You’ve probably seen those blogs and online articles that advertise that they have some great tips you can follow to make your air conditioner work better without having to spend the money to bring out an air conditioning technician. While sometimes the nuggets or tidbits of info in these articles are beneficial, there are occasionally some suggestions that are exactly the opposite. Oftentimes these information sources from people who are neither skilled nor experienced when it comes to air conditioning, and as a result their suggestions may inadvertently harm your air conditioner.
As a result, we have seen a number of homeowners do things they think are helping their system, when in fact they’re doing exactly the opposite. Here are three common things we see from time to time with various customers and what you should do instead to promote better cooling and HVAC system health.
Closing Vents in Unused Rooms
Do you have rooms in your home that are seldomly used, such as a library, study, or spare bedroom? You might be tempted to shut the HVAC registers in these rooms in order to avoid having to cool or heat them along with the rest of your home. For many people, this logically seems like it would help you save energy by redirecting treated air elsewhere.
However, the truth is this could actually be hurting your HVAC equipment. The reason why has to do with air pressure. Think of it sort of like trying to breathe through a regular drink straw—if you blow too hard through a straw, you’ll learn very quickly that the straw can only handle so much air at a time. In the same way, your duct system is specifically designed to handle a certain amount of air output. Closing off one of the registers increases air pressure in your duct network, and in turn this is harder on your blower fan, your cooling and heating coils, and more. Believe it or not, you’ll actually spend more money on energy and wear out your AC even faster than you would have otherwise.
Blocking Floor Vents with Furniture
Do you have registers located in the floor of your home? This is pretty common in manufactured homes and mobile homes, where there is a crawlspace built beneath the floor that air ducts run through. Sometimes these vents are located right where you want to place a piece of furniture, such as a sofa or bookcase. It may not seem like a big deal to block a vent, particularly if a piece of furniture has legs that elevate it so airflow isn’t completely cut off.
However, just because a vent isn’t fully blocked doesn’t mean you couldn’t be harming your HVAC system. Blocking vents prevents treated air from reaching your home as efficiently as possible, and that means longer cycle times. Likewise, a blockage could actually still cause an air pressure increase in your air ducts, resulting in the same type of damage we just discussed in closing off vents in unused rooms.
Turning Your AC Down Super Low to Speed Up Cooling
When you live in the Inland Empire here in California, you pretty much have a summer routine for getting in the car: open the doors, turn on the air conditioner, crank the temperature all the way down, and turn the vents all the way up. This helps get the air conditioner working as quickly as possible and brings the nasty heat inside your car back down to a more tolerable level. Many people think this same routine should logically work the same with your home, but the truth is that it doesn’t.
There’s a key difference to your home’s air conditioner and your car’s climate control system: fan speed. A car’s cooling system has a fan that can have several speeds, often four, five, six, or even more. This allows you to change the rate at which cooled air is pushed into the vehicle, and thus allows you to select your comfort level. A typical home HVAC system’s fan has only one speed, and thus the cooled air is pushed through at only one rate. Likewise, an air conditioner doesn’t cool to a specific temperature, but rather simply cools air as much as it can. When that cooled air mixes with the warm air in your home to the point where your desired temperature is reached, the system ends the cycle and shuts off. Therefore, reducing the temperature down several degrees below your actual target does not actually cool your home any faster or more effectively than it would by setting your thermostat to your ideal temperature in the first place.
Have your air conditioner serviced by the experts at All Pro Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical! Contact us by calling (909) 253-0664 today!