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How You Are Killing Your Air Conditioner

How You Are Killing Your Air Conditioner

Every summer we get calls from Birmingham homeowners who have accidentally killed their air conditioners.  Yes, it is true on How You Are Killing Your Air Conditioner.

The cause of death? Suffocation.

Air conditioners, like people, can suffocate when you restrict the airflow in or out of them. So how do homeowners suffocate their air conditioners? Well, there are 3 common ways.

Covering your air conditioner’s outdoor unit

Decorative AC Cover

Photo Credit Menards.com

Why this is bad: The outside unit’s job is to dump heat from your home to the outside air. And to do this efficiently, it needs a lot of air. A decorative cover (like the one below) restricts airflow to the air conditioner and can kill your AC’s compressor.

The compressor is the heart of your air conditioning system. If it dies and isn’t covered by warranty, the repair will be very expensive. In many cases, you’ll be better off replacing the whole outdoor unit.

A decorative AC cover that will kill your compressor. Do NOT buy!

How to fix it: Remove anything blocking airflow to your outdoor air conditioner unit, including bushes, overhanging tree branches or decorative covers.

Not changing the air filter

dirty_air_filters

Photo Credit unitedfilter.com

Why this is bad: When your air filter gets too dirty, the dirt blocks airflow into the air conditioner. This makes your air conditioner work harder to distribute air. And that can cause problems like:

  • Overheated indoor fan motor overheating
  • Frozen air conditioner (literally)
  • Dead compressor
  • How to fix it: Change your air filter regularly. We recommend checking it every month and changing it whenever it looks dirty.

Notice how the filter on the right is looking dirty? Replace it now.

Closing air vents

Why this is bad: Closing vents in your home is bad for the same reason that a dirty filter is bad: it makes your air conditioner work much harder than it should. And it leads to the same problems:

  • Overheated indoor fan motor overheating
  • Frozen air conditioner (literally)
  • Dead compressor
  • Find out more about Why You Shouldn’t Close Your Air Conditioning Vents to Save Energy

How to fix it: Keep your air vents open. And make sure none of them are blocked by furniture or drapes.

Prevent summer AC deaths with a tune-up

So that’s how you can prevent accidentally killing your air conditioner. But there’s more you can do to prevent a breakdown. Have a professional take a look at your air conditioner and get it ready for summer. Schedule an AC tune-up with 3D Air Services.

3D Air Services proudly serves Birmingham, Hoover, Pelham, Alabaster, Helena, Calera and everywhere in between. Give us a call to schedule your appointment 664-3501

Struggling air conditioner?

It’s fixing to be hot here in Birmingham, real hot!

And if you’re finding out that your air conditioner can’t keep up, we’ve got you covered. Here are 2 steps to helping improve your AC’s cooling abilities.

Step 1: Keep the heat out

Your air conditioner removes heat from your home. So any time you let heat back in, you’re making it work harder than it needs to. Here are some tips to keep the hot air outside.

Keep windows and doors shut. When you’re leaving, quickly walk through the door and shut it behind you. And it should go without saying that your windows should be closed, also.
Block out the sun. A lot of heat makes its way into your home through your windows. Keep it out by using solar screens and heavy-duty curtains.
Seal air leaks. The areas in your home that are air conditioned should be as air-tight as possible. Take a look in your crawlspace, basement or attic for major air holes like these in the building envelope.
Try some no-cook meals. Your stove and oven create a lot of heat in your home. Try some no-cook meals and use your microwave instead of your oven.

Step 2: Make your air conditioner’s life easier

Next, you need to make sure your air conditioner is operating as efficiently as it can so that it can get you as much cool air as possible. That means:

Change the air filter. Too many homeowners leave their air filter in their AC way too long. This blocks air flow and basically suffocates your air conditioner.
Fix leaky and disconnected ducts. It’s possible that your ducts lose 30% of the air traveling through them because of leaks and other problems. So instead of cooling your home, that air is cooling your attic or other unconditioned space.
Clear the space around your outside unit. Tall weeds, shrubs, bushes and debris around your outside air conditioning unit decreases airflow, making it difficult for the unit to ‘dump’ the heat from your home.
Get the AC professionally cleaned. If the coils in your air conditioner get dirty, they can make it more difficult for your air conditioner to cool your home. It’s one of the reasons most manufacturers recommend an annual AC tune-up.
Open up ALL the vents. Don’t close vents in unused rooms. Closing vents to lower energy bills is dated advice that should be ignored.

