Check out our store for energy conservation books and online training for energy auditors and other job skills.
Central air conditioners consume a lot of electricity. Without regular service, your air conditioner’s efficiency can fall by as much as 50%. Proper maintenance and repair will save energy and money, while extending the life of your air conditioning equipment.
Air conditioners are complicated. Specialized tools and training are required to service them, so hire an air-conditioning professional. A service visit is also a good time to learn more about how your system works, and how to perform basic maintenance tasks. Ask your service technician to perform the measures outlined below during the service call. Don’t hesitate to pay the extra cost of comprehensive air-conditioner service.
Your filter should protect your blower from dirt. If the blower is dirty, then the air-conditioning coil is probably dirty also.
- Inspect the ductwork for loose joints and other leaks. Air leaks can waste a lot of energy, and should be sealed. Use duct mastic for this job, not duct tape.
- Clean the blower so that it moves air more efficiently.
- Oil the motors and check the belts for tightness and wear.
- Verify the airflow by measurement. Improper airflow can substantially effect efficiency. The airflow should be around 400 cfm per ton of air-conditioning capacity.
- Clean the indoor evaporator and outdoor condenser coil. If it doesn’t have an access panel, install one.
- Check the refrigerant charge and adjust if needed. Remember that the law requires refrigerant to be recaptured when units are recharged.
- Straighten any bent films on the condenser and evaporator coils.
- Inspect the electric terminals. Clean and tighten the connections.
- Inspect the thermostat to ensure that it provides a reliable reading.
- Install a programmable thermostat to adjust your home’s temperature automatically. The programmable thermostat increases the temperature setting while you’re gone, then returns the home to a more comfortable setting before you return.
By having professional service performed on your air conditioning system, you’ll enjoy increased comfort while reducing your cooling costs.
For more information on air conditioning see The Homeowners Handbook to Energy Efficiency , Your Home Cooling Energy Guide, Chapter 8 of Residential Energy: Cost Savings and Comfort for Existing Buildings or for specific information about servicing air conditioners for energy efficiency, see Saturn Hydronic Systems Field Guide.