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75+ Ways To Lower Cooling Tab – Part 7 

Without Replacing Your HVAC System

(Most Of These Ways Also Lower Heating Bills)

©

This Is Part-7 Of Our Article — Click Here To Read Part-1: AlsPlumbing.com 50 Ways to Lower Cooling Costs Part-1

Lower Cooling Tab — 75+ Ways.  This is Part-7 Of Our Article About How To Lower Your Cooling Tab Without Replacing Your HVAC System.   This part is focused on; HVAC System’s Recurring, Routine Maintenance — which lowers your cooling tab by up to -75% AND- makes your A/C last up to +75% longer. 

Al’s Plumbing, in Plano, Texas Provides Full-Service Plumbing; Maintenance, Repairs, and Replacements For Every Plumbing Component In Your Home. We sell and install gas and electric water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in; Murphy, TX; Rowlette, TX; and Wylie, Texas.  We service all homes in southern Collin County, TX, and northeastern Dallas County, TX with no additional travel charges.

Call Al’s Today To Discuss Any Concerns Or Problems You Have With Your Home’s Plumbing. 

We will arrange an appointment at your convenience.

Part-7 Discusses Central A/C Maintenance: 

  • Recurring, Routine Owner Maintenance
  • Central A/C Components Cleaning (when needed)
  • Annual Spring Central A/C Turn-Up 

In 10 Identical Homes — Energy-Use Behaviors Accounted For Up To +160% More Energy Use **   

  • A study evaluated energy use in 10 identical Habitat for Humanity, all-electric homes located in Homestead, FL.
  • The home with the lowest annual electricity use was around 7,800 kWh.
  • The home with the highest annual electricity use was around 20,800 kWh.
  • The highest home’s energy use was around 2.6 times that of the lowest.
  • Though not identified — lack of HVAC System maintenance likely was a large factor in the tremendously high home energy bills.

These Findings Demonstrate How Energy Use Behaviors Affect Energy Consumption & Bills.

** Source: https://www.aceee.org/files/proceedings/2010/data/papers/2117.pdf


Areas With The Largest Impact On Energy Bills

2015 Household Energy Consumption By Type: ***

  • 15%  Heating *4
  • 17%  Air Conditioning
  • 14%  Water Heating *4
  • 12% Cooking, washer, dishwasher, dehumidifier, pool pump, pool heater, hot tub
  • 10%  Lighting
  •   7% Refrigerator
  •   7% TV’s & Related Equipment
  •   5% Clothes Dryer  *4
  • 13% All other uses

*** Source: https://www.eia.gov/consumption/residential/

*4  This percentage is likely higher with electric heat.  A/C percentage is likely higher in southern 1/3 of U.S.


11. Central Air Conditioner & Furnace: 

Required Recurring Maintenance, Components Cleaning, & Annual Tune-Up

Can Lower Cooling Tab By Up to -75%

When Cooling Bills Become Lower — It Means The HVAC System Is Running Less (and will last longer).

Neglected systems must run longer & harder.  This results in; higher cooling bills, less comfort — AND — more frequent breakdowns & replacements of the HVAC System.

dirty air filter on left. New air filter on right. dirty central air conditioner dirty and clean a/c cooling coil

Image Source: CanStockPhoto                                 Image Sources (center & right) Shutterstock

Dirty Air Filter                                  Dirty Outdoor Unit                                      Dirty Indoor Cooling Coil

Let’s Turn This Into $

A Neglected Central A/C System — Costs Up To +3/4 More To Cool Your Home.

And, It Must Run +75% Longer — It Wears Out Up To +3/4 Faster Than A Well-Maintained System.

The Replacement Costs Shown Below Can Occur Up To -75% Sooner — Due To Lack Of A/C Maintenance.

          Replacement HVAC System — Size Needed & Installed Cost:

  • Average Installed Cost For HVAC System (Furnace + A/C) = $42.50 Per Square Foot Of Living Space
  • Cost Range per square foot Of Living Space = $25-60.

