Save Money! Go Green!
Green HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning) doesn't mean you need to open your wallet and spring for the most expensive state-of-the-art piece of equipment. What it actually refers to are the steps you take when choosing and maintaining your equipment. With proper installation and regular maintenance you can help preserve the environment and save money at the same time. By working with a qualified licensed contractor, you will get a better understanding of the energy, economic, and environmental benefits for the equipment selection that meets your needs.
5 Tips to keep your equipment running green:
Replace air filters
The most important maintenance task that will ensure the efficiency of your air conditioner is to routinely replace or clean its filters. Clogged, dirty filters block normal air flow and reduce a system's efficiency significantly. With normal air flow obstructed, air that bypasses the filter may carry dirt directly into the evaporator coil and impair the coil's heat-absorbing capacity. Keeping the filter clean can lower your air conditioners energy consumption by 5%–15%.
For central air conditioners, filters are generally located somewhere along the return duct's length. Common filter locations are in walls, ceilings, furnaces, or in the air conditioner itself. Room air conditioners have a filter mounted in the grill that faces into the room.
Some types of filters are reusable; others must be replaced. They are available in a variety of types and efficiencies. Clean or replace your air conditioning system's filter or filters every month or two. Filters may need more frequent attention if the air conditioner is in constant use or is subjected to dusty conditions.
Clean your coils
The air conditioners evaporator coil and condenser coil collect dirt over their months and years of service. A clean filter prevents the evaporator coil from soiling quickly. In time, however, the evaporator coil will still collect dirt. This dirt reduces air flow and insulates the coil, reducing its ability to absorb heat and may cause the coil to ice up which can potentially lead to water leaks. To avoid this problem, have your evaporator coil checked and cleaned as necessary every year.
Outdoor condenser coils can also become very dirty if the outdoor environment is dusty or if there is foliage nearby. You can easily see the condenser coil and notice if dirt is collecting on its fins.
You should minimize dirt and debris near the condenser unit. Automobile exhaust, falling leaves, and lawn mower clippings are all potential sources of dirt and debris. Cleaning the area around the coil, removing any debris, and trimming foliage back at least 2 feet allow for adequate air flow around the condenser.
Installation & location
If your air conditioner is installed correctly, or if major installation problems are found and fixed, it will perform efficiently for years with only minor routine maintenance. However, many air conditioners are not installed correctly. As an unfortunate result, modern energy-efficient air conditioners can perform almost as poorly as older inefficient models.
You can ensure your equipments efficiency by following these procedures when installing a new air conditioning system:
- Allow adequate space for the installation, maintenance, and repair of your equipment.
- Locate the condensing unit where no nearby objects will block the flow of air to it.
- Place the condensing unit in a shady spot, if possible, which can reduce your air conditioning costs by 1%–2%.
- Verify that the newly installed air conditioner has the correct refrigerant charge and air flow rate specified by the manufacturer.
- Locate the thermostat away from heat and cooling sources, such as windows and supply registers.
Having the right equipment installed makes a big difference. Several factors are needed to properly size the right air conditioner for you. Most consumers assume that the square footage of the room is all you need as a guide to picking the right unit. This is only partially correct. You not only need to take into account the square footage of the room, but also the ceiling height, how many doors & windows there are, the number of people occupying the room, and the number of large objects that give off heat such as computers and TVs.
A unit that is too small won’t be able to adequately cool your space causing you to set the thermostat to its lowest setting. A unit that is too large will cycle on and off the compressor more frequently than a properly sized unit and will not remove moisture from the air as effectively, potentially causing humidity problems. A properly sized unit should not cycle too often and be able cool the room to the desired temperature setting.
Air conditioners need regular servicing to maintain designed performance levels. With the proper maintenance your air conditioning equipment will work more economically and be more dependable for years to come. With a few easy and routine procedures you can keep your unit at peak performance and get the maximum amount of comfort from your HVAC system.
Air conditioners consume a large portion of the average monthly power bill and proper maintenance can make a significant difference. Your air conditioner can lose approximately 5% of its overall efficiency every year it goes without proper professional maintenance. Systems operating at peak efficiency can cut monthly energy costs by up to 25%.
Many of the health risks that are associated with poor air quality can be greatly reduced or eliminated with proper system installation and maintenance.