A/C Not Reaching Its Seer? Diagnose the Cause
A high-efficiency air conditioner is a great way to save on energy bills during the long hot Florida summers. If you’re not seeing the savings you expected from your high-efficiency A/C, it’s probably experiencing less than ideal operating conditions. Air conditioners get their seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) from measurements performed in a laboratory under ideal conditions. Conditions in your home that are significantly different from those ideal conditions can contribute to your A/C not reaching its SEER.
Improper refrigerant charge
One of the things an air conditioner is most sensitive to is the charge of its refrigerant system. Your A/C should have been properly charged upon installation, but if a leak develops, refrigerant will escape. Supplying the incorrect amount of refrigerant is a common mistake of improper installations. Because it’s dependent upon the length of the refrigerant lines, undercharging is particularly common on systems with long lines.
Air conditioners also require a specific rate of airflow across their coils to achieve efficient operation. Proper ductwork design and an appropriate choice of an air handler are responsible for achieving this, but sometimes ductwork can develop problems that increase its resistance to airflow. A duct cleaning may be required if so much dust and debris has built up in the ductwork that it’s affecting airflow. You also need to be sure to keep furniture or other objects from obstructing registers and to replace the air filter when it’s dirty or once every three months.
Air leakage from ductwork is a common source of inefficiency, especially in older homes. Leaks allow cool air to escape to places where it’s not useful and hot air to infiltrate into circulation. It’s best to seal duct joints with mastic, but certain metal-backed tapes are also sufficient.
The best way to find the source of your A/C not reaching its SEER is with an annual A/C maintenance visit. The check-up from a qualified contractor will reveal if there are any problems with refrigerant charge, airflow or leakage.
For this or any other home comfort needs, contact Cox Air Conditioning & Heating. We serve Clearwater, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Palm Harbor, Trinity and West Chase.
Getting the Most Bang for Your Energy Buck
Energy prices are rising, and American homes are responding by cutting back. However, it’s not necessary to give up the comfort to which you’ve grown accustomed. With some smart energy efficiency changes, you can watch your electric bill drop down without sacrificing more than you need.
Where to Save the Most Money on Energy Bills
When you get your energy bill every month, it’s not abundantly clear where you consume all the electricity. By knowing where you’re using the most, you can cut back in the biggest areas first and save the most money. Your heating and air conditioning expenses make up almost half of your energy bill. It’s even more in summer months. Use these tips to cut your bill down to size:
- Schedule Maintenance instead of Responding to Repairs – Like the car you drive, your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system needs regular maintenance. By scheduling routine maintenance in spring and fall, you keep your system running in top condition for summer and winter. A system running at peak performance will lower your electricity bill. You’ll cut out the cost of emergency repair too.
- Use a Programmable Thermostat – You probably don’t want to monitor the box where you adjust your household temperature every day. By installing a programmable thermostat, it will automatically adjust the temperature when you’re sleeping or working. You save money because your AC is off or using less electricity each day.
- Upgrade an Old Air Conditioner – If you’re using a system older than 10 years, then all of your efforts will only make a small dent in your energy bill. Upgrade to a modern system with the highest energy efficiency rating, also called SEER. You can cut your cooling costs in half, and the lower energy bills will offset the initial cost of the new system.
- Replace Old Furnaces – In Florida, furnaces are typically used less often than air conditioners. However, an old furnace can cause the same high energy bills as an old AC. If your heating costs eat up your budget, then consider an upgrade.
The next most energy-consuming device in your home is your water heater, accounting for 14 percent of average American energy costs. First, turn down the temperature setting if your water comes out very hot. By heating it less, you won’t spend as much on electricity. Also, try to cut back on the hot water you use. By using a cold-water detergent in your washing machine, you’ll see another drop in your electric bill. Likewise, check your dishwasher for an energy saver feature. It can also cut back on this cost.
Cox Air Conditioning and Heating in Palm Harbor FL
Cox has been installing and servicing HVAC systems in Clearwater and Palm Harbor, FL, and surrounding regions for over 50 years. Call us today to discover more about upgrading to energy saving air conditioners.
Allergy Sufferers: Prepare for Spring Now
Spring is known as the season of new birth. The spring months bring with them warmer days, pleasant breezes and blooming flowers, trees and grasses. Unfortunately, these beautiful blooms can cause serious distress to individuals who suffer from allergy problems. If you or someone in your family suffers from seasonal allergies, preparing for spring now will help you make the most of these warmer months in beautiful St. Petersburg, FL. Remember that seasonal pollen can also aggravate individuals who suffer from asthma, COPD and other respiratory diseases. Taking steps to prevent these problems now will ensure that everyone in your family can truly enjoy spring.
