2 Mistakes That Could Damage Your Air Conditioner

Posted on: 24 March 2015

As a new homeowner, you might be inundated with responsibilities. After taking entire weekends to get your yard under control and struggling to keep your new space tidy, you might find yourself guessing when it comes to your air conditioner. Unfortunately, making a few bad decisions can cost you later. Here are two mistakes that could damage your air conditioner, and how you can avoid causing trouble:

1: Buying a Huge System

If you moved into a home with an older, unresponsive air conditioner, you might be tempted to run to the store and buy the biggest unit that will fit into your car. Unfortunately, buying a bigger air conditioner than you really need might wear out your system.

Although you might assume that your large air conditioner would be able to easily manage your indoor temperature, your system might turn on and off much more frequently than it should. Instead of being able to stay on and do its job, your system components might become worn from constantly starting up and turning off.

Another problem with buying an oversized unit is that your air conditioner might not drain indoor humidity like it should. As air passes over your condenser coils to cool, moisture is drawn from the air and collects in the bottom of the drip pan. Unfortunately, if your air conditioner is too large, there might not be enough moisture to drain into the surrounding hoses, which could make that water sit there. In addition to potentially prompting mold growth, this moisture could recirculate through your home, which could create a humid, uncomfortable environment.

To avoid these problems, take the time to figure out which size of air conditioner is right for your home. Air conditioning systems are measured by BTUs per hour, and you need a system that can handle about 30,000 to 34,000 BTUs for a 2,000 square foot house.

2: Closing Vents

To save money, you might run through your house and close off vents in unused rooms. After all, the less square footage your air conditioner has to cool, the better, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, closing off vents increases internal duct pressure, which could push more air through existing leaks. Sealing ducts can also increase the pressure in the actual room where vents have been closed, which can interfere with your home's air return system.

Instead of trying to manually control the flow of air, consider these easy ways to regulate the internal temperature of your home:

  • Make a Schedule: Instead of turning your thermostat on and off, take the time to program a schedule into your system. In addition to making things easier for yourself, you can save up to $180 a year in heating and cooling costs.
  • Buy a Smart Thermostat: Believe it or not, some thermostats can even learn from your actions and program themselves. By using motion detectors and evaluating past entries, your system can predict patterns so that it turns on and off when it should.  
  • Experiment and Record Results: If you are a new homeowner, it might not be easy to know which temperature is right for each time of day. Instead of haphazardly shutting off vents, make a journal and experiment with your air conditioner settings. Record how your home felt and whether or not your family complained about it. You might be able to set a schedule based on the results, so that your air conditioner can operate efficiently.

If you still feel like your air is uncontrolled after you have taken these steps, contact an HVAC professional from a company like Bishop Plumbing, Heating and Cooling. An expert can evaluate your airflow from room to room and install additional ductwork if necessary.

Understanding how to fend off air conditioner trouble might help you to save a little time and money, so that you can focus on other things.  

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Knowing When It’s Time to Call the Plumber

My name is Jason Lawrence, or around my house I’m sometimes known as “Daddy Fix-It.” My wife Sarah and I have four children all under the age of ten. I didn’t start out as a guy who was handy around the house, but I am learning to become a do-it-yourselfer for sure. Did I mention that I’m a bit stubborn? There are times I struggle with projects a little too long, and it takes my wife stepping in to convince me that it’s time to call a professional. I’ve become especially handy with plumbing projects. I don’t know why kids think toys belong in the toilet and doll hair is good for the bathtub drain, but around here those are weekly events. I’m going to share some of my experiences, how I fixed some of our plumbing problems, and when it becomes time to call the plumber.

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