How many years your air conditioner will last depends a lot on how well you take care of it. With a little attention and maintenance, such as regularly changing the air filter and utilizing a programmable thermostat, you can maximize the life of your air conditioning unit. The simple steps listed below will save you money by lowering your energy costs and minimizing repairs as well as by delaying the need for a replacement.
To help extend the life of your air conditioning unit, here are a few things you can do:
1. Schedule regular maintenance
A trained HVAC technician is your first line of defense when it comes to protecting and maintaining your air conditioner. During a service visit before the start of each cooling season, the technician will thoroughly clean the unit and make repairs or adjustments as needed. Doing so will prevent costly repairs down the road, and keep your system running as efficiently as possible for as long as possible.
2. Change the air filter on a regular basis
The air filter keeps your air conditioner (and your home) clean by preventing dust and debris from building up inside and ensuring sufficient airflow. This prevents breakdowns and extends the life of your system. Filters also help your unit operate at maximum efficiency, so your energy bills stay as low as possible. Air filters do get dirty, however, and once that happens they can no longer do their job. Check the filter periodically to make sure it isn’t clogged and change it every 30-60 days as needed to keep your air conditioner running smoothly.
3. Keep the outdoor unit clean and clear of debris
While the air filter keeps the indoor unit clean, keeping the outdoor unit clean is equally important to prevent mechanical problems. The area directly around the unit should be free of any debris, such as leaves, that can get inside. Maintain sufficient clear space around the unit so it can intake and exhaust air properly. Don’t plant shrubs too close, or stack things on or against the unit.
4. Invest in a programmable thermostat
A programmable thermostat makes it easy to adjust the temperature when you’re away or at night so that your air conditioner is not running when you don’t need it. With preprogrammed or custom settings, you can set it once to match your schedule to save energy, money and wear-and-tear on your air conditioner.
5. Insulate doors and windows
Air leaks that allow warm air in and let cool air escape make your air conditioner work harder than necessary to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home. This wastes energy, raises your energy bills and shortens the life of your system. Check the caulking and weatherstripping around doors and windows every year and repair or replace it as needed.
6. Install blinds and curtains
The sun coming through uncovered windows can quickly heat up your home and keep your air conditioner running. Insulated or even non-insulated blinds and curtains, particularly on windows that get direct sunlight, will help keep your home cool and give your air conditioner a break.
7. Allow air to circulate
Proper airflow is necessary for your air conditioner to work efficiently. Make sure air vents are clear and unobstructed to allow air to circulate freely throughout your home.
For help with all your air conditioning needs, contact Rheem Pro Partner in Colorado and Wyoming today!
If you are building or remodeling a home, or simply want to add a cooling system to an existing home, you may be wondering about the various options and which one is best for your situation. Most people are familiar with central air conditioning (also called ducted air conditioning), but you may be less familiar with ductless air conditioning (also called a ductless mini-split system).
Here’s an overview of both types.
Ducted air conditioning unit (or central air conditioning)
As the name implies, a ducted air conditioning unit uses air ducts and vents to distribute the cooled air throughout the home and return air to the system. Typically the ducts are used for both cooling and heating your home. The main unit of the air conditioner is installed outside (although sometimes it is mounted on the roof or in the attic) so it doesn’t take up living space. It sits on a concrete pad and connects to the ducts and the HVAC system.
Ductless air conditioning unit (or ductless mini-split system)
Ductless systems use an air handler unit that is mounted on the wall or ceiling, rather than air ducts, to deliver cooled air. They are energy efficient because air is not lost traveling through ducts to each room. However, depending on the size of your home, you may need to install more than one. In this way, they can also be used to cool specific areas or even to supplement central air systems.
Which Type of Air Conditioner Is Right for Your Home?
When a ducted air conditioning unit may be the best option:
A ducted air conditioning unit may be preferable if you already have ducts in your home for a forced air heating system. In that case, installation is just a matter of hooking up the new air conditioner unit to the existing ducts, making it an affordable option that can be installed quickly.
Ducted systems are preferable if airflow is a concern, as they are designed to circulate air. Ducted systems are virtually invisible because the ducts are hidden behind walls and the unit is outside, so they are a good choice if aesthetics are a concern.
Ducted systems may be simpler and less expensive to maintain because there is only one unit.
When a ductless air conditioning unit may be the best option:
Ductless air conditioning units are much easier and less expensive to install in homes that don’t already have ducts since the units go right in the wall or ceiling. Ductwork is expensive and complicated to install because it involves running the ducts from room to room and cutting holes in walls, floors and ceilings. In some cases, there may not even be enough room to install ducts. A ductless unit may also be preferable if you are removing the ducts during a renovation, or if you are building an addition and don’t want to add ducts and upgrade your current HVAC system.
Rooms can be independently controlled with separate air handlers, saving energy and arguments over temperature control.
