Most people are very much in tune with how their car runs – and take quick notice of an unusual rattle, clink or grinding noise. They also notice how much smoother their car runs after a tune-up, oil change or even mild inflation of their tires. Knowing that their car is running well and is safe from a mechanical breakdown breeds a peace of mind like few others.
At The Hignell Companies, we turn to the car analogy when our customers ask about the importance of an annual air conditioner tune-up. Next to checking and replacing the filter, it is the single most important step you can take to improve the efficiency of your air conditioning system.
To the doubting Thomases who say, “Hey now. You Hignell guys aren't just trying to sell me a tune-up, are you?” we point to an authoritative source: the U.S. Department of Energy. It offers five ideas for improving the efficiency of an air conditioning system, and a yearly tune-up is second only to (you guessed it) remaining vigilant about the condition of the filter.
Before we share the department's other efficiency ideas, let us elaborate on why the department says its vital to “keep your cooling and heating system at peak performance by having a contractor do annual pre-season check-ups,'' meaning your air conditioning system in the spring and your furnace in the fall.
The ABCs of an air conditioner tune-up
The department points out that an air conditioner tune-up can “prevent future problems and unwanted costs,” just like tuning up your car. Regular Hignell customers know: we follow the department of energy's recommendations and:
- Check the thermostat settings and controls to ensure the system turns on, runs and shuts off as it should
- Tighten the electrical connections and measure the voltage and current on the motors (because shaky connections can impugn the safe operation of the system and reduce its lifespan)
- Lubricate all moving parts (because a lack of it causes friction that increases the amount of electricity the system uses)
- Check the condensate drain (because a clogged drain can cause interior water damage and increase humidity levels)
- Clean the evaporator and condenser coils (because dirt interferes with the smooth operation of your system, basically causing it to run longer than it has to, thereby increasing your costs)
- Clean and adjust the blower components (because better air flow not only equates to greater indoor comfort but also greater efficiency)
- Check the refrigerant level and the unit for refrigerant leaks
Other steps matter
Improving the efficiency of your air conditioning system starts with an annual tune-up, but it doesn't end there. Follow the department's other recommendations to ensure it runs at peak efficiency:
- Install a programmable thermostat so that you can set the temperature in your home around your family's comings and goings – lower when everyone is around, a little higher overnight and higher still when nobody is there.
- Seal and insulate your heating and cooling ducts, which the department says can increase the efficiency of your system by as much as 20 percent. Put another way, this also means you could be losing 20 percent of the cool air you're paying for through cracks and holes in the ducts.
- Upgrade your system to new Energy Star equipment, much of which operates at efficiency levels in the high 90s.
If you prefer to stay in tune with your car, let Hignell keep your home air conditioning system in tune so that it doesn't alarm you with an unusual rattle, clink or grinding noise. Our Chico air conditioning repair experts are here and ready to help.