Are Allergy Problems Following You Indoors?
Many allergy sufferers hide out in their homes when flowers, trees and grasses release pollen into the air. Retreating into your home may provide some relief, but it’s important to pay attention to whether or not your symptoms also follow you indoors. Remember that pollens and pollutants can move into your home through windows, doors, vents and leaks in your roof, walls and floorboards.
How is Your Indoor Air Quality?
If retreating into your home provides no relief from seasonal allergies, you should consider have air quality testing conducted. A professional HVAC technician can assess the indoor air quality (IAQ) in your home to ensure that everyone in your family is breathing clean, healthy air. During an IAQ test, the technician will measure the levels of all of the following:
- Dust, pollen and dander.
- Mold and mildew.
- Particle pollutants such as car exhaust, industrial fumes and smog.
- Chemicals present in carpets, draperies and other household products.
- Carbon monoxide.
After air quality testing is finished, your technician will provide you with in-depth information about the pollutants present in your home. If possible, your technician will also pinpoint possible causes of poor IAQ. It may be necessary to examine heating and cooling ducts to determine if dust, dander, pollen, mold or mildew have collected in these spaces.
Clearing The Air with An Air Purification System
Finding out that your home suffers from poor IAQ can be upsetting. However, you can rest assured that you do have options when it comes to cleansing the air in your home. Using an air purification system is a great way to filter pollutants while ensuring that clean, refreshing air can circulate throughout your home. Air purifiers can be used as stand-alone devices in a single room or can be connected to your home’s central heating and cooling system.
Working with qualified HVAC professionals is the best way to ensure that the air purifier you choose for your home will truly meet your needs. At Cox Air Conditioning & Heating, we specialize in serving the needs of residential and commercial customers throughout the St. Petersburg area. We will be happy to conduct IAQ testing in your home and can help you find an air purifier that will allow everyone in your family to breathe easy. Give us a call today.
What Should Be on an Air Conditioning Preventive Maintenance Checklist?
In hot, humid climates like those in Clearwater, Florida, most people consider an air conditioner a necessity for comfort. People rarely think about their air conditioners until there is a malfunction. Regular maintenance ensures that heating and cooling systems work at optimum levels. A well-maintained unit needs fewer repairs and lasts longer. Since heating and cooling account for almost half of household fuel usage, keeping equipment in good working order helps save on utility bills by using less energy.
Preventive Maintenance Checklist
Seasonal check-ups for furnaces and air conditioners are recommended by most manufacturers as part of the conditions of warranty coverage. Regular tune-ups keep a unit running efficiently. What should be done as part of a preventive maintenance program for air conditioners? The checklist below explains what should be included:
- Check and balance refrigerant levels. Coolant that is too high or too low affects efficiency. A reduction in coolant levels of even 10 percent can increase operating costs by 20 percent.
- Clean or replace air filter. Dirty air filters are the primary cause of breakdowns that require air conditioning repair. Dirty air filters make a unit work harder and affect indoor air quality. Airborne particulates are re-circulated through the system and blown into the air you breathe.
- Clean, level and calibrate thermostat. Energy usage increases by 8 percent for each degree a thermostat is lowered. Dirt in the housing affects temperature readings. A thermostat that has been bumped and loses its level also affects calibration.
- Inspect and clean condenser and evaporator coils. Dirty coils reduce energy efficiency and make the compressor run longer.
- Inspect wiring and connections. Frayed wiring is a fire hazard. Improper connections affect voltage and flow of current, which can damage a unit.
- Make sure the unit cycles on and off properly. The system should turn on, run through a full cycle and shut off properly.
- Clean compressor housing. Leaves, dirt and debris affect air flow. If the compressor is in full sun, plant shrubs nearby, not closer than 3 feet, to provide shade.
- Check and clean drains and tubing. Clogged drains keep moisture from leaving the system. Water can back up and damage not only the unit but nearby structural elements of the building. Excess water in the system affects indoor humidity.
- Oil all moving parts. Sluggish fans and motors make a unit work harder.
- Check blower and grilles to ensure that air moves freely. Restricted airflow can reduce efficiency by up to 15 percent.
About Cox Air Conditioning and Heating
Cox Air has served Clearwater FL, Pinellas County and nearby areas since 1958. We are a Carrier Factory Authorized Dealer, which means we follow Carrier’s best business practices and guarantee 100 percent customer satisfaction. Our technicians are certified by North American Technician Excellence (NATE), the industry leader in HVAC and refrigeration technician certification.
We also offer:
- 24-hour emergency service for heating and air conditioning repair
- Residential and commercial installation, service and repair
- Service for all brands and models of HVAC equipment
- Annual maintenance agreements
- Saturday service from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Attractive financing