Your central air conditioner puts in a lot of work to get you through the cooling season, and left to its own devices, it’s bound to run into trouble. Filters, coils, fins and other components require regular maintenance, and if you want to get a decade or more of use out of your system, you’ll need to stay on top of that maintenance. Neglecting your air conditioner will lead to an increase in energy use and a decline in performance; in other words, you’ll be paying more money for less cooling.
Change or Clean Filters
In our five decades in the HVAC industry, we’ve seen that dirty air filters are among the most common causes of maintenance issues. A dirty air filter will slow or block the flow of air through your system, reducing its efficiency and cooling power significantly. Given enough time, that dirty filter can cause cold air to build up inside your air conditioner, lowering its internal temperature and causing ice to form on the coils. Moreover, the blockage will force your air conditioner’s other components to work harder than necessary, leading to increase wear and tear.
The good news is that all of these issues are preventable with good filter maintenance. If your system uses disposable filters, make sure you replace yours at the beginning of the cooling season and every one to three months thereafter, depending on the type of filter. Be sure to get filters made specifically for your system instead of getting generic ones at a hardware store.
If you have a reusable filter, wash it with water and let it air dry completely before putting it back in the system. Trying to wipe the filter dry can damage it, leading to other maintenance issues. Again, this needs to be done every one to three months depending on the filter. In either case, be sure to shut your air conditioner off while the filter is out. The only thing worse for your system than running with a dirty filter is running with no filter at all.
Coil and Fin Checks
Over the course of a long cooling season, your air conditioner’s evaporator and condenser coils can accumulate a lot of dirt and debris. A clean air filter will stop those components from being soiled too quickly, but they still need to be cleaned on occasion to ensure effective performance.
You can help protect the outdoor condenser coil by removing potential sources of debris from the area. Trim back hedges and bushes for several feet around the outdoor unit, and avoid putting potted plants or other objects above it. Eliminating those sources of debris will allow for better airflow around the condenser, improving efficiency.
An air conditioner’s aluminum fins are another potential issue because they can easily become bent, blocking airflow. Fortunately, the fix is just as easy. We’ll use a special “fin comb” to realign those fins into nearly original condition.
If you’re still having issues with your air conditioner and don’t know what to do, keep your cool. Our air conditioning technicians can see to any and all of your air conditioner installation or repair needs. Call us today at (413) 200-4203 or email us at [email protected].
Updates to the Regional HVAC Equipment Efficiency and Testing Standards
Effective January 1, 2023, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will update its efficiency and testing standards for residential and commercial HVAC equipment. All regulatory changes will differ by product type and region. Since the updated standards will result in price increases across all HVAC contractors, now is the time to buy the equipment you need for your home or business.
The minimum efficiency standards for residential and commercial air conditioners and heat pumps manufactured after January 1, 2023, will increase. This change will increase production efficiency and national energy savings while decreasing national energy consumption.
Northern U.S. & Canada
All split-system air conditioners, split-system heat pumps, and packaged units manufactured after January 1, 2023, must meet the updated standards. However, split-system air conditioners, split-system heat pumps, and packaged units manufactured before January 1, 2023, can be installed indefinitely. The efficiency rating for air conditioners will increase from 13 SEER to 15 SEER in these regions.
Split-system air conditioners manufactured before January 1, 2023, can’t be installed once the updated standards take effect. All installations of products that don’t meet the new standards must be completed by December 31, 2022. However, split-system heat pumps, single-packaged air conditioners, and single-packaged heat pumps manufactured after January 1, 2023, can be installed indefinitely. The efficiency rating for air conditioners will increase from 14 SEER to 15 SEER in both the Southwest and Southeast regions.
In addition to higher minimum efficiency standards, the M1 testing procedures used for residential and 3 to 5-ton light commercial, single-phase equipment manufactured on or after January 1, 2023, will increase. This change will produce more accurate SEER, EER, and HSPF efficiency ratings. Manufacturers will be required to re-test equipment using the new M1 Standard requirements as well as publish equipment efficiency ratings using the new efficiency metrics of SEER2, EER2, and HSPF2.