Tips to Improve The Effectiveness of Your A/C Unit

Tips to Improve The Effectiveness of Your A/C Unit

April 6, 2020

Summertime is upon us, and here at JD’s A/C we want to help you stay in the know on how to improve the effectiveness of your A/C unit! 

Here are some simple ways you can get the most out of your A/C unit

  1. Close windows and doors 
  2. Plug leaks in your attic, doors, and windows
  3. Set, or program your thermostat and forget about it 
  4. Keep your condenser in the shade 
  5. Maintain regular filter changes
  6. Maximize airflow around your condenser 
  7. Invest in a zoning system 
  8. Set your thermostat to a reasonable temperature
  9. Keep up with regular maintenance of your unit 

Close Windows and Doors 

It is highly recommended that you close all windows and doors when the air conditioner is turned on. This will keep the cool air inside the room and keep the temperature moderate. In addition to cooling efficiency, leaving the windows open will also put stress on the air conditioner. This is because the open windows let warm air inside. This extra stress may cause the air conditioner to become faulty prematurely.

Plug Leaks Around The Home

When it is said that the room should be leak-proof, it means that warm air from the outside shouldn’t come in.

  • Make sure that the doors and windows are closed
  • Check for small spaces under or on the side of the door
  • Check near the windowsill for any gaps in the panels that can let cool air out and warm air in

Your AC is designed in a way that it turns off automatically to conserve power and improve efficiency. If an air conditioning unit does not turn off, it will run on a constant basis, causing your electric bill to be higher than it should, or needs to be! 

Ready, Set, Program Your Unit

Programmable thermostats function optimally when your home and away intervals are 8 to 10 hours each. Frequent adjustments to your thermostat cost you more energy, while constant temperatures boost the efficiency. Each degree beyond the recommended temperature of 78-degrees, will increase your heating and cooling costs by 2%. 

Here are helpful tips on how to adjust your thermostat to save money year round! 

Cooling Settings

  • Start the day with the thermostat set to 78 degrees.
  • Program a 7-degree setback that starts before you leave.
  • Have the thermostat lower the indoor temperature to 78 degrees before your arrival in the evening.
  • For additional savings, set the temperature back by 4 degrees at night.

Heating Settings

    • During the coldest months you should keep your thermostat around 68 degrees when you’re home.
    • Set the thermostat to warm your home to this temperature before you wake up. 
    • Start the first 8-degree setback when you leave the house in the morning.
    • Program a temperature increase before you return in the evening.

  • Schedule another 8-degree setback at your bedtime.

Keep Your Condenser In The Shade

Keeping your condenser in the shade can improve not only the efficiency of your unit, but the energy cost on your bill too! Planting trees to shade your air conditioner can make the unit 10% more efficient, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Planting just three trees in strategic areas near the compressor can reduce your annual cooling costs by $100 to $250 depending on the size of your cooling unit.

Shade trees keep outdoor temperatures down by cooling the air around them and blocking unrelenting sunlight from heating the ground. After a long day of absorbing heat, the ground releases it into the air and makes your air conditioner work harder than it needs to. 

However, when shading your ac unit, here is a couple NO-NO’s: 

  • Don’t restrict the airflow around your unit. This includes providing plenty of clearance for low-hanging trees, bushes, and any other shrubbery.
  • Don’t allow vegetation like leaves, moss, or any other materials clog your unit
  • Keep a reasonable distance around your condenser 

Change Your Filters Regularly 

It’s important to change the air filter for your heating and air conditioning system every month. Regularly replacing your air filters will provide several benefits. 

  • It helps extend the lifespan of your HVAC unit, as the most common reason for heating and cooling equipment breakdowns is a dirty air filter. When dirt accumulates, air can’t pass through, reducing the life of your equipment causing system overheating issues. 
  • Changing your air filters can also keep energy costs down. A clean air filter puts less strain on the equipment, so your HVAC system will consume less energy to keep you comfortable. 
  • In addition, new air filters will help maintain good indoor air quality. Clean air filters can prevent dirt and allergens from entering your home. This helps protect people suffering from allergies. 
  • Replacing your filter every month is also inexpensive and easy. Keeping your heating and cooling system clean can prevent unplanned repairs from happening in the future. 

As experienced HVAC service providers, we recommend paying close attention to your air filters during the winter and summer months. Be sure to schedule yearly maintenance to maximize  and maintain the life of your unit.

Maximize Airflow Around Your Condenser 

Don’t do something like build a deck over your condenser to conceal it. Interfering with airflow around your condenser unit will make your air conditioning system work harder, which costs you more money. Allow space around it for the air to move and flow freely.

