At Bloomington Heating & Air, we don't believe in surprising our customers with last-minute changes, and we do our best to address any questions and concerns you might have! Below, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about air conditioners to help demystify this household convenience. Still have more questions? Contact us to speak with a professional HVAC technician — we're always happy to talk about HVAC!

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Air Conditioning FAQs

How Does An Air Conditioner Work?

When the thermostat measures the temperature is too warm or cold based on your settings, it signals to the HVAC system to turn on. Fans then switch on to circulate the air in your home. Once the airflow begins, warm air is pulled into the system and blows over the evaporator coils, where low-pressure gas refrigerant absorbs the heat and becomes a high-pressure liquid. The cooled air is returned to your home, and the high-pressure liquid moves along to the outside condenser coils, where fans blow over the coils to cool off the liquid. Once the liquid cools to a gas again, it returns to your home to continue the process.

How Can I Help My AC Last Longer?

When it comes to increasing the longevity of your air conditioner, AC maintenance can go a long way. While professional maintenance is suggested, there are many things you can do on your own, including the following.

  • Keep the outdoor condenser unit clear within at least two feet on all sides of the unit, and keep the coils clean of dirt and debris.
  • Do not block air vents or grills with furniture or carpeting. There should be at least a foot clearance between vents and anything else.
  • Regularly replace air filters. Every three months is usually good for most homes, but homes with multiple occupants and pets should consider changing their filters every one to two months. This can help your AC last longer and improve your indoor air quality.
  • Use a programmable thermostat to help keep temperatures consistent to avoid taxing your AC.
  • Ensure your home has proper insulation, including window shades and drapes, insulation around window frames and doorways, and wall insulation. This will keep the desired temperature in, and outside temperatures out, so your AC does not have to work as often.

How Often Should I Get AC Maintenance?

For most homes with average AC use, yearly HVAC maintenance is usually enough. However, additional maintenance may be required depending on the unit's age, how often you require AC repairs, and how often you use your system.

What Are Air Conditioner Ratings & Are They Important?

Air conditioning ratings let consumers know how efficient an air conditioner is at heating or cooling their homes, meaning how much energy will be required to get the job done. Not only can this help homeowners save money on utility bills, but more efficient ACs are better for the environment. The three usual ratings are EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio), SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio), and HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor). For all of these ratings, the higher the number, the better, with anything over 13 being pretty good.

What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need?

An AC is rated to cool or heat a building by its square footage, so you'll need to have an accurate blueprint or take your own measurements of each room's length, width, and height. You can find the information for the Manual J Calculation online and plug in all of your information there for an accurate AC size. You can also consult a professional HVAC technician to help you determine what size is correct. We provide this service as part of our AC installation process.

How Long Does The Average AC Last?

Most modern air conditioners can last up to 15–20 years when properly cared for. Regular AC maintenance and AC repairs can help ensure your AC lasts for as long as possible.