Two Crucial Air Conditioning Mistakes Many Home Owners Make

Air conditioning isn't just a matter of comfort. Depending on where you live in the United States, having a good system installed can provide you with the right climate control balance during intense heat. Whether you use your unit just once in a while or all the time, proper maintenance and use is important for optimal performance. Avoid making costly mistakes with your air conditioning; read about two crucial air conditioning mistakes homeowners make in the short guide below.

Choosing the Wrong Portable Air Conditioning Unit

For some homeowners, problems begin before their system is even installed. Choosing the wrong portable system will result in poor overall cooling, and may even cause performance issues throughout the life of the unit.

Using a portable air conditioner is a fantastic way to cool down a single bedroom or small office. However, that same unit just won't be able to keep up with the needs of an entire house. The cooled air quickly spreads and warms up as it makes its way through your home. This leads to poor performance and very poor efficiency, as the unit has to work almost constantly to maintain the lower temperature.

Consider that most commercially available models are designed to provide coverage in homes that encompass less than 1,200 square feet. But that doesn't mean you should just go out and buy a unit rated for 1,200 square feet. Your chosen unit should be neither too big, nor too small for each room you need to cool.

Use the following guidelines for best results:

  • Start by assuming you need 5,000 BTUs for rooms 150 square feet or smaller
  • Then, add 1,000 BTUs for every additional 100 square feet of space
  • Assume an additional 4,000 BTUs are needed for high-heat, high-humidity areas like kitchens and bathrooms

A contractor should individually assess homes that encompass more than 1200 square feet of space. While it is possible to use multiple units to achieve your cooling goals, remember that each unit's BTU rating will affect your energy bill individually. If you're using eight individual 5,000 BTU air conditioners, that's a total of 40,000 BTUs! At this point, you probably aren't saving any money over a permanent installation. 

Forgetting to Change Your A/C Filter

When you're caught up with life, it's easy to forget about monthly or seasonal maintenance tasks like changing out your A/C filter. But this simple, five-minute task is very literally one of the most important things you can do to keep your system in top condition. Ideally, you should check your filter monthly, changing or washing it as per your specific model's user guide.

Why is this such a big deal? Consider what happens if you forget.

The most obvious sign of a badly clogged filter is poor performance or little to no airflow. While these might not seem urgent, it's what's happening on the inside of your unit that can eventually lead to disaster.

When the filter clogs, air isn't able to move across the coils properly. Your system works even harder to produce the right air temperature, but that cold air doesn't have anywhere to go. Instead of channeling through the filter and out of the machine, it cycles around inside the unit, getting colder and colder over time.

If the filter still isn't cleaned and replaced at this point, a layer of ice begins to develop over the outside shell and interior fan. Eventually, this will stop them from spinning and cause your A/C unit to overheat.

When you reach this point, you'll most likely know there's a problem--your A/C unit will make a very loud, almost intolerable rumbling noise. If your system hasn't burned out completely, you need to take immediate action--turn it off, unplug it, and expect it to discharge plenty of water as it thaws out. Schedule a service call immediately.

These two air conditioning mistakes may be common, but they're easy to overcome when you have the right knowledge. Start by consulting with a contractor before you install your system. Then, program your air filter change date into your smartphone or tablet device to ensure you never forget to change it. If you have questions about air conditioning efficiency or performance, contact an HVAC company,such as Universal Refrigeration today.