Answers to Your Frequently Asked Air Conditioning Questions
Two telltale signs that you should consider an air conditioner replacement are unit age and energy costs. Older A/C units use more energy because they run longer and are less efficient at cooling your home. If your existing central air conditioner is 10 or more years old or needs frequent repair service—it’s costing you more than it should. Upgrade to an energy-efficient unit and start saving.
Several factors can cause an air conditioner to freeze up, including low refrigerant, improper air flow, or a malfunctioning fan. Running an air conditioner with frozen coils can damage the compressor, which is the most expensive part of any A/C unit. Avoid a costly breakdown—turn it off and schedule an appointment with a reputable HVAC contractor like Seider for service.
It’s important to have your cooling system maintained annually—it will run more efficiently and need fewer repairs if you keep it clean. We’ll also inspect it, inside and out, and make any small adjustments or repairs needed to prevent a sudden failure later in the season. For central air, schedule service in spring, once outside temperatures reach 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If you use a heat pump to cool your home, it should be at least 65 degrees for the most effective annual maintenance.
All providers cover their costs by charging a fee for in-home estimates—many just bury it in their quote. That’s why Seider is upfront about our current fee of $89. After that, repairs are based on a flat-rate for time and materials. Our service tech will give you an accurate price for a repair and thoroughly explain the service before getting your approval to do the work, but the $89 will always apply.
For every degree you set your thermostat above 72 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll save about eight percent on cooling costs. If that feels too warm, start lower and raise the setting gradually—just one degree a day—until you’re used to feeling comfortable without over-cooling your home. In addition, follow these tips:
- Have your air conditioner cleaned annually.
- Change your air filter at the appropriate times.
- Run washing machines and dishwashers in the evening—hang clothes outside to dry whenever possible.
- Use compact fluorescent lighting.
- Keep curtains and shades closed during the day to keep out the sun’s warm rays.
- Install and use a programmable thermostat.
Moisture around your furnace can be normal condensation in summer, but too much water for an extended period of time can indicate a malfunction in your cooling system. Your air conditioner could have a low charge and need refrigerant or the filter may need changing. Check the coils and if you see ice, turn off your unit so it can thaw, but call us for professional repair services.
Dirty air filters are usually the main culprit. If your filters are dirty, they force your air conditioning system to work harder, which will cause it to overheat. If changing your filter doesn’t help, you may be overdue for a cleaning and tune-up. It could also mean your unit is improperly sized and too small for your home. Let our techs do an inspection and recommend the appropriate solution to get you back to cool comfort.
A dehumidifier is an effective way to keep humidity levels in check during the sticky summer months. When your indoor humidity stays between 30 and 50 percent, you’ll feel more comfortable and your air conditioner will run more efficiently. You’ll also prevent mold and mildew growth, have healthier indoor air quality, and protect wood floors and furniture from warping.
As long as you’ve taken proper care of your unit through filter changes and regular maintenance, it’s perfectly safe to run your air conditioner if it still has R-22 refrigerant. But since R-22 is being phased out, recharging your coolant supply is going to be costly. And considering that air conditioning systems containing it are at least 10 years old and much less energy efficient, carefully consider replacement before investing in a major repair.
A digital thermostat panel can go blank for simple reasons such as a tripped circuit breaker, dead batteries, or a triggered safety switch. If your thermostat doesn’t come back online after checking these, it could be a loose connection or other problem that requires help from one of our HVAC experts.