feel that the room temperature is not as cool as it used to despite a well-functioning air conditioner, then it is probably because of the poor integrity of the AC ducts outside the cooled space.
The AC ducts are the passageway or the conduits wherein the air flows to and fro between the air conditioner unit and the room. The presence of holes, cracks or any obstructions along the duct may cause the cooled air to leak out. Thus, the intended room temperature within the space is diminished.
In order to avoid wasting energy and improve its efficiency, it is important to check the condition of the AC ducts every now and then. It must be regularly cleaned, kept sealed and well-insulated.
8. Reduce heat sources.
Technically, the more we expose our home to heat, the more energy will be required to maintain a comfortably cooled room temperature.
While it is ideal to let in natural sunlight into our homes, the sun rays can consequently raise the indoor temperature as well most especially during the hot summer months. To help deter heat from entering the room, you may opt to invest in good quality blinds and curtains, preferably the blackout type.
Furthermore, the usual house chores such as cooking and baking can greatly affect the surrounding temperature too. Thus, an exhaust vent can be used while doing such activities to help extract heat and smoke out of the room.
In addition, the usage of certain appliances like televisions and lamps are also known to emit heat. Hence, it is best to place them away from the air conditioner’s thermostat to avoid altering the temperature reading.
9. Use fans strategically.
Air conditioning is not just limited to the use of an air conditioner. A simple fan can also help promote good ventilation and create conducive indoor temperature, especially on mildly hot days.
To increase efficiency, strategically position your electric fans near opened windows. This will encourage the cross-breeze of natural air across the room. As one fan draws in fresh air from the outside, the other fan blows the hot indoor air out towards another window.
10. Reduce the energy load.
Another effective way to ensure efficient use of energy and promote favorable indoor temperature is by wisely reducing your home’s internal load. In this manner, more energy is likely conserved, thus electricity bills are kept at a minimal cost as possible.
Below are simple yet practical ways to lessen the energy load.
- Turn off the lights and/or ceiling fan when leaving the room or when no one is around.
- Turning off, or better yet, unplugging unused appliances and devices.
- Use exhaust fans to remove heat and moisture in the kitchen and bathroom.
- Proper scheduling of the usage of appliances.
- If one must buy or replace an appliance, choose an Energy Star-certified equipment or anything with a similar efficiency rating.
The helpful tips mentioned above are just a few of the effective yet sensible methods to keep our indoor room temperatures at a comfortable level without spending that extra cash. These simple techniques are most often neglected by consumers. Hence, it is necessary to reiterate the importance of this basic knowledge. Not only will this help you conserve energy and save money, but also, this will help extend the lifespan of the air conditioners you invested in.