At Pacific Air Conditioning, we get a lot of calls from people who need their AC’s repaired, but many of them could have avoided costly repairs if they had kept their units in shape. That’s why Maui air conditioner maintenance should not be left out. If you’re doing any of the following mistakes, you’re subtracting years from your AC’s lifespan.
1. Neglecting the filter
An AC filter is an important part of your cooling system because it removes dust and other particulates from the air. Filters get dirty at some point. How long it takes for them to accumulate so much gunk depends on a few factors.
However, any filter of any AC in any home or building builds up so much dirt after 6 months that it should be replaced. Dirt blocks airflow and causes your air conditioner to work more, thereby reducing its efficiency. Worse, your AC will circulate that dirt in your home and make you prone to allergies and illnesses. In short, not only does a dirty air filter raise your air conditioning bill but also does it make you sick.
Replacing an old and dirty filter with a new one will shave off about 10% of your energy use. And make sure to check that filter after demolition or renovation.
2. Neglecting the fins and coils
Just a fine coat of dust on the evaporator coil is enough to make it less efficient. Dust insulates the coil and makes it absorb less heat. Your air conditioning system then needs to run longer to cool your home. If it’s running longer, it uses up more electricity.
Also, because the evaporator coil can’t absorb enough heat, the refrigerant inside fails to warm up sufficiently and causes the water vapor passing over the coils to freeze instead of condensing. Watch out for frost on the coils. It’s a sign that you need to clean them. However, a dirty filter and refrigerant leak can also cause frost on the coils.
Contact our AC technicians on Maui if you notice frost on any part of your air conditioner. Also, clean your unit before summer and do an inspection after storms to make sure all of the parts are fine.
3. Failing to upgrade your thermostat
We recommend programmable thermostats because they allow you to have variable temperature settings throughout the day. A uniform temperature setting eats up more energy than necessary. Smart thermostats allow you to set temperatures for specific times of the day -- for instance, at 80 degrees when you leave for work at 9 a.m. and then at 78 degrees at 5 p.m. You can lower your energy bills this way.
4. Keeping the ceiling fans turned off
A ceiling fan makes you feel cooler by taking heat away from your body. When you turn on your ceiling fan, your room feels a few degrees cooler, so you can set your thermostat a few degrees higher. Again, this is another way of saving on cooling costs.
5. Disregarding the drain
Many air conditioners are designed to collect condensation into a pipe that drains outside. Many homeowners don’t check the drain for clogs. A clogged drain leaks water into your unit or causes water damage to the adjacent wall or floor. When I see water leaking around the unit, the first thing I check is the drain. Be sure to clean your drain once a year to prevent the accumulation of dirt.
6. Setting the temperature too low
So, on a hot day on Maui, the temperature hovers over the 90s. You go home and set your thermostat down to 65 degrees, hoping doing so will speed up your cooling system.
Air conditioners don’t work faster when you set them at lower temperatures. Unless 65 degrees makes you comfortable -- and I doubt it does -- then there’s no point in setting your thermostat that low.
Your AC will cool your room at the same speed as when you set it at 72 degrees, and all that additional cooling will only waste electricity in making your room too chilly.
7. Overlooking the size of your house
Small air conditioners are not for huge rooms, and large units are bad for small houses. Don’t even think of buying a small AC to save money if you have a big room. That small unit is surely cheaper than an AC whose size is rated for the size of your house, but it will go on overdrive trying to keep your house cool. If it’s working continuously, it will wear out faster and may even fail to cool your rooms sufficiently.
On the other hand, if your air conditioner is too big for your house, it will cool your house faster than it can strip off the moisture. So you end up with that sticky feeling you probably felt in some air-conditioned houses. Also, oversized AC’s stops and starts more frequently and, thus, will deteriorate faster than an appropriately sized unit.
8. Delaying replacement
We understand that replacing your air conditioner is more expensive than fixing what can be fixed. However, at some point, you will have to throw the old unit away and buy a new one. Keeping an old AC that is well past its useful life will only add unnecessary energy expenditure. Besides, old units tend to break every now and then. When your unit is past ten years, it’s time to consider investing in a new model that’s certainly more efficient than your unit when you bought it.
9. Ignoring problems
Whether you’re using a room AC or a central air conditioning system, you’re dealing with a complex machine that has a number of parts that should work together harmoniously. When one part breaks down, the unit stops working properly. It may be a dirty filter, a refrigerant leak, or a duct leak. It causes your cooling system to work harder.
When you notice that your rooms are getting warmer despite your AC running longer than it normally does, it’s time to call Maui air conditioner maintenance. Make sure you call an experienced and licensed technician who knows how to test an AC system for clogs and leaks and knows how to fix them.
10. Letting summer heat in
Open windows may give you romantic outdoor views, but they also let sunlight in. If you’re cooling your home, it doesn’t make sense to let heat in. So shut the windows that let sunlight in. Cover them with curtains or blinds.
Are you having problems with your AC? Call us at 808-244-0161 and schedule a free consultation.