Invest In A Zoning System 

When zoning systems are in use, temperatures can be adjusted in a single area without affecting the rest of the home. Each zone has its own thermostat which communicates with the zoning system – a zoning panel and zone dampers installed within the ductwork that allow the heating or cooling unit to deliver conditioned air to only the zones where it is needed.

Set Thermostat To Reasonable Temperature 

Setting your thermostat to 78-degrees Fahrenheit is the most efficient setting for your AC unit during the warmer months. Keeping your home’s temperature at a lower degree, such as 72-degrees for example, could increase your cooling cost by as much as 47%! 

Keep Up With Routine Maintenance

When your air conditioner needs more than regular maintenance, hire a professional service technician with JD’s AC. One of our well-trained technicians will find and repair problems with your AC unit! 

Our Certified HVAC Technician will:

  • Check to insure the correct amount of refrigerant
  • Test for refrigerant leaks 
  • Capture any refrigerant that must be evacuated from the system, properly disposing of it
  • Check for and seal duct leakage in central systems
  • Measure airflow through the evaporator coil
  • Verify the correct electric control sequence
  • Inspect electric terminals, clean and tighten connections, and apply a non-conductive coating if necessary
  • Oil motors and check belts for tightness and wear, repairing if needed
  • Check the accuracy of the thermostat and efficiency

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Improve Indoor Air Quality and Enjoy A Snug Winter in Longview

Air filter duct

Improve Indoor Air Quality and Enjoy A Snug Winter in Longview

Jan 20, 2015

Air filter duct

When you picture pollution, images of smoke stacks and vehicle exhaust probably come to mind. However, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air quality is often several times worse than outdoor air, even in the most polluted city. Here’s how to prevent indoor air pollution in your Longview home so you can breathe easier this winter.

Increase Air Ventilation

One reason indoor air quality suffers today is because of the obsession with creating more energy-efficient homes. While the goal to save money on energy bills is commendable, living in an airtight home can have a negative impact on indoor air quality.

Instead of surrendering to higher energy bills by opening the windows on cold days for a rush of fresh air, use ventilation when appropriate. For example, run the kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans when cooking or cleaning. If you’re repainting the bedroom, block off the room and open the window to dissipate the fumes.

You can even have a whole-house ventilation system installed. This systematically replaces the air in your home with fresh outdoor air while preheating it on its way in. This prevents energy bills from getting out of hand while introducing much-needed fresh air to the space.

Know What’s in the Air

Some pollutants are obvious because of the smells they give off, but others are more clandestine. Take radon for example. This radioactive gas rises up from the ground, entering your home through the basement. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. You can’t smell it, but you can check for it with an inexpensive testing kit. If you discover high levels, speak with a contractor about installing pipes to divert rising radon.

Another example is carbon monoxide, a tasteless, odorless, invisible gas resulting from incomplete combustion. All fossil fuel-burning appliances give off carbon monoxide, but under normal conditions, it’s vented safely outside. To ensure this remains the case, install carbon monoxide detectors in your home to alert you of a potentially deadly leak.

Reduce Indoor Chemical Use

The most common chemicals used indoors are household cleaners. Switch to natural cleaning products that don’t use chemicals to get the job done. When harsh cleaning agents are necessary, use them sparingly and run an exhaust fan or open a window to ventilate the space.

You might not think of them, but items such as air fresheners, candles, aerosol sprays, paint and strong adhesives introduce chemicals into the air as well. These chemicals are called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). To lessen your exposure to them at home, look for labels that indicate the product is low or no VOC.

Use a More Efficient Furnace Filter

The filter that came with your furnace isn’t designed to prevent indoor air pollution. All it does is trap dust, dirt, hair and other large particles with the purpose of protecting the furnace blower from this debris. Large particles are rarely the source of respiratory problems.

What you need is an air filter with a higher minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating. The higher the number, the smaller the particles it can trap. To balance cost and filtering efficiency, aim for MERV 7 or 8. Anything that exceeds 12 on the MERV scale is likely too dense for residential applications. To counteract airflow restrictions and maintain proper furnace function, you may need to have the furnace blower motor adjusted if you install a filter with a denser weave.

Run an Electronic Air Cleaner

A higher-efficiency filter is a great place to start, but to prevent indoor air pollution from irritating sensitive individuals, you should consider an electronic air cleaner. These come in many forms. One popular option is a portable unit you can run in the bedroom.

