As we get closer and closer to summer, many homeowners in the St. Louis area will begin paying more attention to their homes' cooling bills. If it seems like you're spending a lot on cooling costs, you naturally might be wondering, "Is my air conditioner energy efficient?" The answer to this question is a bit more complicated than you might think. Today we're going to talk about the many ways you can determine whether or not your air conditioner is efficient!
Does my air conditioner have a good efficiency rating?
The first logical place to look to check your air conditioner's efficiency is its SEER rating. At a minimum, your air conditioner should have a SEER rating of 13. Anything less than that is below the federally-required minimum for newly-manufactured air conditioners. The higher your SEER rating, the more efficient your system will be. But as you'll see below, SEER ratings only tell part of the story when it comes to the efficiency of your air conditioner.
Beyond the SEER rating, is my air conditioner energy efficient?
After determining the SEER rating of your system, here are some other important questions to ask when you're determining whether or not your air conditioner is operating efficiently:
- Is your air filter dirty? As we mentioned in our post last week, a dirty air filter will increase your system's energy consumption because your air handler will have to work much harder and consume more energy to maintain proper airflow.
- Does your home have air leaks? If your home has air leaks, cool air will escape outside and warm air will infiltrate your home. It's important to seal leaks around your windows and doors so that your air conditioner doesn't have to work as hard to keep your home cool.
- Is your thermostat located properly? If your thermostat is not centrally located in your home or is near a heat source, it will get an improper reading of your home's temperature that can force your air conditioner to keep running even if your home is already cool.
- Are your cooling coils dirty? Dirty evaporator and condenser coils make it harder to remove heat from your home. Not only will this make your home less comfortable, but it will also make your air conditioner run much more often and consume more energy.
- Does your system have enough refrigerant? If your air conditioner has a refrigerant leak, it will not be able to effectively cool your home. This is another problem that will make your system less efficient because it will have to operate more frequently.
- Have you had an annual tune-up? Perhaps the biggest question you should ask when figuring out whether or not your air conditioner is efficient is, "Have I scheduled my annual tune-up?" That's because during your tune-up, we'll check for many of the problems that can decrease the efficiency of your system and will bring your air conditioner up to its peak efficiency levels.
If you have any questions about whether or not your air conditioner is energy efficient, or if you'd like a cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact Jerry Kelly, your St. Louis air conditioning contractor. We service the St. Louis area, including towns like Des Peres, Frontenac and Ladue, MO.
photo credit: Jinx! via photopin cc