Here’s A Sizing Guide From American Standard / Trane HVAC:

  • Home Square Feet             A/C Size   **                    Replacement Cost (without new ductwork).
  • up to 1,000                               1.5 tons / 18,000 BTU’s    $ 4,250.
  • 1001-1500                                 2 tons / 24,000 BTU’s      $ 6,350.
  • 1501-2000                                3 tons / 36,000 BTU’s      $ 8,500.
  • 2001-2500                                4 tons / 48,000 BTU’s     $12,750.
  • 2501-3300                                5 tons / 60,000 BTU’s.   $20,000.

Note: 5 tons is the largest residential Central A/C available.

** Source: https://www.americanstandardair.com/resources/for-your-home/what-size-ac-unit-do-i-need/

Two-Zone HVAC — For Homes 4,000 Square Feet & Larger

  • A Two-Zone HVAC System has; 2 Furnaces, 2 A/C Units, & 2 Ductwork Systems.
  • 1 Zone can handle 2,000 – 3,000 square feet.
  • Add +$8,500.00 For Each Additional HVAC Zone to cool/heat +2,000–3,000 square feet.
  • With 2 Zone HVAC Typically:
  • 1 System often serves (only) the Daytime Space & 1 System serves the Bedrooms.
  • This allows you to lower the amount of cooling/heating in areas not currently being used.

Final HVAC System Cost Depends On

  • Equipment Brand.
  • Equipment Grade.

There Are 3 Grades Of HVAC Equipment:  “Good”, “Better”, “Best”.

  • A “Good” System has the lowest efficiency allowed & 1 operating speed.

13-Seer A/C + 90% Furnace in northern states.

14-Seer A/C + 80% Furnace in southern states.

  • A “Better” System is mid-efficiency & 1-speedOR (might have) 2-Speeds.

Currently, a mid-efficiency central a/c is SEER-18.

  • A “Best” System offers the highest efficiency available — and is Variable-Speed.

Currently, the highest central a/c efficiency is SEER-25.


When Neglected — These 4 Impact Cooling & Heating Costs (& System Lifespan) The Most:

  • Dirty Furnace Air Filter — Increases Cooling Tab — Up To +15%.
  • Dirty Indoor Cooling-Coil — Increases Cooling Tab — Up To +19%.

Note: The Indoor Cooling Coil is inside the furnace or ductwork — and can’t be seen without removing a panel.

  • Dirty Outdoor Unit Coil — Increases Cooling Tab — Up To +30%.
  • Slightly Low Refrigerant Level — Increases Cooling Tab Up To +7.5%.

IN TOTAL: A Badly Neglected Central Air Conditioner — Increases Cooling Costs Up To Nearly +75%.

AND- Wears The System Out Up To +75% Faster.


dirty air filter on left. New air filter on right.

Image Source: Can Stock Photo

Shown: Dirty Air Filter – On Right.

A Clean Air Filter Lowers Cooling Tab (& Heating) — & Extends System Lifespan

By Up To 15% 

The United States Department Of Energy (DOE) States: “A Clean Air Filter Increases Central A/C efficiency By Up To +15%. **

A Dirty Air Filter:

  • Decreases air flow through the furnace.
  • Causes the HVAC System to run longer & harder — while providing less comfort for you.
  • If the filter gets completely clogged — it buckles and air flows around it.
  • This clogs the; A/C Indoor Cooling Coil + Furnace Blower & Blower Motor — further reducing air flow.  It also fills the ductwork with dust.
  • This overworks the A/C outdoor unit (in summer) & overheats the furnace (in winter).  This shortens both of their lifespans.
  • Replacing only the blower costs $750–1500 (depends on furnace size).

clogged and buckled furnace air filter

Image Source: Shutterstock

Shown: Air Filter So Clogged That It’s Buckled (air going around the filter)

TIP: Check your air filter on the 1st day of each month.  This makes it easier to remember.

