Tips

save-electricityAir Conditioning & Heating Tips

(Source: National Association of Realtors®)

  • Make sure there’s at least two feet of clearance around outdoor air conditioning units and heat pumps.
  • During spring, summer, and fall, make a weekly habit of removing debris such as leaves, pollen, and twigs from the top and sides of outdoor air-conditioning units and heat pumps. Take care to keep the lawn mower from discharging grass clippings onto the unit.
  • Inspect insulation on refrigerant lines leading into the house monthly. Replace if missing or damaged.
  • Do an annual check to make sure that outdoor air-conditioning units and heat pumps are on firm and level ground or pads.
  • At least once a year, pour a cup of bleach mixed with water down the air-conditioner condensate drain to prevent the buildup of mold and algae, which can cause clogs.
  • In summer, shut off the water supply to the furnace humidifier. In fall (or when you anticipate turning on the heat), replace the humidifier wick filter, set the humidistat to between 35% and 40% relative humidity, and turn on the water supply.
  • To avoid placing unnecessary strain on your air conditioning and heating system, never close more than 20% of your home’s registers.
  • Replace the battery in your home’s carbon monoxide detector annually.

Maintenance Checklist

(Source: ENERGY STAR®)

Maintaining your equipment properly can prevent future problems and unwanted costs. Keep your cooling and heating system at peak performance by having professional pre-season check-ups in the spring and fall. They typically include the following:

  • Check thermostat settings to ensure the cooling and heating system keeps you comfortable when you are home and saves energy when you’re not.
  • Tighten all electrical connections and measure voltage and current on motors. Faulty electrical connections can cause unsafe operation of your system and reduce the life of major components.
  • Lubricate all moving parts. Parts that lack lubrication cause friction in motors and increase the amount of electricity you use.
  • Check and inspect the condensate drain in your central air conditioner, furnace and/or heat pump (when in cooling mode). A plugged drain can cause water damage in the house and affect indoor humidity levels.
  • Check controls of the system to ensure proper and safe operation. Check the starting cycle of the equipment to assure the system starts, operates, and shuts off properly.

Cooling Specific

  • Clean evaporator and condenser air conditioning coils. Dirty coils reduce the system’s ability to cool your home and cause the system to run longer, increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.
  • Check your central air conditioner’s refrigerant level and adjust if necessary. Too much or too little refrigerant will make your system less efficient, increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.
  • Clean and adjust blower components to provide proper system airflow for greater comfort levels. Airflow problems can reduce your system’s efficiency by up to 15 percent.

Heating Specific

  • Check all gas or oil connections, gas pressure, burner combustion and heat exchanger. Improperly operating gas or oil connections are a fire hazard and can contribute to health problems. A dirty burner or cracked heat exchanger causes improper burner operation. Either can cause the equipment to operate less safely and efficiently.

Do-It-Yourself Tasks

  • Inspect, clean, or change air filters once a month in your central air conditioner, furnace, and/or heat pump. A dirty filter can increase energy costs and damage your equipment, leading to early failure.