Go Back

Crash Course In Air Conditioning

The Air Conditioning Basics Every Homeowner Should Know

Air conditioning is considered a luxury by some but an essential by many. Most modern homes have an air conditioning system that cools and dehumidifies the air inside. A functional air conditioner keeps the house at a comfortable temperature during the hot summer months.

The benefits of air conditioning systems go beyond just cooling the air. Air conditioners also remove some of the air's humidity, which helps prevent mold and promote healthy respiration during hot, wet weather. Homeowners should have a basic understanding of how air conditioners work to maintain their units properly.

Most Common Types of Air Conditioners

mini split The first thing that homeowners need to know is what kind of air conditioning system their home uses. The most common type of AC for modern homes is central air conditioning. Central air distributes air from the air conditioning unit to the different rooms of the house through a network of air ducts in the walls.

Not every home is eligible for installing ductwork, which is why there are also ductless air conditioners. It is estimated that homeowners lose around 15% of temperature as the air travels through the ducts, which means that ductless air conditioners may offer more efficient performance with less wasted energy.

Window air conditioners, portable air conditioners, and mini split air conditioners are a few examples of ductless AC systems for homeowners to consider. Ductless mini-split air conditioners are the most efficient option for heating and cooling rooms without ductwork. They are installed on the wall, which means they are not hidden from sight like central air. However, not the most aesthetically pleasing option, ductless mini-split air conditioners can very efficiently control the temperature of a room.

Warning Signs You Need Air Conditioner Repair

spike in utility billsWarning signs the air conditioner may need repair or replacement are:

  • Mold growing on the air conditioner
  • Ice forming on the air conditioner
  • Liquid leaking from the air conditioner
  • Noisy operation
  • Spike in utility bills

Homeowners should be looking for warning signs that their air conditioner needs repair. Fixing problems early on prevents small issues from developing into larger issues that could cause the total AC system to break down.

Some of the first signs homeowners notice of an old or broken air conditioner are noisy performance and high utility bills. Ignoring the warning signs of a broken air conditioner can cost homeowners in the long run if the unit breaks down completely, starts an electric fire, or drives up energy bills.

Air Conditioner Maintenance

During maintenance appointments, the HVAC technician will assess the unit for any signs of damage or small repairs that need to be made. Air conditioners are usually scheduled for maintenance bi-annually twice a year. Once for heating and once for cooling. The HVAC technician will open the air conditioning unit to clean the AC coils and check for problems.

It is recommended that homeowners always trust a qualified professional with their AC maintenance. AC systems can be extremely complicated, and an unqualified professional may not know the signs to look for. Improper installation, maintenance, or repair could void the warranty on the unit and be a safety hazard.

One thing that homeowners can do on their own to improve performance and increase the longevity of their air conditioners is to replace air filters every one to three months. The air filter removes airborne particles of dust, hair, and other debris before they can get sucked into the HVAC air intake. Changing the air filter on time is essential for continued efficient performance, and it only takes around five minutes.

Replacing outdated parts can improve the air conditioner's efficiency, but no air conditioner can last forever. At a certain point, it makes more sense to schedule an air conditioner replacement than to continue patching up an old unit.

About Master Plumbing, Heating, & Cooling

Master Plumbing, Heating, & Cooling has over 30 years of experience serving the community of Cedar Rapids, IA, and the surrounding areas. They provide upfront pricing, same-day service, and 24/7 emergency response. Call them today for heating and air conditioning services in Cedar Rapids, IA.