TIP: See below for how to determine if a filter needs to be replaced.

** Source: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/maintaining-your-air-conditioner


Air Filter Maintenance & Replacement

CHECK: Air Filter Monthly.

CHANGE: MERV 6–13 Air Filters every 1–3 months.

TIP: If the filter still looks white to light gray — use a vacuum cleaner’s “crevice” tool to remove dust buildup within the folds.

TIP: Hold the filter up to the light.  If it looks medium gray or darker — it’s time to replace it.

You’ll Likely Need To Change The Furnace Air Filter More Often If;

  • higher MERV filters clog faster.
  • more people in the home
  • have shedding pets
  • have allergies
  • cook a lot (often creates smoke and/or odor)
  • smoking tobacco inside the home
  • you live near busy streets or highways (auto emissions leak into the home)

Source: https://removeandreplace.com/2020/01/03/what-is-the-merv-rating-for-air-filters-and-which-is-best-for-me/

Source: https://www.rpfedder.com/resources/merv-rating-chart/



What Different Air Filter MERV Ratings Remove From The Air

fiberglass furnace filter

Image Source: Shutterstock

Shown: MERV-1 Furnace Filter

  • MERV stands for: Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value
  • The higher an air filter’s MERV rating, the more pollutants it removes from the air.

BUT

  • The higher an air filter’s MERV rating — the more reduces air flow through the furnace.
  • For this reason, it’s prudent to use only the MERV your home & lifestyle call for.  We provide recommendations below.

TIP: Choose the MERV — that best matches your lifestyle — see details just below.

  • < MERV 6 — mostly protects the furnace.  We don’t recommend filters with a MERV-Rating under 6.
  • MERV 6:     Filters Out: Mold spores, Pet dander, Dust & Lint.
  • MERV 8:     Filters Out MERV-6 items PLUS Pollen, Dust Mites, & Fine dust.
  • MERV 11:   Filters Out MERV-8 items PLUS Auto emissions.
  • MERV 13:  Filters Out MERV-11 items PLUS; Odors, Bacteria, (some) Viruses (some), Cooking smoke, Cigarette smoke, & Ultra-fine dust.  
  • MERV 14+ Are intended mostly for health care facilities & hospitals.

Our Air Filter MERV Recommendations

MERV 11 for Non-Smoking Households. 

MERV 13 for Non-Smoking Households — where a lot of cooking occurs. 

MERV 11 is considered “Better Residential”.

SHOWN: Least Expensive 20×20 MERV-11  — 1″ Thick Air Filter 6-Pack ***

Image Source: Amazon.com Embedded Link

Click On Image To; See Product, Read Details, or Purchase From Amazon.com (directly from this site).

TIP:  Check the existing filter to know which size you need.

TIP:  The Merv Rating tells the caliber of the filter — regardless of its price.  A lower-priced filter (with the same Merv Rating) — works as well as a higher-priced filter. 

 

MERV 13 for Smoking Households.   

Merv-13 is considered “Superior Residential”. 

SHOWN: Least Expensive 20×20 MERV-13   1″ Thick Air Filter 6Pack ***

Image Source: Amazon.com Embedded Link

Click On Image To; See Product, Read Details, or Purchase From Amazon.com (directly from this site).

TIP: Click on the image above to see all filter sizes available from this company.

*** Amazon’s least expensive filter of this MERV Rating & Size — at the time this article was written.



A Clean Indoor Cooling Coil Decreases Cooling/Heating Costs (& Extends System Lifespan)

By Up To 19% 

dirt and clean a/c outdoor coil

Image Source: Shutterstock

Shown: Dirty & Molded A/C Indoor Cooling Coil (left) — Coil After Cleaning (right)

NOTE:  The Indoor Cooling-Coil (technically called: “evaporator coil”) Is Inside The Furnace or Ductwork — And Can’t Be Seen Without Removing A Panel.

