When you get a new air conditioner, it automatically comes with an efficiency rating called SEER- Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This is the measurement of how much power your air conditioner outputs versus how much energy it uses. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient your air conditioner!
A common question that homeowners have about this, then, is “is it possible for that number to decline?” The answer is yes, it can! But you actually have control over how much it does so. Read on to learn more!
How Your AC Efficiency Can, In Fact, Decline
All air conditioners have a useful service life, and all air conditioners will suffer from natural wear and tear that will cause efficiency to decline, a little. However, you do have some control over how much. Here’s how your AC efficiency can decline:
By Skipping Professional Maintenance
Professional HVAC maintenance allows our technicians to comprehensively inspect, clean, and adjust the components that need it within your air conditioning system. All of this helps your system retain up to 95% efficiency, whereas otherwise, it could lose about 5% of its original efficiency each year maintenance is skipped.
By Using the Thermostat Incorrectly
Did you know that the most efficient setting for your thermostat is 78°F? This is the temperature that most people can maintain comfort at. The problem is, that many homeowners will leave their air conditioners off all day, and turn them on when they get home from work/school/etc. blasting the air as low as the thermostat will go.
People often think this helps the home cool down faster, but really all it does is make the compressor run longer, and this is where efficiency gets lost. It’s better to keep your air conditioner on and set to a reasonable temperature (between 78-80°) when you’re not home, and if needed bump it down a couple of degrees when you get home.
By Closing Off Vents
You might think that closing off your vents is more efficient–after all if you’re not using your air conditioner in all the rooms then it doesn’t have to work as hard, right? Well, not quite… you see, closing off vents doesn’t change how much air the blower fan is pushing through your ductwork.
This action can actually have the opposite effect you want it to–it will create a pressure imbalance and increase wear and tear on your system, therefore decreasing efficiency.
By Not Addressing Damaged Ducts or Other Damaged Components
You can actually lose up to 30% of the conditioned air you are otherwise paying for through damaged or loose ductwork. Other damaged components can also make it harder for your air conditioner to do its job, and therefore make it perform less efficiently. For example, if you have a refrigerant leak (which would cause your air conditioner to stop cooling as well), the evaporator coil and compressor have less to work with and have to run longer to do their job.