4 Ways You’re Accidentally Killing Your Home’s A/C
April 05, 2017
No homeowner likes air conditioning repairs—especially if the homeowner inadvertently caused the problem in the first place.
We’ve seen the sad look on many a homeowner’s face after they realize they could have easily prevented a repair. So, to spare YOU from that same disappointment, we’re sharing 4 ways you could be killing your homes’s A/C without even knowing it.
You’re killing your A/C if you...
Block or cover your outside unit
Never change your air filter
Close a lot of vents in your home
Don’t schedule an annual check-up for your air conditioner
Let’s go into more detail about each of these common A/C mistakes and how you can avoid them.
A/C mistake #1: Block or cover your outside unit
Some homeowners add a fence or bushes around the outside unit to “dress it up” or hide it from view. And other homeowners cover their A/C to protect it from dirt and debris—while they’re using it. However, both of these scenarios actually do more harm than good to the air conditioner.
To understand why, you need to know how your AC works: Your A/C system is comprised of 2 units:
The inside unit absorbs your home’s heat.
The outside unit releases that heat into the open air.
If you block your outdoor unit with a fence, bushes or an actual air conditioner cover, it can’t release that air outside.
Blocking or covering the outside unit essentially suffocates the air conditioner, which can cause it to overheat and break down.
Learn more about the dangers of covering your A/C: Why You Should NEVER Cover Your Air Conditioner
Don’t cover your air conditioner when it’s running. Here in Florida, your air conditioner will be running all year round so you shouldn’t ever cover it during a heating season (unlike colder states that don’t use air conditioning at all in the winter).
A/C mistake #2: You never change your air filter
If your filter looks like the one on the right in the image above, you’re hurting your air conditioner.
Why’s that, you ask? Well, it’s because dirty air filters restrict airflow to your air conditioner. Without proper airflow, your air conditioner runs longer and more frequently, which adds stress to your A/C.
A stressed air conditioner won’t have a long lifespan. It also won’t cool your air efficiently or properly, which means you’ll have higher monthly energy bills and your home will feel uncomfortable.
Learn more about why you should change your filters: Forgot to Change Your AC’s Filter? 3 Reasons You May Regret It
Check your air filter. If it looks like the filter on the right in the image above, then it’s time to replace it. You should be changing your air filter at least every 3 months, but during summer cooling months you may need to replace your filter every month.
Related article: What is MERV? A Homeowner’s Guide to Choosing an Air Filter
A/C mistake #3: You close a lot of vents in your home
Many people think, “I’ll save money by closing vents in the rooms I’m not using.”
Unfortunately, this doesn’t save you money. In fact, it actually hurts your air conditioner.
When a professional first installed your air conditioner, he or she carefully matched it to your home’s specific size and features. Your A/C was adjusted so just the right amount of air comes out of each vent, balanced with the air going back into your system through the return vents.
So if you close vents in unused rooms, you upset this balance and make your air conditioner work even harder to cool your home. This extra stress raises your energy consumption and wears down your A/C’s components over time.
A/C mistake #4: You don’t schedule an annual check-up for your air conditioner
One of the simplest mistakes homeowners make is not scheduling an annual A/C check-up.
Just like getting a yearly physical by your doctor, the purpose of an A/C check-up is to catch any problems before they cause serious damage.
Some of these common air conditioner problems include refrigerant leaks, dirty coils, sensor problems and electric control failure.
A serviced air conditioner can also save you money on your monthly energy bills—by as much as 15 percent—and keep your home more comfortable.
Schedule your annual A/C check-up today. Ideally, you should schedule it before summer, when your A/C needs to be functioning at its best.
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