Image Source: Shutterstock

Shown: This HVAC System’s Cooling Coil Is Inside The Furnace (on the right side, behind the yellow device)

How The Indoor Cooling Coil Works:

  • Cool refrigerant flows inside the coil.
  • The home’s indoor air passes through the coil while the furnace blower is running.
  • This coil removes heat & humidity from the air.
  • Because the coil is cold — humidity condenses on it.  A drain system takes the water outdoors.
  • A dirty Indoor Cooling Coil reduces air flow — causing the A/C to run longer & harder.
  • A clean Indoor Cooling Coil lowers both cooling & heating costs — because air flows through this coil year-round.

Note: The furnace moves 400 Cubic Feet of air per Minute (CFM) — for each ton (12,000 BTUs) of cooling capacity. ***  A 3-ton A/C System’s furnace moves 1,200 CFM of air when it’s running.  This draws lots of dust into the indoor cooling coil.  The coil can become increasingly clogged if not cleaned when needed.

  • Even the best air filters allow some dust through.
  • During summer, this coil is WET (because it removes humidity) — dust sticks to the wet coil easily.
  • Dust & water create a perfect environment for MOLD growth.
  • If this coil is molded — the furnace blows mold spores all over your home each time it runs.
  • The photo (link just below) — shows dust clogging the indoor cooling coil PLUS most of the coil is black with mold.

TIP: If Your A/C Smells Musty When It First Turns On — It’s Likely The Indoor Cooling Coil Is Dirty, and May Have Mold.

Click On This Link To See A Very Dirty & Molded Indoor Cooling Coil: Very Dirty & Molded Coil — Before & After Cleaning

(If Link Doesn’t Work — Copy This Into Your Browser)

https://www.google.com/search?q=evaporator+coil+before+and+after+cleaning&tbm=isch&ved=2ahUKEwjq79uxkZn4AhXjj2oFHXR7AysQ2-cCegQIABAA&oq=evaporator+coil+before+and+after+cleaning&gs_lcp=CgNpbWcQAzoECCMQJ1DXLlj9M2D6NmgBcAB4AIABWIgBwAKSAQE0mAEAoAEBqgELZ3dzLXdpei1pbWfAAQE&sclient=img&ei=fRyeYqq9EuOfqtsP9PaN2AI&bih=521&biw=1097#imgrc=2trHn9Jjl9dZ8M


A Dirty Indoor Cooling Coil Can Be Cleaned At The Annual Spring Tune-Up (typically at an extra charge).

-OR-

You Can Do This Yourself

CAUTION: First, You Must Turn The Electricity Off — At The Furnace’s Shut Off Switch.

TIP: The Furnace Shut Off Switch Is Attached To The Furnace OR Nearby — Within View Of The Furnace. 

TIP: For A GAS Furnace — The Disconnect Typically Looks Like A Light Switch.

Click Here To See A Typical GAS Furnace Shut Off Switch: Gas Furnace Shut Off Switch

If Link Doesn’t Work — Copy This Into Your Brower:

https://www.google.com/search?q=gas+furnace+shut+off+switch&sxsrf=ALiCzsaDUpnsJHx8oyZ9Amk0gsIKaINAfg:1653409128519&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjx6pf-xPj3AhV8rmoFHYjxBroQ_AUoAnoECAIQBA&biw=1097&bih=554&dpr=1.75#imgrc=YQswyylBHcxkTM

TIP: For An Electric Furnace — The Furnace Shut Off  Often Looks Like A Circuit-Breaker Switch — OR Some May Look Like a Light Switch.

TIP: You Can Clean The Indoor Cooling Coil With A Self-Rinsing Foaming Spray Coil-Cleaner

Image Source: Amazon.com Embedded Link

SHOWN: Self-Rinsing A/C Coil Cleaner

Click On Image To; See Product, Read Details or Purchase From Amazon.com (directly from this site).

