How To Tell if You Have an Energy-Efficient AC
August 17, 2022
Energy-efficient AC systems can save homeowners a lot of money on utility bills! But how do you know whether your current AC is energy efficient?
Generally speaking, an AC is energy efficient if:
- It’s the right size for your home
- A contractor regularly maintains it
- You've sealed and insulated your ducts
- A contractor installed it correctly
To help you determine the efficiency of your current system, let’s take a closer look at each of these factors.
Want a certified HVAC technician to inspect your AC?
Call Red Cap! We offer an AC system check to ensure your AC works at peak performance. We’ll even provide you with a 1-year no breakdown guarantee! Just call (813) 963-3056 (Tampa) or (727) 474-8287 (Pinellas) to schedule an appointment.
It’s the Right Size for Your Home
If your AC is oversized, it will short cycle, which means it will cool your home very quickly and then shut off. Constant short cycling can lead to higher energy bills, uneven cooling, and a shorter AC lifespan. On the flip side, an appropriately-sized AC will cool your home more efficiently without unnecessary wear and tear on the system.
But, what do we mean by “appropriately sized”?
When we refer to an AC’s “size,” we’re not talking about the unit’s physical dimensions. Instead, the size refers to an AC’s cooling capacity or how much heat it can remove from the air. We use tons or BTUs (British Thermal Units) to measure air conditioners, and one ton is equal to 12,000 BTUs.
Residential ACs usually range from 1 to 5 tons, but a technician can help you determine the ideal system size for your home by performing a Manual J Load Calculation. This calculation takes several factors into account, including your home’s:
- Square footage
- Ceiling height
- Ductwork (condition and quality)
- Roofing materials
- Number of windows
- Insulation quality
If a contractor only uses the square footage of your home to determine what size AC you need, they'll likely recommend the wrong size. A certified HVAC technician should always perform a Manual J Load Calculation to size an AC accurately.
A Contractor Regularly Maintains It
A well-maintained AC system suffers less wear and tear, resulting in higher efficiency, fewer breakdowns, and costly repairs.
An HVAC technician will inspect, clean, and complete minor repairs for your AC system during a system check. Much of this work will ensure that it remains as energy-efficient as possible.
For instance, a technician will clean important AC parts like the evaporator and condenser coils, ensure the thermostat is working correctly, and check for refrigerant leaks. All of which will help your AC perform at its best and prevent unnecessary stress on the system.
Typically, contractors recommend annual maintenance visits to extend the AC’s lifespan and improve efficiency. After checking your system, the technician can also provide helpful tips on maintaining your AC or enhancing its performance as it ages.
Your Ducts Are Sealed
Ducts distribute conditioned air throughout your house. But if your ducts have leaks, holes, or are poorly connected, some of that air will leak out, and you’ll have higher utility bills and less comfort.
According to Energy Star, 20% to 30% of the air moving through ductwork with holes and leaks is lost. It doesn't matter how well your AC works if you have leaky ducts. You'll lose a lot of conditioned air, and your AC will have to work harder to cool your home.
Unfortunately, since ducts are often behind walls, ceilings, attics, and basements, it can be challenging to access and repair them. A professional HVAC technician will have the proper tools and know-how to access hard-to-reach places and perform the necessary repairs.
A Contractor Installed It Correctly
According to Energy Star, improper installation can reduce an AC’s performance by as much as 30%. Even if you have a brand new high-efficiency air conditioner, it may not perform as well as its rating if a technician installed it incorrectly.
To ensure that this doesn’t happen in the future, make sure to hire a company that follows Energy Star Quality’s Installation Guidelines and does the following things:
- Provides Energy Star-certified air conditioners
- Uses a Manual J Load Calculation to determine the appropriate size system for your home
- Installs new refrigerant lines instead of using existing ones
- Installs a properly matched indoor coil and outdoor unit
- Installs and helps you set up a programmable thermostat (if you don’t already have one)
- Considers whether zoning (having separate temperature controls for different areas of the house) would be ideal for your home
- Inspects ductwork and insulation and makes any needed repairs
- Tests to confirm that duct leakage does not exceed the recommended levels
- Shows you how to replace the air filters on your new AC system
- Leaves you with all manuals and documentation of Manual J Load Calculation, measurements, and testing results
- Offers third-party verification to ensure proper installation
- Ensures proper levels of refrigerant and airflow to the system
Need a Pro To Inspect Your AC? Call Red Cap!
Our Red Cap family is committed to keeping your household comfortable while also helping you save money. Our certified techs will inspect your system, offer solutions and recommendations, and help you determine what’s best for your home and your budget. If you choose to install a new AC, we’ll properly size your system and help you maintain it with thorough annual AC system checks. Call (813) 963-3056 (Tampa) or (727) 474-8287 (Pinellas) to schedule an appointment.
- Posted in:
- Air Conditioning