For whole-house air cleaning capabilities, replace the furnace filter with a professionally installed air cleaner. This type of unit extracts up to 30 times as much dust and debris as media filters. This could make a huge difference for people with severe allergies or asthma.

Care for a Few Houseplants

Potted English ivy, Boston fern, spider plant, areca palm and peace lily are natural air filters. These varieties in particular are capable of removing toxins, such as formaldehyde, benzene, xylene and other VOCs. They don’t require electricity to operate, nor do they look out of place in your home. To enjoy noticeably cleaner air, place two plants per 100 square feet.

If you like these tips to prevent indoor air pollution, contact JD’s A/C in Longview for more useful indoor air quality tips.

Image Provided by Shutterstock.com

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Does Your Kilgore Furnace Go Bump in the Night?

Man holding hand up to ear

Does Your Kilgore Furnace Go Bump in the Night?

Dec 11, 2014

Man holding hand up to ear

Some furnace noises are just normal mechanical sounds while other noises can mean mechanical malfunction. There are many online discussions about furnace noises because so many people experience the same thing in their Hallsville or Gladwater homes. The fact is, there are a variety of sources for furnace noise — some serious, some signaling the need for future attention, and some that are noises you may choose to live with. Learn how to distinguish what those furnace noises are and how seriously you need to take them.

What’s That Noise?

Furnace noise comes in a variety of pops, bangs, whistles and whines, rattles and hums. While you should always get a professional to diagnose a noise properly, here’s a brief list of sounds your furnace may be making:

  • Low rumble
  • Squeal
  • Motor hum
  • Rattling
  • Boom or popping when heat comes on
  • Whistling from vents
  • Clicking

What to Do?

Troubleshooting these various noises and their causes is obviously for the expert, but it never hurts to have a better understanding of how your system works, and awareness as to what might go wrong.

Most of us grow familiar with the sounds the heating system makes during normal operation, so it can be disturbing when we notice something new. Sometimes, if you address the noise quickly, you can prevent further deterioration and a costly repair. 

Let’s analyze some of the noises listed above, and the implications for the system once the problem arises.

  • Low rumble: When you hear a rumble from the furnace, it could be that the air filter isn’t doing its job of keeping contamination out of the system. Check the filter and change it if it’s dirty.
     
  • High-pitched squeal: This sound can result from ball bearings that need lubrication.
     
  • Low hum: A humming sound can be a signal that a motor is failing. If a motor has been overworked and hasn’t had the proper maintenance, it may start to die. 
     
  • Rattling: If the rattling is due to carbon monoxide leaks from a cracked heat exchanger, this requires urgent attention. 
     
  • Popping or booms: Sometimes these booms or pops are caused by the ductwork expanding as the system comes on. Often, after a duct cleaning, homeowners report that these sounds weren’t occurring before. That’s because prior to cleaning, the pressure in the ducts was diminished by dirt and debris on the duct walls, the fan, the coils and in the return vents. After cleaning, the pressure is more intense and the popping or boom ensues. 

    Systems that haven’t been cleaned may also produce booms or pops when the heating comes on and as the duct walls expand.

    Popping and booming may also be caused by delayed ignition due to dirt buildup on the burners. Test for this condition by having someone stand by the furnace while you call for heat at the thermostat. If you hear a boom within the furnace many seconds or even minutes after the adjustment to the thermostat, or if flame from the burners doesn’t appear for a good while, chances are you have a clogged burner. Make sure you get it cleaned, or you could risk a cracked heat exchanger. 
     

  • Whistling vents: Whistling vents are probably not a major issue, and if whistling is caused by an improperly sized vent cover, it may be an issue you just have to learn to live with. If the whistling proves too annoying, you might lower the fan speed — but only in winter. You shouldn’t do this when the air conditioner is on or you could risk freezing the coils.
     
  • Clicking: This can be due to a variety of causes, including a loose fan in an older oil-powered furnace, worn bearings in the fan, a faulty gas valve (intermittent clicking), faulty pilot light with gas furnaces, gas issues or faulty wiring.

    If you have an older oil-powered furnace and you hear clicking, chances are its due to a worn fan. Soot buildup can also impede the performance of the fan. Worn bearings should be replaced immediately before the motor burns out, while a faulty gas valve should be fixed by the homeowner’s gas provider.

    Pilot lights can wear out over time, and may need to be replaced. Don’t hesitate to call a professional when you have pilot light issues. 

JD’s A/C is here to help you diagnose the reasons for any mysterious furnace noise and other HVAC issues you may have. We serve Longview and the surrounding area. 

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