Amazon’s Website Says: “Clinging Foam Is Completely Self-Rinsing only on The Indoor Cooling Coil.

The Indoor Cooling Coil Removes Humidity — And Gets Wet While The A/C Is Running.  This Creates Self-Rinsing.

SHOWN: A/C Coil-Cleaning Brush

Image Source: Amazon.com Embedded Link

Click On Image To; See Product, Read Details, or Purchase From Amazon.com (directly from this site).

TIP: The Cap On Can Be Used For Coil Cleaning.  Note: The space may be too tight for the cap — So We Show A Coil Cleaning Brush Too.

The Amazon Page Also Says:

  • The aggressive detergent quickly & easily liquefies; dirt, grease, oil, or other residues/deposits.
  • A special 360-degree valve allows spraying in any position.
  • Fortified with Corrosion Inhibitors.
  • Neutralizes odors in water drain-pans
  • Will not harm drain pans.  (Actually, its corrosion-inhibitors help protect metal drain pans).

This YouTube Video Demonstrates How To Clean An Indoor Cooling Coil

Image Source: YouTube Embedded Video

Shown: Clogged & Molded Cooling Coil

TIP: A Frozen Indoor Cooling Coil Is Due To:

  • 1. Too little air flow through the furnace (likely due to a dirty filter).

and/or

  • 2. Low refrigerant charge.

Click Here To See A Frozen Indoor Cooling Coil: Frozen Indoor A/C Cooling Coil

Note: (If Link Doesn’t Work — Copy This Into Your Browser):

https://www.google.com/search?q=dirty+central+a/c+condenser+coil+american+standard&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiTwf3bwODmAhXbW80KHcUGDS4Q_AUoAnoECA0QBA&biw=1280&bih=646&dpr=1.5#imgrc=ILS_BkrDUqiG2M

*5 Source: https://www.airah.org.au/Content_Files/TechnicalPublications/hvac-factsheet-cleaning-coils-09-13.pdf


A Clean A/C Outdoor Unit’s (coil)

 Lowers Cooling Costs By Up To -30% 

Image Source: DreamsTime.com

The U.S. DOE States: “A dirty condenser coil can increase outdoor unit energy consumption by up to 30%.”  **   

Hot Refrigerant Flows Through The Outdoor Unit’s Coil.  The unit’s fan pulls air through the coil to remove the heat from the refrigerant.

  • The Central A/C outdoor unit moves around 900 Cubic Feet of air per Minute (CFM) — per 1 ton (12,000 BTU’s) of cooling capacity. ***
  • A 3-ton  (36,000 BTU) outdoor unit — moves 2,700 CFM of air through it each minute.
  • This draws a lot of contaminants into the outdoor unit’s coil — and it becomes increasingly clogged if not cleaned when needed.

Click Below To See Before & After Cleaning Photos Of An Extremely Dirty Outdoor A/C Unit Coil:

Before & After Cleaning A Completely Clogged Outdoor A/C Unit Coil

Scroll Down To The 2nd Row Of Photos

(If Link Doesn’t Work — Copy This Below Into Your Browser:)

  https://www.google.com/search?q=american+standard+dirty+a%2Fc+condenser+unit&tbm=isch&ved=2ahUKEwie6bOV1sP3AhVWCs0KHSbtAMoQ2-cCegQIABAA&oq=am&gs_lcp=CgNpbWcQARgAMgcIIxDvAxAnMgcIIxDvAxAnMgQIABBDMgQIABBDMgQIABBDMgsIABCABBCxAxCDATIECAAQQzIECAAQQzIECAAQQzIECAAQQzoICAAQsQMQgwE6BAgAEAM6BQgAEIAEOggIABCABBCxAzoKCCMQ7wMQ6gIQJ1DwCViQFmCtJGgCcAB4AIAB9gKIAZQHkgEHMi4xLjEuMZgBAKABAaoBC2d3cy13aXotaW1nsAEKwAEB&sclient=img&ei=4k1xYp7wHNaUtAam2oPQDA&bih=646&biw=1280#imgrc=WwnJz0uUfM-knM

