We expect a lot from our central air systems, especially during those long summer months when Memphis is at its muggiest. At the same time, we tend to take these powerful appliances for granted. They have to work harder to overcome certain obstacles that could jeopardize our comfort and spike our energy bills.
Uneven temperatures, higher energy bills, and diminished airflow all suggest something is amiss with your central heating and cooling systems. Here’s what to watch for.
Common Culprits That Tax Your HVAC
Closed vents: On the surface, it sounds logical: close the vents to unoccupied rooms to save energy. Contrary to popular belief, however, closed vents do little good. Shutting the vents disrupts the pressure balance in your central air unit. This forces air through leaks likely present in your ductwork. Plus, heat from closed-off rooms will transfer to cooler spaces adjacent, forcing your AC to work overtime. Consider a zoned HVAC system if you want to channel conditioned air to specific rooms. This type of system utilizes dampers in the ductwork to create different temperature zones, each equipped with its own thermostat. For example, one room can be 72° while another can be 68°. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that a zoned HVAC configuration can slash your annual heating and cooling costs by as much as 30%.
Leaky ducts: As mentioned above, most homes have leaky ductwork. Whether it’s from broken seals, loose or detached segments, or punctures in the material, leaks will cost you comfort and money. As much as 30% of your conditioned air is lost through gaps to the attic. Watch for these red flags that your ducts may be leaking:
- High energy bills: If your energy bills have been climbing lately, leaky ducts could be a culprit.
- Excessive dust: Has your feather duster been getting more action? Holes in ducts can draw in dirty air from the attic, distributing dust along with your air.
- Hot and cold spots: A leaky branch of duct won’t deliver sufficient air, which may explain why that one room is always stuffy.
Clogged filter: The air filter plays a vital role in your HVAC system’s performance. When it becomes caked with dust and debris, the filter suffocates airflow. Your central air system has to use a lot more power to push through a filthy filter and its heating and cooling capacity will suffer. If neglected long enough, a clogged filter will cause the cooling coil to freeze over. Avoid the costly repair by making a point to change out the filter every 30 to 90 days. (Pro tip: The next time you replace your filter, write the date on its cardboard surround. That way you can keep track of filter changes.)
Neglected maintenance: Like anything mechanical, your central air system requires regular tune-ups to operate at peak efficiency. Skipping maintenance results in a sluggish system prone to failure. During a spring maintenance appointment, an HVAC technician will work off of an exhaustive checklist to ensure your air conditioning system is prepared for the season ahead. This is an opportunity to assess all moving parts and make any minor repairs before they become major issues. Plus, routine tune-ups extend the system’s lifespan and help validate its current or extended warranty.
Turn to the Memphis AC Repair Experts
AirMasters Air Conditioning & Heating is committed to providing the highest quality heating and cooling services in Memphis. Our licensed, trained technicians can expertly diagnose your system and recommend the best solutions. We’re backed by decades of experience, offer upfront, no-hassle pricing, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. To schedule an appointment, call (901) 295-4434.