How Does My Air Conditioning System Work? (Part 2)

So now you know how an Air Conditioner system works, after reading Part 1 last time. But your most important question remains unanswered. What’s that? How does this help me?

Understanding how your cooling system works will help you in two ways: 1) You will understand why regular maintenance is a necessity, not just a luxury; and 2) You will know how to get the most out of every penny you spend in energy costs.

Air Conditioner maintenance 

s you’ll recall from Part 1, your cooling system relies on good airflow in order to work properly. In your home, the air is pulled through a coil to cool down the air. This also means that the dust, lint and hair floating around in the air are also pulled into the coil, which could completely clog it up in a few months. That’s where your air filter comes in. Regularly replacing the air filter, which protects the coil, is essential to keeping good airflow through the indoor unit. It should be replaced monthly, but might last up to three months. However, please don’t wait until it looks black and dirty. That would be like waiting until you get severe hunger pains before deciding to eat. If you try to save money by skimping on air filters, you will lose much more money on increased energy usage. To read one of our previous posts about air filters click here

Even the outdoor unit needs good airflow. Over time it may get clogged up with grass clippings, dirt and leaves. Cleaning the coil on the outdoor unit before each cooling season is essential to maintaining good airflow and keeping energy usage down. But please don’t try to do this yourself. It may be tempting to just pull out your garden hose and blast away all the debris you see, but that could do more harm than good. The coil is very delicate and attempting to clean it without proper training will likely damage it.

Lastly, since your air conditioning system depends on refrigerant to keep your house cool, it is important that the refrigerant level be correct. Ideally a system should never lose refrigerant. But we don’t live in an ideal world. Imperfections happen in the manufacturing plant, or the lawn mower might run into the outdoor unit, loosening a fitting.

It will be worth it to you to call a reputable service company to check out and clean your entire system before each cooling season. We can help you with this. We perform system tune-up and safety checks and we guarantee 100% satisfaction on our work. So please call us at (310) 651-6936 or use our online request form to schedule an appointment.

So, what about getting the most out of what you spend on energy costs?

Air Conditioner usage tips

Do you remember from Part 1 that we mentioned your cooling system is also removing moisture from the air? The more moisture in the air, the harder it has to work to cool down your home. How does knowing that help you? Well, on a cool summer evening you may be tempted to open the windows and let in some cool air, thinking this will save on energy. But you may be adding to your energy costs. How?

The temperature outside is not the only thing to consider. You also need to think about the humidity outside. If it is cool, but humid, then that moist air will come in through the windows and fill the house. Then the next day when it starts getting hot again, you’re going to close the windows and turn on the AC. But now your cooling system is burdened with all that moisture.

Most summer nights you will be better off not relying on the cool air outside. You may think you are saving money, but in the end will be spending more. If you want fresh air without adding to the load on your AC then we recommend an Energy Recover Ventilator. We’ll have more on that later.

Lastly, the most important usage tip to save money is: Maintain your system! Regularly replacing your air filter, a simple and inexpensive step, is one of the best ways to keep your monthly bills down, not to mention avoid expensive, unnecessary repairs. Maintenance may sound like a dirty word, but you owe it to yourself and your family to keep your cooling system running at its best.

Do you have a question about any of this? Visit our Ask an Expert page and ask away!

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