Avoid These Common Misconceptions About Air Conditioners!
When it’s been properly installed and maintained, a good air conditioner can potentially last for decades while providing the cold air you need to make it through the summer. Unfortunately, proper care and maintenance can sometimes be a challenge – particularly due to a lot of misconceptions about how air conditioners work!
After more than a decade of providing air conditioning repair in Montclair, we’ve seen a lot of situations where problems with an AC system were preventable, or even accidentally caused by the owner. We’re always happy to fix your AC, of course, but we also want our customers to be well-educated and know how to maintain their system. So, in this article, let’s talk about some common misconceptions and mistakes people often make with their air conditioning.
Four Things Every Homeowner Should Know About Their Air Conditioning System
- 1 – Don’t over-stress your AC system when coming home on hot days.
So, when it’s hot outside and you’re planning on leaving the house for several hours, you should shut down the AC to save power… right?
Not necessarily! On a hot day, the temperature in a house will quickly rise once the AC is shut off. This happens even more quickly if the house is fully sealed, with closed windows and such since there’s no airflow. So, you can easily come home to a house with temperatures in the high 80s, or even in the 90s.
The problem is when the house is that hot, it puts a lot of stress on your AC if you suddenly demand that it bring the temperature down to the 70s. It may take hours of constant cooling and blowing to achieve a comfortable temperature, which involves a lot of energy – and also helps wear out the system through overuse.
In most situations, it’s actually better to leave the AC going at a moderately high temperature – such as 80 degrees – so cooling your hose takes less work when you come home. Alternatively, you might look into installing a ‘smart’ home cooling system that can start cooling down the house an hour or so before you arrive.
- 2 – The coldness of the air coming from your AC unit doesn’t change with lower settings.
If you set your air conditioner to 50 degrees, does that mean 50-degree air is going to start coming out of the vents? No. This is a very common misconception and can lead people to see problems with their air conditioning that don’t exist.
In reality, the coldness of the air coming out of your AC doesn’t vary all that much based on your settings. The AC unit produces cold air at a certain temperature and pumps it into the system until the overall air temperature has been lowered to your desired temperature.
Typically, this is done in 15–20-degree increments. Say the internal air is at 80 degrees. Regardless of your exact thermostat settings, the AC will take in the air, and start reducing its temperature by 15-20 degrees, then pump that back out. This cooler air mixes with the existing air, reducing the overall temperature somewhat – usually only by a few degrees. Then this process repeats, further lowering the air temp until your desired average temperature is achieved.
Basically, as long as cold air is coming out of the vents, the system is working, even if the air isn’t as cold as the setting you put into the thermostat. Of course, if it’s not blowing cold air at all, then that’s time to call for air conditioning repair in Montclair.
And on that topic…
- 3 – A lack of cold air is typically NOT a problem with the refrigerant.
Another very common misconception about air conditioners (one which is, unfortunately, sometimes perpetuated by unscrupulous AC repair companies) is that the refrigerant inside an AC system will somehow ‘wear out’ or go away over time.
This is simply not the case.
If the AC unit was properly installed, the refrigerant in the system can be recycled and reused endlessly. It’s a closed system. Unless there’s a leak in the pipes or tubing, there’s literally nowhere for the refrigerant to go. It simply keeps circulating between the indoor and outdoor units, over and over, year after year.
Now, to be clear: leaks can happen, and a refrigerant leak will quickly cause your AC to stop producing cold air. However, such leaks are relatively rare unless something has happened – like physical damage to the outdoor unit – to cause a leak. Unless you have a reason to suspect a leak, the problem is most likely somewhere else in the system.
Of course, you’ll want Montclair air conditioning repair specialists to investigate the problem, since diagnosing an air conditioner can be tricky. And never try to refill the coolant in your AC yourself – it requires special chemicals and tools to do safely.
- 4 – Filter maintenance is about more than air quality
Chances are, you’re already aware that your air conditioner has an air filter, and that filter should be cleaned or replaced every 2-3 months to keep your indoor air quality pure. This is true. However, a dirty or clogged air filter can cause more problems than just an excess of dust in the air. It’s actually one of the single most common causes of issues with an AC system in general.
As the air filter becomes dirtier, this directly impacts the ability of air to flow through your air conditioning system. The dirtier the filter gets, the harder the AC unit will have to work to keep pushing cold air.
This will have two immediate effects:
First, you’ll likely notice that airflow from your vents has dropped. In many cases, a clogged filter will prevent the AC system from being able to achieve your desired temperature. The more restricted the airflow is, the less likely it will be able to keep up.
Also, the harder your AC works to push air, the more strain that puts on the system itself. The motors and fans, in particular, will experience a lot more wear and tear as they try to keep pushing air around. This will then speed up the decline of these parts and make it more likely that you’ll have to call for AC repairs to fix the broken components.
Plus, there’s one other factor. As airflow declines, it will reduce the amount of air going in and out of the outdoor unit. This is a problem because it requires a lot of air to function properly. Without enough airflow removing condensation on the evaporator coil, it can start to freeze over. Once frozen, the outdoor unit will no longer be able to radiate heat, and you will no longer get cold air.
Get Air Conditioning Repair in Montclair Today
In short, you need to stay on top of your air filter maintenance. If you are having trouble with your AC’s blower or coldness, we recommend first checking the filter before doing anything else.
However, if you are still having air conditioning problems in Montclair, Air Temp Service is always happy to help. We’re on-call 24/7 for service any time of day or night. Click here to contact us for a FREE consultation or an appointment!