Air Conditioning

Operation & Maintenance

Manufacturer Directions: The air-conditioning system installed in your home will provide you with many years of comfort if given proper care and maintenance.

Annual Inspection: Good maintenance of the cooling system can save energy dollars as well as prolong the life of the cooling system itself. Carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s literature on use and care. The guidelines here only include general information.

Furnished Homes: To keep your cooling system operating at maximum efficiency, you should have it checked and serviced by a professional serviceman at least twice a year.

Thermostat: The cooling system design was planned with a furnished home in mind. If you move in during the warmer part of the year and have not yet acquired all of your window coverings and furnishings, the home may seem warmer to you than you would expect.

Thermostats are calibrated to within plus or minus 5 degrees: Please review the thermostat manual for proper operation instructions. The cooling system will come on automatically when the temperature at the thermostat registers above the setting you have selected. Setting the thermostat to a lower temperature will not cool the home faster and the best performance will be realized when the thermostat is left at one setting around the clock. Fan switch left in the On position.

Filter: Remember to change or clean the filters every 60 days. If you do not clean or replace your filters your furnace cannot breathe and it will become too hot and shut down. Although it takes less than one minute to change the filter, this is one of the most frequently overlooked details of normal furnace care.

Vents: For maximum comfort and efficient energy use, do not place furniture and draperies over registers and cold air returns.

Trial Run: Have a trial run early in the spring to test the cooling system. If service is needed, it is much more convenient to discover it prior to the cooling season. Caution: do not operate your air conditioner if the outside temperature has not been at least 60 degrees for 24 hours. Damage may result.

Adjust Vents: You will find it advantageous to adjust the vents to direct airflow as desired. Partially closing vents in unoccupied areas will allow more air to flow to other areas.

Temperature Variations: Normal temperatures can vary from floor to floor and room to room (depending on the style of the home). Variations between inside temperatures and the thermostat setting can be as much as 6 degrees or more. The furnace blower will typically run non-stop during severe hot spells.

Ductwork Noise: Some popping or pinging sounds are the natural result of ductwork heating and cooling.

Recommendations for optimum performance

These recommendations become most important when outside temperatures reach into the mid-90’s and above. Taking these steps will “help” the system provide maximum comfort during these extreme temperature periods.

  • Be sure that the “fan” switch is in the “on” position. This will run the blower continuously, circulating the air throughout the home and helping to even out temperatures. The added electrical costs are relatively small and it’s actually better for the equipment to run continuously rather than start and stop. HVAC companies recommend running the fan in the “on” position year round.
  • Keep blinds closed over windows in the hottest part of the day. The largest amount of heat gain or loss in any home is through the windows. Turn the lights off in areas not being used. If you’ve ever touched a light bulb while it’s on, then you would know how much heat is generated by an incandescent bulb. A typical fixture with two to four bulbs will add an amazing amount of heat to the air.
  • Be sure to use exhaust fans while cooking, showering, running the clothes dryer, etc. to remove the heat produced by those activities. Of course it will help the most if these activities can be performed during the cooler parts of the day.
  • Leave interior doors open as much as possible. A closed door inhibits air movement in and out of the room and will cause the temperature in that room to be higher than the rest of the house.
  • Anticipate temperatures rising with the number of people in the home. Maybe lower the set point of the thermostat prior to guests arriving in anticipation of the increased need.
  • During the hottest weeks of the year set the thermostat lower than normal in the morning in order to get a “head start” on the demand later in the day.
  • Manual adjustment of the damper in the garage (if present) and of the registers in the home may be necessary to fine-tune the temperatures in the home. Typically, the rooms farthest away from the furnace will be most difficult to condition so the registers in closer rooms can sometimes be closed partially to redirect the air. Registers can be closed completely in rooms that are not used as much or that are naturally cooler.

Troubleshooting

If the air conditioner is blowing warm air or not air at all:

  • Check that the thermostat is set to “cool” and that it’s set to a temperature below the current temperature in the home.
  • Make sure that the breaker marked “A/C” is turned on.
  • There is also a power disconnect outside at the a/c unit itself. Make sure it is turned on.
  • The furnace may also have an on/off power switch in the garage. This switch looks like a regular light switch and is located on or next to the furnace. The switch simply overrides all furnace commands and manually shuts off the power.
  • Check and clean the filters
  • Check for ice around refrigeration lines at the outside a/c unit and the furnace in the garage.

If there is ice or frost at the air conditioner or indoor coil:

  • This is most commonly caused by low airflow, so first, check and clean the filters.
  • Also check that all the registers in the home and any dampers located in the garage are open so airflow is not restricted.
  • Turn the system switch on the thermostat to “off” and the Fan switch to “on”. This will cause the ice to melt and may result in some minor puddling around the furnace in the garage. This is not typically harmful, although it should be cleaned up as quickly as possible.
  • Once the ice is gone and all restrictions in airflow have been addressed, return the system switch to “cool”. If the problem continues, turn the system switch to “off”, the fan switch to “on”, and follow the instructions for a warranty request.

Limited Warranty: To fully and efficiently utilize your cooling system, you must understand that it is a total, whole-house system. The cooling system involves everything inside your home, including, for example, drapes and window coverings. The cooling system should be able to maintain a temperature of 78 degrees (measured 5 feet above the center of the floor at the T-stat). In the case of excessive outdoor temperatures (95 degrees or above), a 17-degree difference will be difficult to maintain. The Homeowner is responsible for minor adjustments such as balancing dampers and registers. All rooms will may vary in temperature by as much as 6 degrees. This is acceptable.

Furnace Sounds: Expansion and contraction of metal ductwork will typically result in some ticking or popping sounds. It is not possible to eliminate these sounds.

Registers: Register covers are removable and adjustable. The homeowner is responsible for adjusting the dampers in these covers to regulate the airflow within the home. In particular, attention is drawn to the fact that rooms farther away from the furnace will need to have vents opened more than rooms closer to the furnace.

 

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