** Source: https://www.buildings.com/article-details/articleid/8282/title/clean-hvac-system-coils-save-energy

*** Source: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/279691120_Impact_of_evaporator_coil_airflow_in_residential_air-conditioning_systems


A Dirty Outside Unit Coil Can Be Cleaned At The Annual Spring Tune-Up (typically at an extra charge)

-OR-

You Can Do This Yourself

CAUTION: First, You Must Turn The Electricity OFF — At The A/C Outdoor Disconnect Box. 

Image Source: DreamsTime.com

Shown: In This Photo — The Outdoor Disconnect Boxes Are Near The 3rd Window.

TIP: There’s A Circuit Box (where you turn it off) Within View Of The Outdoor Unit.  Turn The Electricity Off With The Switch Inside This Box.

TIP: You Can Clean The Outdoor Unit’s Coil With A; Garden Hose, Coil Cleaning Brush, & Spray Coil Cleaner.

TIP: If Your Outdoor Unit Is Covered With “Fuzz” (like the one shown with the link above) — Vacuum The Coil First.

NOTE: This Cleaner Can Be Used Indoors & Outdoors — BUT Outdoors You Must Rinse It Off With A Garden Hose.

SHOWN: Air Conditioner Coil Cleaner

Image Source: Amazon.com Embedded Link

Note: Its cap also serves as a coil-cleaning brush.

Click On Image To; See Product, Read Details or Purchase From Amazon.com (directly from this site).

The Amazon Page Also Says:

  • The aggressive detergent quickly & easily liquefies; dirt, grease, oil, or other residues/deposits.
  • A special 360-degree valve allows spraying in any position.
  • Fortified with Corrosion Inhibitors.
  • Will not harm drain pans.

SHOWN: A/C Coil-Cleaning Brush

Image Source: Amazon.com Embedded Link

Click On Image To; See Product, Read Details, or Purchase From Amazon.com (directly from this site).

TIP: The Cap On The Spray Foam Shown Above Can Be Used For Coil Cleaning.

 

This YouTube Video Demonstrates How To Clean A Central A/C Outdoor Unit’s Coil

TIP: While It’s Best To Remove The A/C’s Housing

If The Coil Isn’t Extremely Dirty —  This Can Be Done Without Removing The Housing.

TIP: If You Can See “Fuzzy” Build Up On The Coil — Remove The Housing And Vacuum The Coil First.



An Annual Spring A/C Tune-Up’s Many Potential Benefits

An Annual Spring A/C Tune-Up Includes

Refrigerant Level Checked & Recharged If Needed (an extra charge).

air conditioner refrigerant and gauges

Shown: Air Conditioner Refrigerant-Tank & Installation Gauges

Image Source: Shutterstock

To cool at maximum efficiency & capacity — an air conditioner (or heat pump) must be Fully Charged With Refrigerant.

  • The lower the refrigerant level — the lower the cooling efficiency.
  • Low refrigerant causes the A/C to run longer & harder.
  • This increases cooling bills AND wears the HVAC System out faster.
  • During peak summer heat — an A/C that’s low on refrigerant likely can’t keep the home cool.

Low refrigerant often results in ice buildup of the indoor cooling coil.  Low refrigerant level causes the indoor coil to absorb enough heat (from indoor air).  This leads to icing.

Low refrigerant causes the indoor coil to get too cold — causing moisture (from humidity removal) to freeze.  A frozen coil leads to the air conditioner running continually — due to reduced air (or no air) moving through the indoor coil.   Left long enough, this condition will damage the outdoor A/C unit.

