1) Choosing an improperly sized unit.
The Mistake: This is the most costly mistake in our list, because unless you’re within the return period, it’s pretty much a done deal. But it is unfortunately all too common, especially for homeowners who want to save money and do their own installations, or for homeowners who don’t properly vet their HVAC contractors and end up with a fly-by-night operation more interested in a big sale than a job well done.
An improperly sized unit can be over or undersized for your home and still cause you major issues. If it’s too large, it won’t cool your home uniformly, it won’t properly dehumidify the air, and it won’t run efficiently. Cycling issues – a system that turns on and off too frequently - can cost you financially and damage your system permanently.
If it’s too small, it will obviously be insufficient to your cooling needs. Because of the lack of cooling power, it will run constantly in an effort to reach your desired temperature and it will burn itself out years ahead of schedule.
The Fix: The only real way to solve this problem is to replace the system, unfortunately. If you’re within warranty, you may be able to finagle a replacement on the cheap, but in general, this mistake is going to hit you where it hurts: right in the checkbook.
2) Placing the outdoor unit in a bad spot.
The Mistake: The outdoor unit, or condenser, is a key part of the operation. It does all the actual cooling work, pumping hot air into the outside of your home and feeding cold air to your blower. You can impact the health and efficiency of your system by having the unit placed somewhere inappropriate.
Examples? We are happy to oblige.
We see condenser units placed on the south side of homes in serious sun exposure quite frequently, which will have some impact on the ability of the system to function correctly.
We’ve also seen people create “enclosures” for their unit in an effort to shade them from sunlight; this is even worse. Your condenser needs to be able to dissipate heat. If it can’t do that, it’s going to overheat and eventually suffer serious damage.
Lastly, we’ve seen people neglect to keep their condenser unit clean, or place it where weeds and grass can grow around it and clog things up.
The Fix: Well, obviously, choosing the correct placement is something you’ll want to work out with your air conditioning repair technician. It’s best to choose an area free of the aforementioned obstructions and relatively safe from excessive sun exposure.
3) Running the unit nonstop.
The Mistake: Your air conditioner is an intricate machine, and it is built to last a decade or more. But if you run it nonstop, it’s far more likely to need AC repair, or worse, to die before its time.
Most people are guilty of leaving their air conditioner running because they don’t want to walk into a hot home.
We get that. But there’s a better way!
The Fix: If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, get one. If you do have one (and you aren’t using it to save yourself from expensive monthly energy bills and even more expensive repairs), you should be programming it to turn your system on a short time before you come home, rather than leaving it running as some others might recommend.
Best of all – modern thermostats are often wi-fi capable. That means you don’t even have to think about it. You can turn it on before you hop in your car and drive home from work.
4) Closing vents and registers (without clearing it with a pro)
The Mistake: Common wisdom would have you believe that simply closing the vents to unused rooms will save you money and energy. The theory is that since those rooms aren’t being cooled off, that cooling energy is going elsewhere.
The reality isn’t always that simple. While there are situations where closing parts of your house off could help, it’s far more likely that blocking returns and vents will simply reduce the efficiency of your central air conditioner.
How? Great question! I’m glad you asked.
Your system was carefully designed, and your air handler is a part of a delicate balance. When you close vents to unused rooms, you increase pressure within the system, and your blower motor will ramp up to try to compensate for the blocked ducts.
If you don’t have sealed ducts (and many homes do not) you’re going to experience more air leakage. In a worst-case scenario, that added pressure could even lead to frozen evaporator coils or a damaged compressor.
The Fix: Ask your AC repair provider whether your home can handle closing unused rooms. If not, keep airflow in your home unrestricted and don’t worry – you’re saving money and maximizing efficiency by cooling those rooms, in most cases.
5)Turning the temperature WAY down.
This is one almost every customer we’ve ever dealt with has been guilty of once or twice. The theory seems sound – you want things to cool down fast, so you set the system to a low temperature so it works “faster,” right?
A scenario: you like your home to be at 72°, but it’s 79° when you get home. You set your thermostat to 68° to make things get to 72° faster.
Here’s the bad news: it doesn’t work that way at all.
What actually happens?
Well, your system goes right past your desired temperature and works harder trying to achieve the unwanted colder temperature, costing you money.
The Fix: This is an easy one. Set your thermostat to the actual desired temperature. No matter what you might assume, setting it lower isn’t going to cool things down any faster – but it could damage your system.
6) Not changing the air filters.
Ah, the air filters. The simplest task in AC repair, and one oft-neglected. The possible consequences of skipping this task (which should be performed monthly, at least) are dire, and include:
Frozen evaporator coils
Reduced air quality
Permanent system damage
The Fix: Change your air filters! If you aren’t up to the task yourself, put it on the list for your maintenance team.
