How To Tell If Your Air Conditioner Is Running Efficiently
An air conditioner typically circulates the entire room with cool air, but it won’t do a good job of cooling an area if it’s constantly losing heat. So, to run efficiently and effectively, your AC has to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the room. Checking for your AC’s efficiency is easy to do when the unit is on. All you need is a thermometer and some patience. Here are ways to tell if your AC is running efficiently:
1. Check the Thermostat
The first step in checking your AC’s efficiency is making sure the thermostat is set properly. An improperly set thermostat can send your AC unit into an endless cycle of turning on and off, appearing to run when it isn’t constantly. Check to ensure the thermostat reads a temperature between 78 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This will ensure your air conditioner maintains an even temperature throughout the room without running too cold or hot.
2. Check the Indoor/Outdoor Thermometer
When you run your AC, monitor the indoor and outdoor thermometers. The temperature difference should be between 10 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit. If it is higher than 20 degrees, your AC unit is running more efficiently than it should be. If the indoor thermometer reads a temperature lower than 78 degrees and the outdoor thermometer reads higher, your unit is probably running inefficiently.
3. Check for Leaks
The second step to checking for your AC’s efficiency is to check for leaks in the system. If you notice temperature drops when no one is home, you may leak somewhere in your house. A leak will cause your unit to run more inefficiently than it should. This will waste energy and money. To check for leaks, leave the system running and watch the temperature of your house over some time. If you notice a drop in indoor temperature without any obvious explanations, you may have a leak that needs to be repaired.
4. Check Valve
The most efficient AC units will run even more efficiently if you check for leaks in the expansion valve before running the unit. The expansion valve is a simple, inexpensive part designed to close when all coolant has left the system. If your unit stays on for more than a few minutes after you have turned it off, the expansion valve may have failed and needs to be replaced. Turn off your air conditioner and check the area behind your unit for leaks later to test for this. If you find significant temperature drops when the AC is turned off, you need to check for leaks in your expansion valve.
5. Be attentive to temperature fluctuations
In addition to the signs you may notice in your home, you should pay attention to the temperature fluctuations that occur from time to time. These small fluctuations sometimes indicate a problem with your air conditioner. For example, if your AC’s unit temperature is 78 degrees when you leave and starts going up several degrees every hour once you are out of the room, this would be a sign that it is likely something wrong with the unit or its wiring. Other fluctuating temperatures may be due to a frozen temperature system or a pipe releasing trapped air. Checking for these fluctuations is easy if you use some common sense, pay attention to the signs your AC gives off, and ask around.
6. Carefully review your utility bills
While checking for the telltale signs of AC problems, you should also carefully review your utility bills. Pay attention to your home’s temperature and humidity levels at night and try to compare them to the temperature and humidity levels in your house during the day. If these show a difference, it could indicate a problem with your air conditioner.
7. Understand the meaning of different sounds
The sound of an air conditioner can also indicate something wrong with the unit. If you notice a loud noise once the unit turns on, this may be due to a restriction in the system. If there is a rattling noise while it is running, this could indicate that one of the belts in your system has broken.
8. Feel for air leaks
Another way to check for your AC’s efficiency is by feeling for air leaks in different areas of your home. This is particularly helpful if you have a home with many different levels and hallways. If you feel the air on the second and third floors while the thermostat is set to the level above, an air leak somewhere in your ductwork or walls may indicate an air leak.
Conducting these simple tests will help you determine whether your AC is running efficiently and whether or not you need an air conditioning tune up. If you feel like something isn’t quite right, contact a professional to make repairs or replace the system. Having an air conditioner that runs well will keep you cool and comfortable throughout the year.