Click Here To See A Completely Frozen Indoor Cooling Coil: Completely Frozen Indoor Cooling Coil

(If Link Doesn’t Work — Copy This Into Your Browser:)

https://www.google.com/search?q=central+ac+evaporator+coil+frozen&sxsrf=ALiCzsbvAXyH90qBv4skoM2TWhzJ3Mf1gw:1654531191730&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiMtM__mJn4AhX9kWoFHdsTDf0Q_AUoAnoECAEQBA&biw=1097&bih=521&dpr=1.75#imgrc=s5uhPMX7kzFFbM

programmable thermostat

Image Source: Shutterstock

At The Bottom Of The Termostat’s Display Above — You Can See “SYSTEM” On The Left Side & “FAN” In The Center Of The Display At The Bottom.

How To Check For A Frozen Indoor Cooling Coil: 

If The Furnace Blower & Outdoor A/C Unit Are Both Running — But No Air Is Coming Out Of The Ducts:

  • Turn the Outdoor A/C Unit OFF at the thermostat (set the SYSTEM switch to OFF).
  • Set the furnace blower to run continuously.  The FAN’s switch is labeled: “AUTO” & “ON” — set it to ON.
  • Check back in 10 minutes to see if some air is coming from the vents.  If you can, it’s because some of the ice buildup on the Indoor Cooling Coil has melted.
  • Check back again every 10 minutes.  If you feel increasing amounts of air from the vents, more ice has melted.
  • Typically within 1 hour — you’ll feel normal air flow once again.

This Tells You The Indoor Cooling Coil Was Frozen.

TIPS: 

  • Check the furnaces air filter to see if it’s quite dirty or clogged.  If it is — replace it and restart the system.
  • If air flow from the vents remains normal — the freeze-up was due to the dirty air filter.
  • If the filter is clean, or the System freezes again with a new filter installed — call for A/C Service.  The refrigerant is low and needs to be recharged.
  • Don’t continue to run an A/C that’s frozen.  Left long enough, this will damage the Outdoor A/C Unit.
  • Until you can get it serviced, monitor air coming from air vents.  Repeat the defrost effort as often as needed.

For Maximum Cooling Ability & Efficiency (and to prevent freezing) — Refrigerant Must Be At The Correct “Charge” (level). 

  • Refrigerant doesn’t get used up.
  • If Refrigerant Is Low — It’s Due To; a leak (most common), corroded a/c coils, or loose connections somewhere along the refrigerant line.

This YouTube Shows A Badly Corroded Indoor Cooling Coil.

Research On Residential Central A/Cs Determined **

  • 55% — Of Residential A/C Are Undercharged By 10–30%.

Low Refrigerant / Underchared:

  • Reduces cooling capacity by up to -13%.
  • Increases electricity usage by +7.5%.
  • Increases Annual Cooling Costs by $100 per each 1 ton (12,000 BTUs) of A/C capacity — due to low refrigerant charge alone.

Example: A 3-Ton/36,000 BTU’s Central A/C Cools An Average 2,000 Square Feet House — In The Southern 132 Of The U.S.

(The Size Needed May Be Lower Farther North.)

** Source: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2121&context=iracc   (See Conclusions On Page 7).


An Annual Spring A/C Tune-Up Includes:

Diagnostic Inspection.

Recommendation For Components Needing Cleaned (cleaning is typically an extra charge).

Replacement Recommendation(s) For Component(s) — That Are Near Failure. 

Likely Benefits of Spring Central A/C Tune-Up

  • Maximum Cooling Performance, Efficiency, & Indoor Comfort.
  • Lower Cooling Bills.
  • Just because your central A/C is able to cool your home — doesn’t mean it’s working at its best.
  • All Central A/C Systems lose efficiency as they age.

Findings From a 2018 Study About Declining A/C Efficiency With Age. 

The Research Study reported findings on the declining efficiency of 56 residential Central A/C & Heat Pumps over a period of 2–5 years.   These HVAC Systems were in Florida homes — where A/C operates more than 1,500 hours annually.

