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Air Conditioning FAQs

We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions about air conditioning units, air conditioning repair, and air conditioning services. 

The most important thing you can do to increase the efficiency of your air conditioning unit is to frequently clean and replace your filters. Also, an air conditioning system heats and cools more evenly when the blower is in the “on” position. The air conditioner blower provides constant air movement throughout the home and allows for better filtration. Finally, shades, drapes, shutters, or screens should be installed on windows that are exposed to extreme sunlight. These steps combined can help create better efficiency with your cooling unit. 

During the winter, your air conditioner unit’s evaporator coil is inactive, this allows for small amounts of dirt to accumulate. When the cooling system is turned on for the first time and condensation starts to run down the coil, a musty smell will occur until the dust and dirt has been rinsed off through normal operation of the AC unit. To prevent this, the AC system probably needs a better filtering system.

For optimum efficiency and filtration with your air conditioning unit, we recommend that you replace your disposable AC filters at least once a month. If you have washable filters, they should be cleaned once a month.

In the owner’s manual for your air conditioner it says, “…in addition to the maintenance you perform, your system should be inspected regularly by a properly trained technician…” In the industry, “regularly” means once a year. Most HVAC companies offer this annual dealer maintenance, De Hart Plumbing offers an air conditioner tune-up.

Inspect your AC unit’s distribution channels. Make sure that the fan on your unit is carrying air into the rooms or into your duct system. This is an easy fix, but can also be addressed during your AC unit’s annual maintenance checkup. 

If your AC unit turns on but doesn’t cool, check your thermostat to be sure that it is set at the correct temperature. You should then check the condenser and evaporator for dirt and any potential clogging. If too much dirt builds up, your AC unit may not turn on at all.

If you have the fan setting on your thermostat set to “on” or “run,” causing it to run all the time, it may just be that the compressor has cycled off and there is nothing wrong. You can also try adjusting the thermostat down and see if the air conditioner kicks on.

The other option is that something is not broken and it needs to be diagnosed to figure out what is causing the problem. An AC unit not producing cool air could be caused by many things, such as: frozen coils, refrigerant, bad compressor, a capacitor that has gone out, etc.

When your outdoor AC unit doesn’t turn on, check to see if the circuit breaker has been tripped. When this happens, you can easily reset the air conditioning unit after locating the circuit breaker panel.

The four most common reasons an air conditioning unit stops working are: lack of airflow, communication issues, failed components, and refrigerant levels

Ask yourself these four questions and then, based on your answers, make a decision as to why your AC unit should be replaced. 

  1. How broken is the AC unit? This can range from “ok” to “it won’t turn on”. After you have an HVAC technician look at it they should be able to tell you if the damage to your AC unit is minor or major.
  2. How old is your air conditioner? 15 is the magic number, that is what they say the life expectancy is for air conditioners, give or take a few years. The closer you get to that age, the more likely it is that your AC unit may need replacing. 
  3. How often is your AC unit breaking down? Frequency matters. If you have a 10-year-old air conditioner that is breaking down every year, it is probably only going to get worse. But, on the other hand, if you have a 17-year-old system that just broke down for the first time, you probably still have more years to go.
  4. How much do the AC repairs cost? This is where personal preference comes into play. You have to weigh the costs of repairs and how often you’re having to make those repairs vs what it would cost to replace your air conditioner

At De Hart Plumbing, our HVAC installation department can complete an air conditioner install in one day. We also stage the AC unit equipment the night before so it can be picked up early the next morning. The size of your air conditioner install will determine the size of the installation crew we send to put your system in place. Our goal is to complete your air conditioner install in one day, no matter the size of the AC job.

According to, 6% of the electricity we generate goes to cooling our homes, costing consumers $29 billion a year. So the best way to reduce your cooling bill is to use your AC less. Here are a few suggestions to further lower your AC fees.

  1. Adjust your thermostat up a few degrees. Most of us use our air conditioners to beat the heat but it would cost a little less if, maybe, we used them to take the edge off. The feeling of hot and cold is all relative, so in the hottest parts of the summer when it’s 100 outside, maybe you don’t need to cool the house to 68 to feel comfortable, maybe 75 or 80 would feel a lot cooler than 100, but while costing less.
  2. During the hottest parts of the day, cover the windows that the sun is shining into so your AC unit doesn’t have to work as hard. Sometimes our windows can act as a magnifying glass and superheat those rooms. Draw the shades or find something to block those rays.
  3. Turn on ceiling fans. Turning your ceiling fans on can create a breeze that evaporates the moisture from our skin and gives you a cool feeling. It doesn’t really change the temperature in the room, but it feels like it does.
  4. Don’t add a lot of humidity into the room. Humid air retains heat more than dry air. If you have a whole home humidifier, turn it off for the summer. If you have a room humidifier or defuser, use it less to ease the use of your AC unit. 
  5. Upgrade to a high-efficiency air conditioner. Once it’s time to replace your air conditioner, ask the technician that meets with you show you more energy efficient models. They cost a little more upfront, but save you more on your electric bill. You may even qualify for rebates and incentives from the manufacturer or the utility company.

This depends whether you are trying to save money or get comfortable. If you are trying to save money, the higher you set your AC’s thermostat, the less your air conditioner will run, therefore saving you more money. If you are trying to be comfortable, personal preference applies to your thermostat setting. If you’re looking for a happy medium, find what is comfortable and then adjust it up a couple of degrees.

It depends. It is possible your problem is a lack of insulation in the attic or uninsulated windows. It is also possible that your air conditioner is undersized or the ductwork in your home is undersized. You could also need more return air vents.

If you suspect the issue is with your air conditioner, the first step would be to have a technician come to your home and make sure everything is sized properly, including the air conditioner and the ductwork. They will also check things like the refrigerant levels to make sure they are not too low or too high.

If the problem is with the ductwork, it can be fixed. Many times it is messy and requires a lot of drywall patching and repainting. It may be that the best solution is a new ductless technology called a mini-split system. One of our HVAC supervisors can show you what options are available and the price of each option. This visit is free and there is no obligation to buy a new AC unit.

The magic of how your air conditioner works comes from the refrigerant and coils inside and outside of the home, these remove heat and moisture from the air. Airflow is key in the whole process of your AC unit. We made this video to explain the basics of how an air conditioner works. Our hope is that with a little information and understanding you will be able to make better-informed decisions when it comes to repairing and replacing your air conditioner when the time arrives.

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