Things are really heating up in South Carolina! Is your air conditioner ready for the hot, humid summer ahead? If not, now is the time to take care of this important task and get it checked off your list for the season!
DIY Air Conditioner Maintenance
There are a few basic maintenance steps everyone should take care of in between your professional maintenance appointments with Carolina Comfort Systems.
* Change out the filter - Regularly changing the filter for your home comfort system is important all year round. A dirty filter clogged with dust, pet dander and other grime reduces airflow, making your system work longer and harder to keep your home at a cool comfortable temperature. This increases wear and tear on system components and reduces energy efficiency by up to 15%.
* Clear out condensation drain - If your system has an accessible condensation drain, you will want to check it several times per year to make sure there is no cruddy build-up accumulating. In a humid subtropical climate like ours, cooling systems pull a lot of moisture out of the air, so keeping the condensation drain clear is important for your system to work most efficiently. Clean away built-up gunk with a wire brush to keep the drain clear.
* Check the outdoor condenser unit - Regularly check your outdoor condenser unit for leaves, twigs and debris that could hinder proper operation. Also keep plants and shrubs trimmed back several feet away from the unit on all sides.
Professional Air Conditioner Maintenance
There's more to air conditioner maintenance than the do-it-yourself list above. That's why you also need regular professional air conditioner maintenance. Your Carolina Comfort Systems maintenance pro will take care of the tough stuff like checking refrigerant levels, lubricate moving parts, check belts for wear, check airflow throughout the system, test and calibrate the thermostat, test electrical connections and inspect for any issues that could lead to a break-down.
For extra peace of mind, check out our Comfort Star Protection Plans. We have four plans to choose from depending on your needs and preferences. Each plan includes cleaning and inspection of your home comfort system twice per year and gives you *Priority Customer* status if you ever do have an emergency. Several of our plans also let you accrue money at the end of each service year toward a new replacement system. Our top-notch professional technicians are dedicated to providing the best service to keep your home comfortable all year long!
Understanding the Lingo
If you’re like most homeowners, the terminology used in the HVAC business, (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) can be a little confusing. We’ve compiled a short list of some of the more common terms and abbreviations you’ve probably heard from your Carolina Comfort Systems professional:
• Activated carbon- Granular processed carbon, often used in air filters to clean the air.
• Air balancing- Adjusting the air conditioning and heating to ensure the proper amount of air is being sent to each room.
• AFUE- Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency; a rating that shows the efficiency of furnaces and gas heating units. The number represents how much energy is converted to usable heat.
• Air handling unit or “handler”- The equipment that moves or "mixes" the air being heated or cooled. Its components include a blower fan, heating/cooling coils, controls, drain pans, and air filters.
• Compressor- The pump in an air conditioning system that moves the refrigerant from the inside evaporator coils to the outside condenser then back into the home.
• Condenser- The outside of an air conditioning unit that condenses the refrigerant from a gas to a liquid to transfer the unwanted hot or cold air from inside the home to the outside.
• Drip pan- A tray or pan in which the water collects as it is condensed from the evaporator.
• Duct- The conduit through which heated or cooled air is moved from the condenser unit to the rooms of a house.
• EER- Energy Efficient Ratio; a ratio of the cooling capacity to the electrical input under specific conditions. The higher the number the better.
• SEER- Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio; this shows how effective an air conditioner or heat pump is, the higher the number the better the unit.
• Split system- Commonly used in homes. It is when two or more parts of an HVAC are located outside of the home with lines running between the components.
Beat the Heat With These Cool Tips
With summer just around the corner, consider these ideas to keep your energy costs down.
1) Maintain your thermostat at 76 degrees or more if you're still comfortable. The higher the setting, the less it will operate unnecessarily.
2) Keep your air conditioner filters clean. Cleaned or replace them once a month during the summer season. If possible, also clean the exposed grill and spines on the outside unit.
3) Don't block window air conditioners. Check to ensure no objects are leaning on, or directly in the way of the air flowing in or out.
4) Use a programmable thermostat. Since you only need your air conditioner to run when you're home, set timers to come on about 30 minutes before you're going to be home.
5) Don't place lamps or televisions near your air conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, causing it to run longer than necessary.
6) Consider installing a ceiling fan to circulate air above the area where you spend most of your time.
7) Turn on your exhaust fans when you’re cooking or taking a shower to vent warm air.
8) Have a professional inspect and tune up your heating and central air system. It can save on operating costs and extend the life of your system.
These are just a few tips to help you beat the heat and stay cool. For more information, call us at Carolina Comfort Systems today- Your authorized Bryant Dealer and HVAC Company from Florence & Conway to Myrtle Beach & Georgetown!
Cranking up the AC for the First Time?
If you’re like some of our more frugal clients, perhaps you’re just now getting ready to turn on the air conditioning for the first time this spring. For many people who are not home during the heat of the day this has been a popular option – especially if you have ceiling fans.
It may be a good idea to follow this quick checklist.
• Set the thermostat to a comfortable level and monitor the cooling progress for approximately 30 minutes. During that period of time, if you haven’t noticed a marked improvement in the temperature of the room, it could be a sign that your unit’s not functioning properly after its hibernation.
• To ensure the air circulating through your ducts and vents is clean and dust-free, make sure you’ve replaced your filter recently. You may also want to have your ducts inspected by a professional to see if they need to be cleaned for best performance.
• Take a look at your internal handler/return source to make sure there are no noticeable condensation leaks.
• Listen to your unit carefully. If it sounds unusual or different than you remember it, it could be an early warning signal of a potential problem.
If you want to be on the safe side and have complete peace of mind before you crank up the air conditioning for the first time this season, call the trained service technicians at Carolina Comfort Systems... we’re here to help!