AC repair costs go up, and they never seem to come back down.
That’s certainly true for the average American electric bill. That can make your Orlando area central air conditioner a source of worry. After all, it’s half (or more) of the money you spend on electricity every month.
But this is Orlando, and it’s nearly impossible to get by without an air conditioner. The Sunshine state has the nation’s most dangerous combination of heat and humidity. We see over 100 days a year where the temperature or heat index breaks 100 degrees.
Come on, you’ve got to admit, that’s intense.
Furthermore, heat is the number-one weather related cause of death in the U.S., beating floods, hurricanes, blizzards, and tornadoes.
That means, down here, air conditioners are a way of life.
That’s one of the many reasons we never turn off our phones at Orlando AC. Our Orlando AC repair technicians know that even one day without air conditioning could leave some Floridians in serious danger.
In this article, we’re going to help you help yourselves, though. You already know you can always call us. You already know we’re in town, looking out for you, and making sure you’ll stay frosty when those crazy summer months come roaring back in.
We’ve got TEN – count ‘em – TEN ways you can improve your AC efficiency, and they’re all free or really, really cheap. You can do just about any of these yourself, if you’re even the slightest bit handy.
And if you can’t? Well, we can.
Let’s dive in!
10 Tips & Tricks from Orlando Air Conditioners for AC Repair
1. Keep it clean and give it some room to avoid unneeded AC repair
Specifically, we’re talking about the outdoor unit, or condenser, here. A lot of stuff can build up around the housing and gum up the works. Mostly, it’s leaves, feathers, debris, trash, and whatever else the wind blows by. Those things make it harder for the condenser to work, particularly if they get lodged.
You should also make a point of clearing any brush, bushes, plants, or grass. Your condenser should have at least 2-3 feet of clearance around it for proper performance.
2. Clean your AC system air filters
Sometimes it feels like we say this too much. Then we realize that you can’t say this too much. Dirty air filters slow circulation, lead to short cycling, and damage your unit. Dirty air filters lower performance and air quality.
Dirty air filters are very bad for your system. If your Orlando air conditioners aren’t working the way they should, there’s a fair chance dirty air filters are involved.
Clean or replace your filters on a monthly basis, and only use filters that are approved for use with your system.
3. Clean vent fins
Ventilation fins on your outdoor ac unit need to be open and straight to do their job properly. Often, these can be bumped or damaged, closing them. That restricts air flow and inevitably leads to problems with cooling. You can purchase a fin comb from any HVAC supply store and most home improvement chains.
The trick is to be slow and gentle with this. Simply comb through the fins, steadily, until they’re straight. At that point, you’ll probably notice improvement very quickly.
4. Throw some shade at it
It’s hard to resist that joke, but it’s also very good advice. We’re talking about your condenser unit again, the part that lives outside. If you can manage to throw a little shade on it, it will work more easily. Ideally, clever positioning beneath trees will have already accomplished this.
If not, don’t fret. There are covers you can purchase at quite reasonable prices, or you can drum up something of your own. Just make sure it’s not close to the unit, or you aren’t following Tip 1.
The U.S. Department of Energy has pointed out that you can see up to a 10% increase in efficiency if the condenser isn’t working under direct sunlight.
5. Program your thermostat, or “teach” it
Thermostats are extremely advanced these days. Odds are, that includes yours. If you have a dumb thermostat, you can upgrade for a relatively low price and see dramatic improvements in efficiency immediately.
Thermostats will typically learn behaviors around your schedule – or you can program your schedule in – and it will allow temperatures to rise slightly overnight or while you aren’t home. This avoids wasteful cooling. Each degree your thermostat raises can save you 5-8 percent on energy bills.
6. Insulate, insulate, insulate to reduce run time and lower AC repair incidents
If you don’t know who installed your duct system, you also don’t know if it was done right. Insulating your air ducts can be done a few different ways. The most common (for good reason) is foil-faced fiberglass insulation. The R-value of insulation tape represents the resistance to heat flow. In warmer climates like Orlando, you can get away with lower values, but you should still err on the high end of what you can afford.
If you think your ducts have leaks and you’re having trouble locating them, the Orlando Air Conditioners team can fix that for you. We’ll blow an aerosolized substance into your ducts that will let us find and seal every single leak and minimize energy loss.
7. Use fans to supplement.
As we mentioned above, each degree your thermostat raises can save you a significant amount. One great way to capitalize on that is through the use of ceiling fans.
Ceiling fans work by circulating, rather than cooling, air. They make it feel colder in the room, even if it isn’t. A good ceiling fan will make a room feel four or five degrees cooler, which allows you to set your thermostat four or five degrees higher.
That means savings, all year round.
As an additional pro-tip, you can also flip your ceiling fans into reverse to help during heating seasons. They’ll pull the hot air toward the ceiling and help circulate it better.
8. Lower the temperature in attics and seal crawl spaces.
Attics and crawl spaces are the bane of HVAC technicians. They represent the majority of heat or cooling loss in homes. An attic with proper ventilation is marginally cooler than one without. A cooler attic makes for a cooler home overall. A great way to manage this is with an exhaust fan.
By the same token, you’re also probably losing energy into a crawl space if you have one. Getting that (and your attic) properly insulated will also help ensure that your system isn’t working overtime.
9. Be aware of windows and blinds
Blinds and curtains can be a big help. In the summer, a little coverage over westerly and southerly windows can do a lot to block heat. If you don’t want to lose the light, investing in solar shades can give you the best of both worlds.
By the same token, you should make sure that your thermostat isn’t located in a place where it will get direct sunlight through a window. When that happens, a thermostat may get an inaccurate temperature reading. Then your home will be too cold because the thermostat thinks it’s 76 when it’s actually 70.
10. Get a home energy audit.
This isn’t always free, but it’s not usually very expensive. We offer this service, which is pretty simple.
In a home energy audit, we’ll check your home for leaks and loss locations. We’ll determine whether your windows and doors are energy savers or bill killers. We’ll make sure your system is properly sized and that you’re doing everything you reasonably can to be energy efficient.
If you aren’t, we will make recommendations on how we (or you, if you’re enterprising) can improve efficiency.
It’s a great way to find all sorts of hidden issues you hadn’t considered.
Closing Thoughts on preventing AC repair in Orlando
There are a lot of things that aren’t free that you can do, as well. You can replace all the windows with Energy Star rated ones, or you can upgrade specific components. You’ve got nothing but options.
But if you’ve tried all or most of the list above and you still feel like something is up, call us. If your AC feels inefficient and your bills are creeping higher and higher, you probably need a tune-up or AC repair service.
So here’s the pitch:
Our professional Orlando AC repair technicians are the best in the industry. We insist on it. They’re certified on every make and model, their licenses and insurance are up-to-date. We’re demanding, and they’re determined. We send fully stocked trucks and uniformed contractors, we provide itemized written estimates, and we guarantee all of our work for a year!
We’ll diagnose your problem for free and give you a quote in-person. If we don’t get your AC repair right the first time, the next appointment is on us, and so are any other appointments required to get it done.
We insist on a worry-free experience for our customers. Check our reviews, read our testimonials, look us up on Better Business Bureau or Angie’s List.
We are here for you. All day, every day, any day.
Just say the word.