  • The US Dept. Of Energy (DOE) states: “-3% per year” — for homes throughout the U.S.
  • The Florida study determined an average annual decrease in cooling efficiency of -5.2% per year.
  • Individual Florida HVAC Systems’ declines were  -8% To -40% per year.   Most of the larger declines are almost certainly due to lack of maintenance.
  • As shown just above — a neglected system loses efficiency faster.
  • Much of the reduction is due to dirt build-up on system components.

Source: http://publications.energyresearch.ucf.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/FSEC-PF-474-18.pdf

Less Chance Of A Breakdown When The A/C Is Needed Most.

  • A/C components depend on each other.
  • A Tune-Up diagnostics discover if something isn’t working properly — or is about to fail.
  • Any component that’s not working properly causes needless strain on the A/C — or causes it to stop running.
  • Some components not working properly can cause expensive repairs.

Example: It takes more electricity to start an A/C’ compressor running — than to keep it running.

  • A Capacitor (rechargeable battery) — provides the extra jolt of electricity to start the Outdoor Unit’s Compressor running.
  • If the capacitor fails — the compressor experiences “hard starting”.
  • Hard Starting is when the compressor struggles to start running — then it shuts off in a short period of time.

TIP: If your Central A/C starts tripping the Circuit Breaker — something’s wrong.

  • Often, it’s a failed Capacitor for the outdoor unit compressor.  It may also be a failed capacitor for the outdoor unit’s fan.
  • Hard starting will cause the outdoor unit’s compressor to draw additional electricity as it’s trying to start (without the needed help from the capacitor).
  • Hard starting will damage the compressor over time.
  • Then, a $60-200 repair (to replace the capacitor) — Turns Into A $1,250-$3,500 Repair (replace compressor) -OR- A/C Outdoor Unit Replacement $3,500-$7,500.
  • Actual costs depend on A/C size.

Source: https://homeguide.com/costs/ac-compressor-cost

Source: https://modernize.com/hvac/cost-calculator/central-ac-unit-installation

CAUTION: WE DON’T RECOMMEND, NOR GIVE ADVICE ABOUT DIY A/C REPAIR

THERE ARE TOO MANY SAFETY RISKS.

This YouTube Video Demonstrates An HVAC Technician Determining The Compressor’s Capacitor Has Failed.

At Time: 1:30 / 7:03

Less Chance Of Catastrophic Breakdown

Example: 

  • Your a/c outside unit’s compressor is turned on & off by an automatic switch (called a contactor).
  • If this switch fails and does not disengage — the compressor will run non-stop until it’s damaged.

Click Here To See Central A/C Contactor Switch: Photo of Central A/C Contactor Switch

  • Safer Equipment Operation: A neglected HVAC System can create safety concerns.

Example:  Vibrations can cause loosen an electrical connection.  A wire may come out of a (loose) connection and touch another connection — causing a short-circuit.  This will damage other electrical components.



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This Is Part-7 Of Our Article — Click Here To Read Part-1: AlsPlumbing.com 50 Ways to Lower Cooling Costs Part-1

This was Lower Cooling Tab — 75+ Ways.  This is Part-7 Of Our Article About How To Lower The Cooling Tab Without Replacing Your HVAC System.   This part was focused on; HVAC System’s Required, Recurring Maintenance. 

Al’s Plumbing, in Plano, Texas Provides Full-Service Plumbing; Maintenance, Repairs, and Replacements For Every Plumbing Component In Your Home. We sell and install gas and electric water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in; Murphy, TX; Rowlette, TX; and Wylie, Texas.  We service all homes in southern Collin County, TX, and northeastern Dallas County, TX with no additional travel charges.

Call Al’s Today To Discuss Any Concerns Or Problems You Have With Your Home’s Plumbing. 

We will arrange an appointment at your convenience