Tips on Keeping Your Home Comfortable Year-Round
// HVAC CONTRACTOR
How can homeowners efficiently prolong the use of their air conditioning system, and what tips do you have on helping keep electric bills low?
Routine maintenance is the key. Seasonal air conditioning and heating check-ups help ensure the system is operating at peak capacity and efficiency. Key components are cleaned, electrical parts are tested, and drain lines are checked to minimize potential problems before they occur. For example, a weak capacitor can cause an unnecessary strain on motors and compressors, often resulting in premature failures and higher electrical bills. Weak electrical components can be easily identified during a routine check-up.
Another important step many homeowners can perform themselves is changing system air filters. A system with good airflow runs more efficiently, which applies less stress on the components. Be wary of those expensive allergen filters you see at the big box stores. They’re typically too restrictive for most builder’s grade models. Less expensive filters replaced regularly will provide nice airflow for the system.
What else can I do to lower my electric bills, especially in the summer?
Limit the use of bathroom and kitchen fans. Instead, turn on ceiling fans in a counterclockwise direction to help keep the room feeling cool while setting a slightly higher temperature on the thermostat.
What’s the most efficient thermostat setting when it’s hot outside?
There are two schools of thought. The first is “set it and forget it.” This method will keep the house comfortable all day long and the humidity lower.
The second — use a programmable thermostat. Set the temperature two to three degrees higher than normal 30 minutes before you leave home, and then have it return to normal 30 minutes prior to returning.
Personally, I prefer the set it and forget it method. There’s some debate if scheduling an AC program actually saves energy because the system needs to run longer to recover to the normal set temperature, thus offsetting any energy savings.
What air conditioning technology do you recommend?
There are three different technologies — single stage, two stage, and variable speed compressors. I prefer variable speed. It can run as low as 25 percent all the way up to 100 percent capacity. Variable speed provides the precise amount of cooling capacity year-round, exceptional dehumidification, and can reduce your cooling costs by up to 50 percent!
Should I repair or replace my existing air conditioner?
Generally, if the system is older than 10 to 12 years, uses the old R22 refrigerant, and the repair costs exceed 10 percent of a new system, I would recommend replacing versus repairing. A new system will be much more efficient, reliable, and have an excellent warranty.
Should I wait until winter to replace my air old conditioning system? Do prices drop then?
It’s usually better to replace before winter because manufacturers typically offer consumer rebates and other promotions then. Also, electric utility companies offer rebates to entice their customers to upgrade to more efficient systems. These rebates and promotions are usually not as readily available in the winter.
About the Expert
General Manager Phil Musial
The Woodlands Heating & Air Conditioning
This multiple award-winning, fully licensed and insured, family-owned, full-service, local HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) company carries and services all major makes and models of HVAC equipment. They also offer a complete line of indoor air quality products and services. Their experts have 70+ years of combined HVAC experience and focus on providing an unparalleled, personal level of service.
Get in Touch
TheWoodlandsAC.com // (281) 363-4822