Updated: Tuesday, 22 May 2012, 9:14 AM CDT
Published : Tuesday, 22 May 2012, 8:21 AM CDT
Highly rated service specialists tell Angie's List the majority of their emergency repair calls can be traced back to poor maintenance. Each year your air conditioner goes without maintenance, it will lose about 5 percent of its overall efficiency.
Finding potential problems before they arise will keep you from having an unexpected failure in the middle of a heat wave, will save you emergency repair bills and will help avoid costly repairs down the road.
Signs that your A/C is due for service:
· However, not all problems are immediately recognizable, reinforcing the importance of having an annual inspection.
Items checked during a tune-up may include:
Angie's List, the nation's premier provider of local consumer reviews asked its heating and cooling experts for ways homeowners can save and still beat the heat:
· Call a professional: Each central air conditioning unit should be inspected, cleaned and tuned by a professional before the summer season. Ask about annual maintenance plans. More HVAC are offering these plans that will insure visits twice per calendar year.
· Keep the filter clean: Clean and replace the air conditioner filter frequently (check the filter once a month). This is especially important during the summer when dust and allergens circulate. If the filter becomes clogged, your system will have to work harder to supply the same amount of cool air. Check with your provider on the right type of filters to use with your system.
Made in the shade: Air conditioners with proper shading can be more efficient. Air in a shaded space is cooler than the surrounding air, meaning · the A/C will have an easier time cooling the air, but keep plants, shrubs, and other landscaping about two to four feet away from your outdoor unit to ensure adequate airflow.
· Dial for dollars: Remember that each degree you dial below 78 increases your energy consumption by about 8 percent. If your monthly electric bill is about $100, you'll save $8 a month with EACH degree you can stand above 78.
· Set and go: If it's hard to remember to tweak your thermostat before you leave for work, consider investing in a programmable thermostat or a timer for your window unit.
· Time to replace? If your unit is more than 10 years old and you have substantial repair costs, it's probably time to consider a replacing your unit with a new, energy-efficient model. When replacing your A/C, look for a properly sized unit. If you install a unit that is too large, it will cycle on and off - reducing the efficiency of the system.
Angie's List tips for hiring a HVAC company:
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