Ask Dirk: Am I getting the most from my air conditioner?

It’s been a hot summer. Air conditioners and the technicians who maintain, repair and install them all work overtime. You may hear your air conditioner run for a longer time than you are used to. It can even have trouble keeping your home cool on the hottest part of those sweltering days. Is your air conditioner doing everything it can?
First of all, it’s been very hot. An air conditioner that’s the right size for normal conditions can struggle to keep up on a sweltering hot day. However, there are some things you can check to make sure you’re getting the most out of your system.
Change your filters. Filters are always a great place to start with any HVAC problem. Dirty filters restrict airflow and your cooling system will not perform optimally. Dirty filters also increase the wear and tear on your system.
Check your mufflers. Closing the dampers on your stock registers is often counterproductive. This restricts the system’s airflow in much the same way as dirty filters, with similar results.
Check your piping. You may want a professional to help you with this, but peeking through your crawlspace entry can provide useful information. Air coming out of your crawl space can be a sign of a disconnected duct. Ducts that are “messy” can lead to significant airflow restriction with the expected negative results. Pipes must be neatly and taut, with minimal deflection.
Sound of indoor air movement. An oversized system can cause excessive airflow noise indoors. Moving more air creates more airborne noise and larger systems have to move more air than small systems. It may be possible to reduce the speed of your fan without negatively affecting the performance of your system. Adding channels and supply registers can also help with air movement noise.
Long lead times. During very hot days, your system will run longer than on normal days. While this is expected, other issues may contribute to long run times. A system that does not perform optimally will have to run longer to provide the necessary cooling. Allowing your home to get too hot before starting your system will also contribute to a long run time. It can help to set your thermostat to the desired temperature before your house overheats.
Bigger, more expensive problems:
Noisy outdoor unit. If your outdoor unit, called the condenser, is older, it may be loud for several reasons. Many older condensers are simply noisier than modern condensers. As components age, noise may increase. If the noise from your outdoor unit bothers you, your only choice is to have it replaced.
Consider zoned systems: Assuming everything works correctly, a home with a standard heating and cooling system will bring every level of your home to roughly the same temperature. But what if your house is multi-storey or has one side that gets more sun than the other? Rooms with different heating or cooling loads require a more advanced solution.
Installing a zoned system will almost certainly require new equipment. A system with multiple stages of heating and cooling can adapt to conditioning part of your home at once, or conditioning the entire space at once.
With a zone system you have control over your zones and their individual temperatures.
Because warm air rises, a two-story house is usually warmer than it is downstairs, especially in the summer. Placing a zone on each floor allows the system to run for longer or at different times for each zone, meaning you don’t have to cool the ground floor too much to keep the temperature above bearable. Zone systems can maximize your comfort levels.
It would work the same way in a house with an east/west orientation that gets a full day of sun on the south side of the house and none at all on the north side. Naturally, the south side needs more cooling in the summer and less heating in the winter. A zoned system could help balance needs in both seasons.
Replace your system: If all else fails and your system is struggling, it may be time to replace it. There’s a lot to consider with this decision, so you’ll want to talk to your trusted HVAC contractor. A system that is too large will operate inefficiently and strain the unit. A system that is too small will continue to operate to reach the desired temperature, which can lead to comfort issues on extreme days.
If your system is noisy or never seems to shut down, you may have an issue that can be resolved by a service call or system maintenance. Whatever you do, don’t ignore it! Your trusted HVAC contractor can diagnose your system and guide you through a variety of options that can help keep your system running quieter, more efficiently, and help you plan for the future to save you from catastrophic failures. heat of summer.
Roper’s Heating and Air Conditioning has provided essential indoor climate management services to the residents of Western Nevada for over 30 years. Roper’s is located at 2062 S. Edmonds Drive in Carson City. For information, visit

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