Oh, and speaking of maintenance teams …
7) Failing to schedule tune-ups and regular repair visits
The tune-up isn’t just a time-honored tradition in the air conditioning repair business. It’s how you show your central air system that you care.
All jokes aside, regular preventive maintenance is incredibly important, and it is easily worth the scant few dollars it costs you, as it will likely save you many hundreds or even thousands of dollars in repairs over the life of your system.
It’s like an oil change for your car; a minor thing, easily done, and absolutely critical to the life of the machine.
The Mistake: You figure the AC is running fine, and you can just leave well enough alone, right? So you skip this year’s tune-up and congratulate yourself for saving a few bucks.
What you don’t realize is that you could be missing a little tiny issue that HVAC contractors would be likely to catch.
And here’s the thing about tiny issues:
They become bigger issues later.
So you might miss that a few parts need to be lubricated or tightened or replaced, or fail to recognize a water or refrigerant leak. Your home will be cool, but next year you’ve got a repair bill that is triple (or more) the cost of the tune-up you skipped.
The Fix: Get on a maintenance schedule. We’d be happy to help.
8) Not having your home audited for energy efficiency.
Any HVAC contractors worth their wages will tell you that an energy audit is an important step in optimizing the performance and efficiency of your home heating and cooling system. Heat loss and gain through air leakage is one of the biggest contributors to higher energy bills.
The Mistake: Because an audit costs money, you figure you can get by with educated guesswork. Perhaps you do a little Googling and figure out what tonnage your air conditioner should be based on your square footage or something like that.
While you may think you’re saving yourself money, you’re probably setting yourself up for bigger problems down the line.
The Fix: This is another case where the best thing you can do is follow the advice of your professional AC repair team and allow them to conduct a home energy audit. This will insure that you don’t also make Mistake #1 (an improperly sized unit) and will enable contractors to find and correct any weaknesses in your system design.
9) Letting your system overwork – and ice up!
Ice buildup in your system is a pretty good indicator that you should call an HVAC repair company. If your system is too small, or if you’re trying to cool a 2000sf home to 62° during a heatwave, you may push it too hard and cause ice to build up over the evaporator coils.
Restricted airflow, low refrigerant, and other minor issues can also contribute to icing.
The Mistake: Ignoring the signs of ice buildup, which can include leaking water or short cycling, or allowing minor maintenance tasks to go undone can worsen or hasten the freezing process.
When this happens, you could end up with a blown motor or worse. Sometimes, pushing a system hard while the coils are frozen can cause the kind of damage that requires a whole system replacement.
The Fix: The first thing you need to do if you’ve discovered water or other signs of possible ice build-up is turn off your air conditioning system. Then, while the ice is thawing, call a technician to repair the issue that is causing the freezeup in the first place.
Now, it could be something as simple as a refrigerant leak or a dirty air filter, but when you’re dealing with something as expensive as a central air conditioner, it is better safe than sorry.
Look, HVAC systems are pricy and complicated, and no one is expecting you to be an expert. You don’t need to become a mechanic to keep your car running – you just need to find a mechanic you trust, and take care of some basic maintenance tasks.
Your AC can be approached the same way. Let us take care of the complicated stuff like tune-ups, pay attention to the simple stuff like air filters, and keep an eye on things. Do that, and we’re confident your AC will keep things cool for years to come.
Please call us if you need service or advice at 765-653-8802 today!
ROYAL COMFORT HEATING & AIR SERVES GREENCASTLE, DANVILLE, BAINBRIDGE, CLOVERDALE, FILLMORE, COATSVILLE, PLAINFIELD, AVON, MONROVIA & STILESVILLE.
Greencastle Ac Repair - Avoid THESE 9 AC SYSTEM KILLING MISTAKES AT ALL COSTS
Your air conditioning is probably more than half of your total electric bill.
Studies show that cooling your home can account for up to 70% of your total energy costs during the summer. With that much at stake, it’s important that you do everything you can to make sure you aren’t overspending.
Did you know that you probably are spending too much on energy? Or (and this is worse) that you might be damaging your system? You could be staring down the barrel of some very expensive HVAC repair invoices.
Still, how do you know if you’re in trouble if you’re not an expert? Sure, HVAC contractors try to give you some good general advice, and there’s that thick owner’s manual you may or may not have made time to read, but are you getting all the information you need?
We’ve gotten a pretty manageable list together, and it’s of the common mistakes that most homeowners are guilty of making at one point or another. Except these problems are real system-killers – the kind of thing you can’t recover from if you let them go too far.
In this article, we’re going to spend some time talking about errors that a lot of you might be making, and more importantly, we’re going to help you correct or avoid them.
So if saving money and keeping your system in optimal condition sounds like fun to you, read on!