3D Air Services proudly serves Birmingham, Hoover, Pelham, Alabaster, Calera and everywhere on between. For questions call is at (205)664-3501 or email us at service@3dairserve.com

Closing Vents

There’s some old, bad advice out there that says you should close off your air conditioning vents in unused rooms. This, they say, will help you lower your energy bills by only cooling the rooms in your home that you actually use.

While this sounds good in theory, it can actually have the opposite effect—and worse.

Closing vents, at best, increases energy consumption and, at worst, leads to premature breakdown of your AC.

Let’s look at 3 reasons why this happens.

Reason #1: Closing vents restricts airflow

When your air conditioner was installed (assuming it was installed correctly) its airflow was “balanced”. That means the installers made sure your air conditioner has enough air flowing in and out of it to properly cool your home.

Closing vents disrupts this balance and creates pressure in your system, which causes your air conditioner to work harder. This can increase your energy bills and even lead to premature breakdown of your AC if you close too many vents.

Reason #2: Your air ducts make it worse

In addition, this increased pressure places strain on your air ducts. And since many homes’ air ducts are already leaking (according to Energystar.gov), the increased pressure causes the ducts to leak even more.

So the air you thought you were saving is actually going into your attic or crawlspace.

Reason #3: Your interior walls aren’t insulated

Another reason to consider not closing your vents is that your interior walls aren’t insulated.

Here’s why that’s a big deal.

Let’s say you close off the vents in 2 rooms. They’ll get warmer since there’s now no AC running to them. That heat will transfer into the nearby rooms through the un-insulated walls and under the door. So now your air conditioner has to run longer and harder to keep the other parts of your home cool.

3D Air Services serves Birmingham, Hoover, Pelham, Alabaster, Calera and everywhere in between.

 

Air conditioner length of life?

A new air conditioner is a big investment for your home, so you likely want to get the longest life possible out of the system that you install. There are many factors that determine how many years your air conditioner will end up lasting, and they span from the day your system is installed to its final day of operating. Today we’re going to help you control those factors by talking about how to increase your air conditioner’s life expectancy!

What is an air conditioner’s typical life expectancy?

Generally speaking, an air conditioner’s life expectancy is about 15 years. If you follow all of the advice below, your air conditioner will almost certainly last that long, if not a bit longer. If you do not follow one or more of the tips below, your air conditioner will have a much less likely chance of reaching 15 years. The more of the factors below that you neglect, the less amount of time your system will last.

How to increase your air conditioner’s life expectancy

Choose a high-quality system. There are many different makes and models of air conditioners, and some are much better than others. A high-quality air conditioner from a trusted manufacturer will last longer than a cheaper and low-quality system. 3D Air Services installs an elite brand of air conditioners called Carrier, which are proven to be durable, reliable and high-performance systems. In addition to the brand and model you choose, adding advanced features like two-stage cooling and a variable speed air handler will help increase your air conditioner’s life expectancy because they will minimize the amount of stress your system undergoes throughout its lifetime.
Choose a high-quality contractor. Even if you choose one of the best air conditioners on the market, your system will not last as long as you expect if it’s installed by a low-quality contractor. Factors like the size of your air conditioner, the quality of work performed by your installers and where your condenser unit is placed all contribute to whether or not your system is installed properly. An air conditioner that’s installed by a low-quality contractor will not last nearly as long as the same system that’s installed by a certified, trusted and high-quality contractor like 3D Air Services.
Keep your system well-maintained. One of the leading factors that determine an air conditioner’s life expectancy is how well the system is maintained throughout its lifetime. You wouldn’t go years without changing your car’s oil or rotating its tires, and the same logic should extend to your home’s cooling system. The two most important maintenance tasks that you are responsible for as the owner of an air conditioner are to change your air filter regularly and schedule annual tune-ups every single year. By keeping a clean filter installed and having professional maintenance performed annually, you can increase your system’s life expectancy by a matter of years.
Avoid mismatching parts. Although it’s possible to replace your a/c without replacing your furnace at the same time, it’s not recommended. That’s because your furnace and air conditioner share some of the same internal parts, and running a new air conditioner with some older components will decrease its lifespan. This is easy to avoid if you always replace your furnace and air conditioner at the same time.
Minimize your system’s workload. The less work your air conditioner has to perform throughout its lifetime, the less wear-and-tear it will go through and the longer it will last. You can minimize your air conditioner’s workload by following our summer energy-saving tips and by using a programmable thermostat to ease to the stress on your system on a daily basis.

