- Condensing Unit: This is the part of your cooling system that is outdoors, it houses your compressor and has a large coil that surrounds it. Cut bushes and foliage about 1 foot away from the coil so the unit can draw in unrestricted air. Be sure the coil is clean, debris is pulled into the coil as the large condenser fan runs; using your garden hose to spray down the outside of the coil may only lodge the debris deeper into the coil. The coil should be sprayed from the inside toward the exterior. This is something best left to a technician since partial disassembly may be required to gain access and using water around an electrical appliance should be limited to trained personnel.
- Ducts: Weather your duct is located in an attic, crawl space or a basement, air leaks will lower the effectiveness of your system. Check your duct for holes or places where it may have separated, any place air is leaking is undesirable. Duct tape used to be the norm for sealing these leaks, but it tends to deteriorate over time, so using a foil faced tape is best for longevity. Even the joints where two sections of duct are joined together should be sealed since they are metal to metal connections which are not air tight. Although this was not a requirement in the past, the 2012 energy code makes this a requirement for all new installations, so why not bring your existing system up to the latest code.
- Filters: Your furnace filter is what keeps dust and debris from entering your blower compartment as well as the evaporator coil located in the duct above your furnace. Your evaporator coil is designed very much like your condenser coil on your outdoor unit, the fins leave very little tolerance to allow dirt or debris to pass, so it will collect on this coil and create an air flow restriction. A clean filter is the best insurance to keep these components clean and allow for maximum air flow. If these components get clogged with dust and debris, air flow will be diminished which will lower the efficiency of the system and if it decreases enough, damage to the compressor or the blower motor may occur. For more information about filters, see our blog post from 04/17/15.
- Programmable Thermostat: Even if your system is working at peak efficiency, conditioning your home to the perfect comfort level when nobody is home is a waste of energy. Also, when we are sleeping, our bodies generate less heat so keeping the same cooling set point used while active in your home is not required while you are sleeping. Programmable thermostats will allow the system to reset itself based on the schedule you keep for work and sleep. By doing so, you can save as much as 10% of your heating and cooling costs. There are many types of programmable thermostats, most have intelligent recovery so if you program your thermostat to the time that you return from work, it will use its algorithm to start the system early enough so that when you get home, your home will be at desired temperature. There are also thermostats that interact with your smart phone or tablet; so if your schedule changes while you are out, you can make the appropriate changes from a remote location.
- Schedule Your Preventative Maintenance: As discussed above, a clean condenser coil is key to maintaining peak efficiency. Not every homeowner has the ability or time to perform this service so having your professional from RJ Kuhn care for your system is an excellent choice. Of course there is so much more than just cleaning the coil; checking refrigerant levels, ensuring electrical connections are tight and making sure the condenser fan is operating correctly are just some of the tasks accomplished during a 20 point preventative maintenance check. Not only will you be assured your unit is operating at peak efficiency, we may correct and small issues before it leads to a mid summer failure. The need to keep your cooling system prepared for the long summer months is much like the need to have your car serviced before a long road trip.
We realize that this short article may not answer all of your questions, which is why you can depend on the professionals at RJ Kuhn in Oswego, IL. to provide accurate answers to any of the questions you may have. Call us and ask to speak to one of our team members or schedule an appointment to have one of our professionals to personally assist you in the comfort of your own home.