Wednesday, May 15, 2019

FAQs about Air Conditioning

As it begins to warm up at the Lake of the Ozarks, we tend to rely more on our air conditioning units.  Air conditioning may arguably be one of the greatest inventions of all time, as there's nothing better than walking into a cool room after being outside on a hot summer day. For someone who's not familiar with AC systems aside from their wonderful cooling properties, you might have some questions. Royal Heating & Air, the best air conditioning company at the Lake of the Ozarks, is here to answer some frequently asked questions about air conditioning.

How Does an Air Conditioner Work? 

An air conditioner makes your home cooler by absorbing heat energy from inside the home and transferring that heat outside, then replacing the air inside your home with cooler air.  Air conditioners work by using a refrigerant that absorbs and discharges that heat inside your building.  Warm air moves across the unit’s evaporator coils. Then the refrigerant in the coils absorbs the air's heat and "cools" the air. The refrigerant turns from a cool liquid into a hot gas that is transferred to the outside unit, where it is compressed and condensed back into liquid form. The hot air is released outdoors and then the refrigerant travels back to the indoor unit to continue the cooling process.  This process continues again and again until your home reaches the cooling temperature you want, as programmed and sensed by your thermostat setting.

How Often Should I Have My Air Conditioning Serviced? 

Depending on your AC system, it should be serviced a minimum of once a year.  For a residential AC system, it is recommended that you have your AC serviced 1-2 times a year.  It is highly recommended that you have your AC system serviced in the spring of every year, before the hot temperatures of summer hit.  For places where the air contains high levels of contaminants, such as kitchens or hair salons, you may consider additional service to make sure that your unit stays in great shape all year long.  It should be noted that professional maintenance is important, as it goes beyond what a typical home or business owner is equipped to deal with.  Having a professional HVAC company check out your air conditioning unit will help catch problems while they are still able to be fixed.  This could save you quite a bit of money, as you are less likely to have to replace your entire unit if you continue to keep it regularly maintained.

Why Should I Have my AC System Serviced Regularly?

Routine maintenance on your AC system keeps your unit running at maximum efficiency. This can significantly extend the lifetime of your unit and reduce your operating costs. Overall, you will save money and energy by having your AC system regularly serviced by a professional.  In addition, if your system is under warranty, routine maintenance is often required to keep that warranty.

How Do I Maximize my AC’s Energy Efficiency?

Having your AC system regularly serviced by a professional HVAC company will keep your unit running at optimum efficiency.  Changing your filters regularly and investing in a smart thermostat can also help to maximize your AC system’s energy efficiency.  Take a look at our blog from last week to learn more about ways to save energy when cooling your home.

How Often Should I Change My AC Filter?

The single most important thing you can do to maintain your AC system is to replace the filter regularly.  The number of people and pets living in your home, and how frequently you run your air conditioning, will affect how often you need to change your filter.  As a good rule of thumb, it is recommended that you change your air filter at least once every six months in order to help extend the life of your system and changing your filter every three months is even better.  You should also check your air filter every month to make sure it is still clean and does not need to be replaced.  If your filter becomes discolored or appears plugged with dust, dirt, hair, and other impurities, it is time to change that filter.  Some higher efficiency filters can last up to three months, but it's still a good idea to check them at least once a month, especially in times when you are using your AC more often, like in the summer.  All the air in your home circulates and re-circulates through the same filter. An air filter is designed to remove dust particles to keep the air you breathe clean, and when your filters become clogged, it can cause your system to work less efficiently, which will cost you more to operate. If the filter is left unchanged for too long, your system could fail.

Why Is There Water Leaking Around my Indoor AC Unit?

There are several reasons why an AC unit could be leaking water.  Indoor AC units do double duty, removing both heat and moisture from the air in one step.   Condensation occurs naturally on the coils and should fall into a drip pan that is then drained away or pumped outside. However, on occasion, the drain line from the pan may become plugged.  If excess water is finding its way into your home, that condensate is likely not being drained away properly.  The most common reason is that dirt and grime clog up the drainage system.  Another issue could be that the pump is broken, in which case that would need to be replaced. If cleaning your coils doesn't fix the issue, it is time to call in a professional HVAC repair technician at the Lake of the Ozarks to determine and resolve the issue.

How Long Does the Average HVAC System Last?

On average, most HVAC systems will last anywhere from 10-20 years. As your unit starts to age though, the efficiency can decrease. Your unit may get louder and require more frequent maintenance and repairs. When this happens, you'll need to make the decision to continue repairing it or invest in a new HVAC system.

What Are Some Signs My AC Unit Needs to be Replaced?  

If your AC unit has hit its 10-year birthday, or even made it past that, it may be time to look at replacing your unit. The efficiency of your unit may have decreased significantly over time. Start tracking how often and how much you spend on repairs. If you notice your repairs are adding up, it may be time to replace the entire unit.  An older unit that is showing signs of trouble and needs frequent repairs, that cools poorly, or suddenly creates much higher energy bills than in years past is probably ready to be replaced.  While it may seem like a big investment now, it can save you money in both repair costs and energy costs over time. Find a trusted Lake of the Ozarks AC company to schedule a consultation for an estimate on a new system. Do the math and see what the best option is for you at the time.

Contact Royal Heating & Air with All Your HVAC Questions!

If you have other questions about your AC unit, don't hesitate to reach out to us at 573-480-4313. Royal Heating & Air is your full-service, locally owned and operated HVAC company at the Lake of the Ozarks. From installation to preventative maintenance, we've got all your HVAC needs covered!

Royal Heating & Air - "The King of Comfort"

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