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Air Conditioning Tips and Advice

Air Conditioning Tips and Advice (98)

Many homes have rooms that go unoccupied for long periods of time. Guest rooms, bedrooms and basements make up a large percentage of the air volume in the average home. So it seems like a simple question: if the room is unused, why not close the air registers to save energy? The reality is that closing vents can actually waste energy, harm your furnace and AC while also making occupied rooms less comfortable.

When your central heating and cooling system was installed your HVAC technician carefully measured the volume of air in your entire home, then matched the size of your furnace and air conditioner to provide the best performance. Reducing the air volume by closing vents will not make your AC cool less or the heating system heat less, it will simply send the same amount of air to the open air ducts and vents throughout your home. In addition, during normal operation a home's ductwork will lose 20-30% of the air though leaks. Closing vents will simply cause more conditioned air to leak, wasting energy.

Closing air vents also increases the pressure inside the ductwork, which in turn will make the blower fan work harder to push the air through. The result is an increased risk of the AC evaporator coil freezing or the furnace's heat exchanger overheating.

Of course, closing one or two air vents is not going to cause major issues, but for each vent that is closed the performance of your central heating and cooling system will be diminished.
Even if your home has central cooling, ductless mini-split heating may be a good option in certain situations.

A mini-split system consists of a small air handler in each room, usually installed into the wall near the ceiling. A small conduit connects a condenser outside the home to all of the indoor air handlers. When used for cooling, they typically offer greater efficiency and improved performance compared to window AC units. Here are some applications where mini-split systems offer an advantage over traditional central air conditioning.

1. Mini-split systems can be installed in older homes, attics, or new additions without existing ductwork.
2. They can be used to solve challenging heating situations where the furnace is located too far from certain areas of the home, such a new addition.
3. Ductless heating and cooling systems are ideal where you need to optimize the temperature of a room for a specific purpose, such as a wine cellar or cold storage.
4. External or seasonal spaces like detached garages or porches.

If your interested in how ductless mini-split systems could work in your home, give ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning a call, we're here to help.
If you have ever removed a cover on an air register you may have noticed how dirty the inside of air ducts can be. One of the best ways to keep your air ducts clean is to replace your air filter regularly. When filters become clogged they allow dust to pass through them into your ductwork. Most 1" pleated filters should be replaced every month.

If someone in your household suffers from allergies or upper respiratory ailments, duct cleaning can help to ensure that airborne dust and mold are kept to a minimum. If dust or debris is visible coming through the vents while the air conditioner is running, or mold is seen growing on air registers, duct cleaning is recommended.

Have questions about indoor air quality issues? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we can help.
Did you know that nearly 40 percent of the conditioned air from your central air conditioner may not be making it to the spaces in the home that it is supposed to reach? The main culprit is often leaking air ducts, and it can cause some rooms to feel stuffy and uncomfortable while the AC seems to run longer than it should, wasting energy and costing you money.

Your home's ductwork is full of joints, curves and creases that can allow air to leak out. A professional HVAC technician can identify these leaks and offer solutions to providing tighter seals that can improve airflow throughout the home. One option is professional duct sealing. Duct sealing involves measuring the rate of air entering and returning through the HVAC system.

The first step to fixing air duct leaks is to have ABC inspect the efficiency of your HVAC system. We can identify any problem areas and recommend solutions to reduce air leaks. We offer advanced diagnostics and high performance solutions to help ensure that you are getting maximum performance from your central air conditioner.
Learning Thermostats, or smart thermostats, have been around for a while now, and they keep getting smarter. Here are some of the features you will find that can help keep your home more comfortable while also reducing your energy usage.
  1. Learns your routine. Built-in sensors track activity in the home and use algorithms a custom, auto-adjusting temperature schedule based on those movements in the home. If you turn down the heat before bed, the thermostat learns this routine.
  2. It knows when you're away. Using your smartphone's location and sensors in the home, a learning thermostat can switch to economy mode to save energy.
  3. Tracks energy usage. Knowing your energy usage history can help you better manage your heating and cooling schedule and save on your utility bill.
  4. Early warning of an emergency. If the temperature drops unexpectedly when it's below freezing because your furnace is not working, you will be warned before pipes freeze and your home is damaged.
Upgrading to a learning thermostat is easy, and can make your home more comfortable and energy efficient.