For any other questions call us at    664-3501 or email us at service@3dairserve.com

We serve Birmingham, Hoover, Pelham, Alabaster, Helena, Calera and everywhere in between.

 

 

Turning off my air conditioner?

If you talk to your friends or search around the Internet, it seems like everyone has a different opinion about what you should do with your air conditioner when you’re away from home. Is it a good idea to shut off your system completely or should you raise your thermostat setting instead? Also, what should be done with your air conditioner during severe weather? Today we’re going to offer our expert opinion on these issues by answering the question, “Should I ever turn off my air conditioner?”

Should I turn off my air conditioner when I leave for work?

First, we’ll address the most common situation in this debate. Many homes are unoccupied during the weekdays when family members are at work or school. Can you save energy by turning off your air conditioner during those hours?

Of course you can save energy by shutting off your air conditioner, because your system won’t consume energy when it’s not being used. The problem arises when you get home and turn your air conditioner back on. If you leave your system off throughout the day, temperature levels in your home will consistently rise. Temperatures will get so high, in fact, that the amount of energy it takes to cool your home back down to a comfortable level will cancel out any energy that you saved by leaving your system off.

In addition to efficiency issues, there are other side effects of turning off your A/C during the day. If you have pets, for example, it might be unsafe for them to be left alone in the heat during the day. Also, the last thing you want during a hard day at work is to come home to a hot and humid home. You might have to wait a few hours before your home cools back down a comfortable level.

Instead of turning off your air conditioner when you leave for work, we suggest raising your normal thermostat setting by about 2-3 degrees to save energy while you’re away.

Should I turn off my air conditioner when I go on vacation?

Many people consider shutting off their air conditioners before they leave for vacation. Not only will this amplify the problems listed above, but it can also lead to even more serious issues.

By leaving off your air conditioner for days at a time, nothing will be done to control humidity levels inside your home. If humidity levels are high for an extended period of time, wooden furniture can warp, paint and wallpaper can peel, condensation can stain your walls and ceilings and your home can develop a musty smell.

Another issue with leaving your air conditioner off during vacation is that your refrigerator will have to work extremely hard because the area surrounding it will be hot. Not only will this increase your energy bills, but it can also damage your refrigerator or cause it to leak water.

Instead of turning off your air conditioner before you leave for vacation, we suggest setting your thermostat to around 78-80 degrees.

Should I turn off my air conditioner during a storm?

Air conditioners are built to withstand the elements outside, so you should not be concerned with running your system when it’s rainy or windy.

The only time you might consider turning off your air conditioner is when there is a lot of lightning nearby. Shutting off your system may help protect your system from a power surge, but you should be sure to turn your system back on as soon as the storm passes. Better yet, ask 3D Air Services about installing a surge protector for your air conditioner and furnace. A surge protector will protect your heating and cooling system from power surges so that you truly never have to worry about shutting it off.

For any other questions call 664-3501 or email us at service@3dairserve.com

3D Air Services serves Birmingham, Pelham, Alabaster, Hoover, Helena, Calera and everywhere in between. We are open 8-6 with emergency service available.