Like any appliance, air conditioners need a little TLC to deliver optimal performance. It's the ACs that haven't been kept in top-notch condition that tend to struggle most in hot weather.
To make sure you don't lose your cool as soon as the weather condition heats up, we asked the specialists at Customer Reports and air conditioning system pros to recognize the most typical issues that turn up with window and main air conditioners. They highlighted 8 issues to fix now. Plus, you'll find our list of top ac system for small, medium, and large rooms, below.
The No. 1 problem impacts both window systems and main A/C systems, and-- we more than happy to report-- it's the simplest to repair. Here are eight questions to ask that will help you keep your AC at peak performance all summer long.
1. Is the Filter Dirty?
No matter which kind of air conditioning system you have, a clogged up filter limits air flow, reducing effectiveness and decreasing the ability to efficiently cool the air. If you have not cleaned up the filter in your window or portable air conditioning system just recently, make sure you do and after that examine it periodically. For main AC systems, check the filter maker's suggestion for when to switch in a new one. In CR's tests, filters last anywhere from three to 12 months.
Just keep in mind that if your system is running continuously or if you have family pets, you will require to change your filters more frequently. "When we get calls about central air conditioning units that aren't working well, 9 times out of 10 it's due to the fact that of a filthy filter," says Stewart Unsdorfer, owner of Central Heating & Air Conditioning in Cleveland.
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2. Is It Too Sunny Within?
If your window Air Conditioner remains in a window that gets direct sunlight in the heat of the day, it'll have to work harder to cool your area. If you have an option, move it to a shadier spot. If not, keep your shades and curtains drawn throughout the day to obstruct the sun and avoid it from heating up your house.
3. Is Warm Air Leaking In? Examine the seals around your window Air Conditioner to ensure hot air isn't getting in (or cold air isn't leaking out). Reseal around your unit with weather removing if needed.
" A lot of new window units feature insulation panels to put over the plastic adjustable side panels," says Chris Regan, CR's senior air conditioning unit tester. "But to optimize performance, you'll still require to use weather removing around the boundary of the unit. And always utilize the producer's installation and website safety hardware."
4. Is Your Window Air Conditioner Vibrating? A/c make lots of noise, including from the whir of the fan and the noise of the compressor cycling on and off. These noises are normal. However if you hear a vibrating noise, it may suggest that your system was installed incorrectly. Make certain it's sitting safely in the window and evaluate the installation guidelines in your owner's handbook to confirm that no actions were missed out on.
Central Air Conditioning Checklist
5. Is the Thermostat on the Right Setting?
With a clever or programmable thermostat, you can more quickly control the temperature in your house so that it's comfortable when you're there and a bit warmer when you're not. If the temperature level appears off, ensure the thermostat isn't exposed to direct sunlight, which might cause it to register the incorrect temperature level.
6. Are the Registers Dirty or Blocked?
If you have a forced-air heating and cooling system, frequently vacuum the signs up to eliminate any dust buildup. Make certain that furniture and other things aren't obstructing the airflow through your signs up.
7. Are Plants Crowding the Compressor?
The outside compressor for central air requires sufficient airflow to work properly, so make certain there's at least 2 to 3 feet of space between the compressor and any plants or structures. There must also be 5 feet of clearance between the top of the system and any trees above.
8. Did You Remember the Yearly Examination? An evaluation by a HVAC (heating, ventilation, and cooling) specialist can catch any severe problems prior to they worsen and leave you hot and bothered. The professional will inspect all the moving parts, as well as the refrigerant, and charge the system if needed.
Need a New Air Conditioner?
If your room air conditioning unit is beyond repair work, you can find one that did well in our tests for as low as around $200 for a small system and upwards of $800 for a large one. Make sure you match the size of the a/c to the room it's meant to cool. Listed below, we list designs in each size that performed well in CR's tests. You can discover more in our complete air conditioning unit rankings.