8 Smart Questions You Really Want to Ask About Your Air Conditioner

adult student raising hand in classroom

adult student raising hand in a classroom

Because we’ve been in the business of heating and air cooling for a long time, (more than twenty years, now!) and we’ve answered a lot of questions from our customers.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “There’s no such thing as a dumb question?” I think that’s true. Asking questions is the smart thing to do. There is no such thing as a dumb question in the air conditioning industry! How could you possibly know these things if you haven’t been trained in HVAC?

We thought we’d take this opportunity to answer all the questions you want to ask but are afraid to because you think you ought to know!

ONE: How does an air conditioner work?

It might seem like magic, but it’s not. An air conditioner works by removing heat and moisture from the air inside a room or building and expelling it outside. It does this by pushing air over coils that are cooled by a refrigerant where the heat is extracted and then released outside in the form of moisture.

TWO: What’s the difference between a window air conditioner and a portable air conditioner?

A window air conditioner is designed to be installed and mounted in a window. They were first patented in the 1930s but didn’t become popular until the 1950s after World War II during the housing boom. One million of them were sold in 1953, and they’ve been popular ever since. Window air conditioners are typically more powerful and efficient than portable units although they can be noisy.

Portable air conditioners are more convenient than window air units and can be moved from location to location. They became popular in the 1980s when technology allowed them to be smaller and more efficient.

Neither of these options is as good as a mini-split or a central air system. They cool less space, require more maintenance, and don’t last as long, but they are less expensive than the more powerful, whole-house systems.

THREE: What size air conditioner do I need for my house?

The size of the air conditioner you need for your house depends on multiple factors, including the square footage of the home, the number of windows, the insulation, and the climate.

To calculate the appropriate size of the air conditioner, professionals use a formula that takes into account the square footage of the space, the insulation level, and the heat gain or loss that occurs in the home. This formula is known as the Manual J load calculation.

Unless you’re a trained professional, it’s better to call us so that we can calculate the system that will best cool and heat your home and fit your lifestyle and your budget.

It's important to note that an air conditioner that is too small for a home will struggle to keep the space cool, while an air conditioner that is too large will waste energy and result in higher utility bills.

Size matters!

FOUR: How often should I change my air conditioner filter?

This is probably the most common question we get.

It’s also the one that even though we talk about it a lot, people ignore the most.

Our best advice is that you should change your air conditioner filter every month. You won’t forget about doing this simple task if it's on a monthly schedule. More importantly, you will know that your air is being filtered and that germs, dust, pet hair, and chemicals are being taken out of your air. You’ll breathe easier, and your health and productivity will improve.

Remember that if your filter gets dirty, your air will be dirty, too.

FIVE: What is the average lifespan of an air conditioner?

Here in central Florida, the average lifespan of an air conditioner is 10 to 12 years if the unit has been properly maintained.

We usually run our air conditioners at least nine months out of the year, and the humidity and heat of our climate require that they are in operation 24 hours of the day during those nine months.

The good news is that regular maintenance can extend the lifespan of an air conditioner by up to 40%, or approximately 4 years or more.

SIX: How much noise does an air conditioner make?

The amount of noise an air conditioner makes varies depending on the model, the size, and the age of the unit. A good central air conditioning system shouldn’t make enough noise to be noticeable, in the range of 50-60 decibels.

Mini-split or ductless systems are even quieter with some rated at 35 decibels.

In general, the newer the model, the quieter and more efficient it will be.

If your air conditioner is noisy, that probably means that it’s got issues: loose or damaged parts, a dirty filter, debris in the ductwork, a faulty fan motor, or any number of other causes.

SEVEN: Can I do any troubleshooting if my air conditioner is not working properly?

You wouldn’t believe how many times over the past two decades someone has called us to their home to check a malfunctioning unit only to find out that it was unplugged or had kicked off because of a filthy filter.

If your air conditioner is not working correctly, you should check the power source, the thermostat settings, and the air filter. Then call ServiceOne!

EIGHT: How often should I have my air conditioner serviced?

You should have your air conditioner serviced twice a year, usually once before the heat sets in and once before the cooler weather comes. As I said, routine maintenance can help improve the performance and lifespan of your unit and cut your energy costs by keeping your system running at its most efficient.

If you’re not already a ClubOne member, consider joining. Our Club One members get two precision tune-ups each year, plus a discount on parts and repairs.

Never be afraid to ask:

Remember that there is no such thing as a dumb question. Call us to ask anything!

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