Start with a qualified installer
Whichever system you choose, proper design and installation is the key to having an air conditioner that functions properly, efficiently and lasts a long time. Hire a trained HVAC professional to design and install your system.
Still have questions? The experts at Rheem Pro Partner are happy to help. Contact us today! We proudly serve Colorado and Wyoming.
On a hot summer day, an air conditioner can be a true lifesaver, as long as it’s working properly. The main way to ensure that your system will keep you cool all summer long, and save money in the long run, is to schedule a professional tune-up at the start of the season. In addition, however, you can avoid an unpleasant surprise by taking a moment to understand the warning signs that your air conditioner may be failing and the steps you can take to prevent a breakdown before it happens.
Here are five signs of a potential problem with your air conditioner:
1. Increased energy bills
An air conditioner that works harder to achieve the proper temperature uses more energy. If your energy bills are increasing and your home takes longer to cool, this could indicate that your system is failing.
2. The air coming from the vents isn’t cold
The air blowing through the vents should be consistently cool. If you notice that it is no longer as cold as when your system was new, or, of course, if it’s not cold at all, have your system checked out by a professional. The problem could be a simple fix, or something more serious.
3. Weak airflow from your vents
Limited airflow could indicate an issue with the compressor. It may also mean that your air ducts are dirty. Dust and debris can build up in the ducts and prevent air from flowing properly. Leaks in the ducts also prevent the conditioned air from reaching your home’s living spaces. (Ask us about Aeroseal, a patented process that thoroughly and economically seals holes and cracks in air ducts.)
4. Strange noises coming from the AC unit
Air conditioners are designed to run quietly. Squealing, grinding or grating sounds are a clear indication of a malfunction. Have a technician check out any unusual noises as soon as possible. Correcting the problem early can prevent a costly breakdown later on.
5. Leakage around the air conditioning unit
Any leaks should be addressed immediately. Water pooling around the unit may be caused by a clogged or broken drain tube. The presence of water or moisture can lead to mold growth. Water dripping inside the unit may come from ice melting. If the drip pan is full, or you hear chunks of ice falling, call your HVAC technician right away. Either of these can cause significant damage to your air conditioner. A refrigerant leak also requires immediate attention. Refrigerant leaks pose serious health risks and can also indicate a major problem with your system.
Any of these signs warrant a service call. For increased peace of mind, however, be sure to schedule an annual tune-up by a licensed HVAC technician. Doing so will greatly diminish the likelihood of emergency repairs and will also extend the life of your air conditioner and save money on energy costs.
Contact Rheem Pro Partner today for all your air conditioning needs. We proudly serve homes throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
If your A/C has been malfunctioning, or is not working as efficiently or effectively as it should, you may be thinking about purchasing a new one. There are several factors to consider when contemplating this major investment.
Age of the Air Conditioner
Age alone is not a reason to replace your air conditioner. If it works, and your utility bills are low, you’re probably fine not making a change. It is worth noting, however, that many improvements have been made to newer air conditioners. Improvements such as programmable thermostats and better overall design make them much more energy efficient. The savings on utility bills could be significant if you have an older unit, and those savings can greatly offset the cost of a new air conditioner. Energy Star recommends upgrading to an energy-efficient unit if your current A/C is 10 or more years old. Many HVAC technicians typically recommend replacing units if they are 15 years or older. Your HVAC professional can help you evaluate the savings you are likely to achieve with a new system and determine whether a replacement makes sense for you.
Frequency and Cost of Repairs
If you’re constantly replacing parts or repeatedly having the same repair issues you should consider replacement. Even if this is your first significant repair, a good guideline is the $5,000 rule. Multiply the age of your air conditioner by the cost of the repair. If the number is greater than $5,000, replacing it makes sense.
Nature of Repairs
If your A/C requires additional refrigerant (Freon) that can indicate there is leak. This type of repair can get pricey pretty quickly. The coolant itself costs $40-$175 per pound. While that may include the cost of the service call, repairing the leak plus topping off the coolant can run between $550 and $1,000. This type of leak can also signal that the compressor is about to fail. All together, replacing the compressor, repairing the leak, and adding coolant can cost as much as a new low-end unit.
The industry measures efficiency of new air conditioners with the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the product. In January 2006, the standard for residential air conditioners was increased to a SEER of 13 or higher. Efficient A/C systems keep your utility bills low and also reduce your environmental impact.
Some other things to consider include:
Is the repair covered by a warranty?
Are replacement parts available?
How long do you plan to stay in your home? Will you reap enough benefit from a new air condition, either through your own comfort or through the sale of your home?
What is the life expectancy of the unit? Is it serviceable for a few more years?
New refrigerants. R22 was the standard for many years and is now being phased out and the price is getting very expensive. Manufacturers are no longer allowed to make AC units with R22. All newly manufactured air conditioning units are now using R410A – an earth friendly refrigerant.