In last week’s blog we talked about how inefficiencies of a home can pickpocket your heating and cooling budget. Today we will take a look at the inefficiencies of the heat pump and air conditioning equipment itself, and what homeowners can do to keep even older equipment running at highest possible efficiency.
Before going to work, let’s see how AC and heat pumps work. These systems actually work by air flowing through inside and outside heat exchangers. The heat is transported between the heat exchangers by a refrigerant fluid. In cooling mode, heat is collected from inside the home and is released to the outside air by the outside unit. In heating mode, they collect heat outside and release this heat inside the home.
These heat exchangers are often called coils as they are indeed coiled piping systems supported by lots of fine fins that increase the surface for heat exchange. Homeowners see typically only the outside unit with the coil and its fins inside a cabinet.
These coils are the part of the system we need to look at. They need to have unobstructed air flow and be clean from insulating dust and debris for the most efficient heat exchange.
So here is what a homeowner can do:
- Allow for unobstructed air flow through the outside unit and its coil.
- Trim grass and bushes around the outside unit.
- Remove yard debris from the cabinet and the visible part of the heat exchanger.
- Carefully brush or hose off loose dust and debris from the coil’s fins
-> Do not bend the fins to allow for complete air circulation
-> Carefully adjust fins where they have been bent from exterior influences.
The following steps shall only be addressed by a professional with appropriate knowledge of HVAC systems and the necessary safety precautions:
- Remove debris from the inside of the outside cabinet.
- Clean and ensure proper function of the blower.
- Inspect and repeat process as needed on the indoor coil.
And talking about air flow and obstructions, the single most effective maintenance that the home owner can do is to clean or replace the blower/furnace filter regularly. Clogged filters reduce air flow, therefore reducing the system’s efficiency dramatically. And never run an AC system with a broken filter, nor without one, as house dust deposits on the inside coil greatly reducing the heat exchange capability.
For more details and for other regular tune-up measures, contact your trusted HVAC specialist.
Don’t know one? Call us at Carolina Heating Service for all your heating and air conditioning needs.