Whether you have an old air conditioner or a new one, Georgia Air Cooling & Heating’s experts can share some tips on efficiency, easy maintenance, and more—call us today!
Have you thought about upgrading to a new air conditioning unit? Before you make the financial commitment to buying a new air conditioner, you might want to explore a few ways to squeeze more life out of your current unit.
Homeowners can take several steps to improve their old AC unit’s performance. And as Pooler’s AC repair experts, we can offer you on-site assistance in improving your existing AC’s performance and efficiency so that you can delay installing a new system. Alternatively, take a look at Georgia Air Cooling & Heating’s comprehensive guide below on how to make an old air conditioner work better.
Change the Filters More Frequently for Efficiency and Air Quality
Normally, it is sufficient to change a unit’s air filter once a year. However, an older system might pick up dust and grime more readily. In that case, you should try changing your filter more frequently — on the order of once every six months.
Do you live in an area with a significant amount of dust, pollen, or humidity? Change the filters every couple of months to maximize the air conditioner’s airflow and better regulate temperatures.
Another option is to replace the air filter with one that has a lower MERV rating, which won’t restrict airflow as much and might allow you to get more out of your system. The trade-off here is that the lower-rated filter will not purify the property’s indoor air as effectively.
Remove Debris Near the Outdoor Unit to Clear the Vents
With central air conditioners, an outdoor unit releases heat. It does this via the condenser coils, which turn hot coolant gas back into a liquid.
However, plants, grass, and other debris that gathers near the unit can block its vents. This blockage will restrict airflow and make the system far less efficient. If you want to increase the energy efficiency of your system, be sure to remove all vegetation within a two to three-foot radius from the condenser unit to be safe.
Sweep Floors and Vacuum Vents to Ease the Strain on the Filters
A cleaner home means that less dust and other contaminants will find their way into the air ducts and the air conditioning filters. Regular sweeping and dusting keep these pesky particulates from infiltrating your system, which helps safeguard the unit’s performance and the air quality it produces.
Be extra vigilant if you have pets that shed. And don’t forget to vacuum the vent covers every few weeks to avoid clogs. Blockages will put unnecessary strain on your system, which will shorten its useful life and drive up your monthly energy bills.
Clean Drain Lines to Avoid Freezes and Mold
An air conditioner produces a small amount of condensation when it is on, but excess moisture will lead to problems. Are your air conditioner’s drain lines clogged? Moisture buildup could freeze on your unit’s coils and other interior components, causing endless complications.
Regularly cleaning your drain lines removes this excess moisture. Use a mixture of bleach and water, pouring a cup of bleach down the line before flushing it out with warm water. It should be able to dislodge sediment and other materials that tend to harden and clog the drain lines.
Insulate Your Ducts to Minimize Damage and Optimize Air Flow
In some cases, working out how to make an old air conditioner work better will mean combating inefficiency due to dirty or ill-maintained ductwork. Holes and cracks leak air, which means the cooling or heating system has to work harder to compensate for the handicap.
Professionals recommend visually inspecting the ductwork every few months. Are there holes or cracks? Call an expert like Georgia Air Cooling & Heating to fix the problem.
We might also recommend replacing the insulation around your ducts using common types of ductwork insulation like fiberglass or mineral wool. Replacing old insulation prevents heat from entering or cool air from leaking out, easing the strain on your unit. Installing new duct insulation also promises a relatively high return on investment.
Reseal Windows and Doors to Manage Controlled Temperatures Better
According to the DOE, about 30% of the energy loss from a typical house happens through windows or doors. So, one way to increase air conditioning efficiency would be to reseal these openings to get rid of weak points. Sealing the edges of doors and windows will make your house more comfortable and significantly reduce your energy bills.
To properly seal your doors and windows, you may have to remove the existing trim and insulation. Experts will usually seal the gaps with caulking and apply a new layer of sealant. They may also suggest that you replace single-pane glass windows with double-pane ones for better retention.
Clean Coils Don’t Work As Hard to Cool or Heat Your Home
The evaporator and condenser coils play a crucial role in the heat transfer process. Coolant fluid runs through them, allowing the coils to extract heat from the air and release excess heat outside. However, dust and grime affect coil functioning because they reduce the total surface area that makes contact with the air.
If you want your unit to be in its best condition just as the hottest time of the year comes around, clean the coils in early spring or summer. Always turn off the power before doing any work, though. And after removing the outside cover and fan, only gently clean the coils using a soft-bristle brush and a mixture of detergent and warm water.
Adjust the Thermostat to See If That Helps Your Unit Work More Efficiently
Sometimes, energy efficiency issues happen when the thermostat is on the wrong temperature setting. The US Department of Energy recommends 78 degrees for the best balance between cooling performance and energy efficiency. However, you can save even more if you adjust the temperatures for different times of the day.
For example, modern programmable thermostats let you change temperatures at scheduled times. You can turn it down during the evening when outdoor temperatures dip. You can also turn on the ceiling fans to lighten the cooling load.
Schedule Regular Maintenance with Local Experts like Georgia Air Cooling & Heating
By far, the single best tip for how to make an old air conditioner work better is implementing a regular maintenance schedule. Regular tune-ups balance your system so that it works as effectively as possible. Maintenance also identifies potential issues long before they require expensive repairs.
Schedule professional air conditioning maintenance once every six months for the best results. A typical session will include the following:
- Changing air filters
- Testing electrical connections
- Calibrating thermostats
- Cleaning components
- Flushing drain lines
Don’t Discount the Benefits of a New Air Conditioner
Cost is the top reason to improve your old unit’s cooling performance instead of buying a new one. Installing a new air conditioner can be expensive, and everybody wants to get the most they can out of that investment. However, if improving your old air conditioner does not optimize its performance as hoped, you might have to weigh the benefits carefully.
Installing a new air conditioning system might require installing new ductwork, which can be a time-consuming additional cost. Is your old system compatible with the existing ductwork? You may only need to make minor adjustments to enjoy better performance, which makes a new air conditioner worth it.
When Should I Get a New Air Conditioner?
The typical residential air conditioner will last about 15 years. Maintenance routines could extend its lifespan by a few additional years. However, you will need to replace your unit if you notice any of the following signs:
- You have to repair your air conditioner more than twice a year
- Your utility bills keep getting higher
- Your unit takes a long time to turn on or reach a programmed temperature
- You smell smoking or burning smells in your vents
- Your air conditioner leaks coolant fluid
- You hear loud grinding or scraping sounds when you turn on your unit
An industry rule of thumb is that you should install a new air conditioning unit when the cost of repairs reaches at least half of the cost of replacement. For example, if a contractor quotes $5,000 for repairs but installing a new system costs $8,000, a replacement will be better. You will easily make up that extra $3,000 in energy savings and the longer lifespan of a new system.
Schedule Industry-Leading HVAC Services in Georgia Today!
Now that you know how to make an old air conditioner work better, you may have questions for our experienced team at Georgia Air Heating & Cooling. Ask away, or call us for dependable repair and maintenance services that can breathe new life into your air conditioning system.Are you considering upgrading your AC unit? Contact Georgia Air Heating & Cooling online or call (912) 513-3724 today!