As the summer gets longer and muggier, make sure your Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) units are all maintained. Summer is the peak season for extremely high temperatures and high amounts of air pollutants.
HVAC systems strain to keep us comfortable and healthy. Air conditioning services should be performed once a year, but less than half of Americans do that. This is actually incredible dangerous and can lead to:
- Increase in energy use
- Increase in energy cost
- Health problems, especially respirator problems
- Difficulty sleeping
- Fire: 42% of house fires were cause by unmaintained HVAC units.
Most newer buildings are built with air conditioning, meaning there’s been a huge increase in the energy used by air conditioning in the last 20 years. To mitigate this energy and environmental strain, manufacturers are building more efficient systems. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is used to rate the efficiency of air conditioning units. Commercial air conditioning repair experts recommend throwing out systems with a SEER of 13 or less. Just remember a bigger SEER rating is better.
The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) gives 6 universal tips for increasing your HVAC efficiency without replacing the whole system:
- “Tightening” your building shell and adding additional insulation to reduce leakage.
- Installing energy-efficient windows such as ENERGY STAR qualified windows.
- Upgrading lighting systems. Energy-efficient lighting systems emit less heat into conditioned space than older inefficient technology.
- Reducing solar gain (e.g., cool roofing and window tints) in cooling dominated climates, and in cold climates taking steps to increase solar gain.
- Selecting efficient office equipment and consumer electronics to reduce heat output.
- Controlling ventilation to improve occupant comfort and save energy.
Visit sba.gov for more information.
HVAC systems tend to last for 12 years, so buyers and renters of older buildings need to check the condition of the HVAC system. Repair or replacement costs will put a major dent in your budget. A local air conditioning repair company can come out and give you an estimate on the quality of the system.
If you’re on the fence about replacing or just repairing, compare the efficiency of the repaired system with a new one. A new system may pay save you enough to pay off its own cost in just a few years of cooling your rooms.
To maintain your system, change filters as often as the brand recommends (one filter change can increase efficiency by 5-15%). The National Air Duct Cleaners Association says to clean air conditioner ducts every three to five years. And once again, air condition services should be performed once a year! Spread the word and keep you and your friends from losing money.
Air conditioning services are easy to find, and most likely your neighbor has a favorite. Support local businesses while keeping your own space comfortable. Along with maintaining your air conditioning services sometimes include plumbing and electrical maintenance, depending on the business.