Electrostatic air filters are made of multiple layers of vented metal. As the air passes through the layers, the molecules become positively charged by the friction between the air and the filter. This positive charge causes dirt particles in the air to cling to the metal surfaces of the filter, preventing most dirt from passing through to the ventilation system.

The Advantages of Electrostatic Air Filters

The main advantage of electrostatic air filters is that they are reusable, and therefore can save money over time. When the filter becomes dirty, you simply vacuum or hose it off. While the up-front cost is more than most disposable media filters, they should last a long time.

The Disadvantages of Electrostatic Air Filters

There are several important disadvantages to electrostatic air filters. First, high quality disposable media filters are usually more effective at removing fine dirt particles. Second, because they charge the air, any dirt that makes it through the filter will cling to air conditioner coils and air ducts, causing dirt to accumulate, and potentially causing air quality issues. Finally, a standard media filter is simple to dispose of and replace, while electrostatic air filters require time to clean off.

Have questions about air filters? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we can help.
Electrostatic air filters are made of multiple layers of vented metal. As the air passes through the layers, the molecules become positively charged by the friction between the air and the filter. This positive charge causes dirt particles in the air to cling to the metal surfaces of the filter, preventing most dirt from passing through to the ventilation system.

The Advantages of Electrostatic Air Filters

The main advantage of electrostatic air filters is that they are reusable, and therefore can save money over time. When the filter becomes dirty, you simply vacuum or hose it off. While the up-front cost is more than most disposable media filters, they should last a long time.

The Disadvantages of Electrostatic Air Filters

There are several important disadvantages to electrostatic air filters. First, high quality disposable media filters are usually more effective at removing fine dirt particles. Second, because they charge the air, any dirt that makes it through the filter will cling to air conditioner coils and air ducts, causing dirt to accumulate, and potentially causing air quality issues. Finally, a standard media filter is simple to dispose of and replace, while electrostatic air filters require time to clean off.

Have questions about air filters? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we can help.
Finding the right location for your thermostat is important. An improperly placed thermostat will give you false readings, reducing comfort and wasting energy. To ensure your thermostat is in the right location, follow these simple rules:

  • Avoid walls that receive direct sunlight
  • Place the thermostat near the center of the home
  • Place the thermostat on an interior wall
  • Don't place the thermostat near heat registers or vents
  • Avoid areas near the kitchen, where cooking will generate heat
By following these simple steps you can ensure your heating and cooling system are affected by false thermostat readings.

Need help with your thermostat? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We're here to help.
Today's central air conditioners are designed to never leak coolant. In fact, the coolant in an air conditioner will often outlast the AC system itself. In rare cases, however, coolant may leak from a system and need a recharge – or more accurately, a refill. Leaks are often caused by some kind of damage to the unit, or a manufacturer defect. In some cases the manufacturer may cover repair of the leak under warranty.

Refrigerants are used to extract the heat from the air, without this heat transfer the system will fail to cool, so the most obvious sign of a leak is when the air coming out of your vents feels warmer than normal. Of course, this will also trick the thermostat into making the AC run longer than normal. This will happen gradually over time as the refrigerant slowly leaks out. Another sign of a refrigerant leak is a buildup of frost and ice on the surface of the AC unit. Once outside the coil, refrigerant is a gas that will freeze on any exposed surface.

If the system does need a coolant recharge the work should be performed by a qualified air conditioner technician who is certified by the EPA to perform the work. Annual AC maintenance is also important to find small leaks before they degrade system performance. If the system is 12 years or older and the leak is large, it may be more cost effective to replace the air conditioner with a newer, more efficient model rather than repair and refill unit.

Have questions about your air conditioner? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we're here to help.
While it sounds like a simple question, setting your thermostat too high when you leave for vacation could actually end up costing you more. The reason is, if the house is allowed to get too hot the air conditioner will have to work overtime when you return to restore the temperature to a comfortable range, negating much of the energy savings.

Turning the temperature up too high can also cause problems with excess humidity, which can damage furnishings and cause mildew to grow.

What is the best temperature? We recommend setting the temperature 4-5 degrees higher than the normal setting to save energy and keep your house safe from excess heat and humidity. So if you normally set your temperature to 72, turn it up to a maximum of 77 degrees.

Have questions about your air conditioner? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we're here to help.

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