Holding Down Your Air Conditioning Costs for Higher Energy SavingsPublished on: August 23, 2012
Both the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommend regularly scheduled air conditioning maintenance as the optimum way to ensure that AC systems are operating at peak energy efficiency, saving consumers money on energy bills. Although nearly nine out of ten households in the USA have air conditioning, only 42 percent of those with central AC have the equipment serviced annually, according to the EIA.
Routine air conditioning maintenance is also the best insurance against costly AC repair down the line. To work effectively, air conditioning systems require a careful balance between the condenser that pressurizes and cools the refrigerant and the evaporator that cools and dehumidifies the air. Something as seemingly simple as too-much or too-little refrigerant can throw a system off balance, leading to AC repairs that might otherwise be avoided.
Because the release of refrigerant can be harmful to the environment as well as to human health, HVAC technicians conducting air conditioning maintenance to systems with R-22 refrigerant must be certified by the EPA. Technicians must use specialized equipment when recovering refrigerant. It’s important for technicians to repair refrigerant leaks rather than simply add more product. This not only improves the energy efficiency of your system but also reduces the need for future AC repair.
Routine tasks during air conditioning maintenance include checking and cleaning electrical connections, measuring air flow, checking operating temperatures and cleaning and replacing filters. An experienced technician can conduct a pressure test on the system’s ductwork as well to check for leaky ducts. Up to 30 percent of the air that moves through ducts can be lost to poorly sealed ductwork. Sealing ducts increases an AC’s energy efficiency, significantly reducing energy bills.
During regular air conditioning maintenance, skilled technicians may recommend AC repair or modifications that can improve the energy efficiency of the system, enhance indoor air quality, extend the life of the system and help prevent the need for more costly AC repair. Modifications can be as simple as installing better filters or changing existing supply register grilles for more efficient models.
Your AC technician can also install devices that will enhance the energy efficiency of your air conditioning system. A programmable thermostat lets you preset air temperatures for different times of the day and different days of the week. These high-tech devices ensure that your home is comfortably cool when you’re at home while lowering temperatures when you’re away.
Adding proper ventilation and insulation to your attic can improve your home’s AC system as well. During an air conditioning maintenance visit, a skilled technician can keep you abreast of all the options available to you to increase the energy efficiency of your air conditioning system, allowing you to stay cool without breaking the bank.