Why Your Air Conditioner May Not Be Working (Or Working Well)

Few things are more frustrating than buying something new that doesn’t work. A significant financial investment like an air conditioner definitely should not be that way. There are key points to keep in mind when buying an air conditioner, and yes, you need to maintain it too. So if you have a fairly new air conditioner (less than a couple years old), read on for the reasons why it may not be working too well.

  • Too big. A unit that is too large will not remove humidity well.
  • Too small. A unit that is too small will not get your home cool enough on the hottest days.
  • Improper installation. Customers should pay attention to duct installation, unit location, and insulation amount.
  • Low energy efficiency ratio. An air conditioner model with high efficiency is important. At minimum, air conditioners need to have a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) of 13. Higher SEER ratings will equal greater savings. Look for an Energy Star sticker that gives the energy efficiency rating or calculate the rating yourself by dividing the watt rating into the BTU.
  • Dirty filter. Don’t forget to clean or replace your air conditioner’s filter. Dirty filters block air flow and will reduce your air conditioning system’s efficiency greatly. Air that does get through may carry dirt to the evaporator coil and limit the coil’s heat-absorbing ability. Some filters are reusable while others must be replaced. Filters should be cleaned or replaced every 1-2 months, when using the air condition often. Filters may need to be checked even more frequently if the air condition is on constantly, the house is dusty, or there are pets in the house.
  • Dirty evaporator coil. Even with a clean filter, the evaporator coil will still collect dirt, just not as fast. The evaporator coil should be check every year and cleaned as necessary.

For those with old air conditioners (from the 1970s and earlier), save energy by getting a new air conditioner as today’s most efficient air conditioners use 30% to 50% less energy to produce the same amount of cooling as air conditioners from the 1970s.

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