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Your home's HVAC system accounts for up to 30 percent of your overall energy use. Here are some tips to help you improve efficiency and comfort while you save energy and money:
Here are some quick tips to increasing energy efficiency in your home:
- Replace your A/C system's filter regularly.
- Have your system's refrigerant charge tested and adjusted, if necessary.
- Have your condenser coils cleaned regularly.
- Have your home's ductwork tested for leaks and sealed, if necessary.
- Talk to an approved A/C Quality contractor about an ongoing service contract or maintenance agreement to keep your equipment running smoothly.
- Set and lock your thermostats to the maximum acceptable set point.
- Install timers or program thermostats
- Consider installing the most energy efficient appliance when purchasing new equipment.
Annual maintenance is a cost-effective way to improve your comfort and save money. An improperly maintained HVAC system is likely to work too hard and develop significant problems that reduce indoor comfort and decrease energy savings.
The Quality Maintenance Program recommends Preventive Maintenance Agreements that include a minimum of two scheduled visits a year performed in accordance with ANSI/ACCA 4 maintenance standards. A scheduled visit should include (at a minimum):
- An inspection of your equipment and system components to identify any faults that prevent the unit from operating safely or within its design specifications.
- A discussion of findings and any corrective actions needed.
- The cost of any repairs.
- A list of work performed: items that were inspected, cleaned, repaired, or replaced.
In some cases, a scheduled maintenance visit may uncover issues that require repairs before a unit can be returned to an optimal state. Your contractor should discuss the cost of these repairs with you to see if they qualify you for SCE's System Optimization Rebate. In some cases, it may make more economic sense to replace the unit using SCE's ENERGY STAR® Quality Installation Program.
A central air conditioning system works by removing heat from inside the home and transferring it to the outside. Cooled air is then added and circulated throughout the home by a fan. Since moisture evaporates when heat is absorbed, and moisture condenses when heat is released, air conditioners use a compressor to cause pressure changes between two compartments.
Two types of central air conditioning systems are:
- Split System: The most common HVAC systems used in homes. The condenser and compressor are outside the home; the evaporator coil is inside, typically as a component of the furnace. All components must be compatible.
- Packaged System: The evaporator, condenser and compressor are housed in one cabinet. The air supply and return ducts pass through the home's exterior walls to connect with the A/C unit.
The compressor pumps refrigerant into the low-pressure compartment (the evaporator coil). There, low pressure causes the refrigerant to evaporate into a vapor, releasing heat. In the condenser coil, refrigerant vapor is compressed and forced through a heat exchange coil, where it condenses into a liquid, expelling the heat previously absorbed from the cooled space. A heat exchanger in the condenser uses a fan blowing outside air to cool it.