Helping You Save
Energy and Money
#

Back to All Energy Saving Tips

Cooling System Tune-Up

With summer coming, Nebraskans are about to use around 10% of their average home’s energy needs in a few short months. Yes, it’s air-conditioning season again!

Many only consider the status of their cooling system when it becomes stuffy inside and they flip the switch on their thermostat from “HEAT” to “COOL.” If cold air blows out, they don’t give it another thought so long as they stay cool through summer. But what if there was a way you could save considerable energy, prolong the life of your central air-conditioning equipment and qualify for an EnergyWiseSM rebate to reduce costs?

The solution simply involves contacting a NATE-certified Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) technician to perform a cooling system tune-up on your equipment. NATE stands for North American Technician Excellence, which is a testing and certification organization recognized throughout the HVAC industry.

Typically, tune-ups on previously neglected cooling systems that have been neglected can provide 5 to 15% energy savings or more. According to homeadvisor.com, a tune-up will cost from $75 to $200. However, local electric utilities supporting EnergyWiseSM energy efficiency programs will provide a $30 incentive on tune-ups.

At a minimum, any technician conducting a tune-up should:

Clean the condenser coil in the outdoor unit  Outdoor condenser coils become dirty over time and are also easily bent. This reduces heat transfer through the coil and causes a cooling system to operate longer to cool the home. An HVAC technician will clean the outdoor condenser coil using commercial-grade cleaning products and use a tool called a “fin comb” to align the coil fins into nearly original condition.

Check the refrigerant charge – Performance and efficiency of your air conditioner is greatest when the refrigerant charge exactly matches the manufacturer’s specification. If your system is low, the HVAC technician will add just the right amount to optimize performance.

Clean the indoor evaporator coil – The indoor coil is inside your furnace or ductwork. Even if you regularly change furnace filters, dust, allergens and airborne particles can accumulate on its fins and dramatically reduce efficiency. While the scope of most tune-ups does not include cleaning this coil, the technician will check to assure significant build up has not occurred.

Check the fan belt and lubricate the motor – Over time, belts crack and signal their impending failure. Some fan motors require occasional oiling to lubricate moving parts and reduce premature motor failure. The technician will assess the condition of the belt and lubricate any parts requiring oil.

Blow out the drain line – Condensate drain lines are continuously moist during the cooling season. If water does not flow through the drain line properly, mold, mildew and fungus can consequently develop and obstruct or block the condensate drain line. The condensate pan can then become filled with water and will eventually overflow.

Visually inspect the system – The HVAC technician’s trained eye will identify any external problems with your system for further rectification.

Discuss proper operation – The HVAC technician can discuss proper control sequences to assure heating and cooling systems do not operate simultaneously, and how to optimize operation for efficiency and comfort.

Discuss/review proper temperature set-back – If you are unsure how to program your thermostat to automatically adjust settings, the HVAC technician can demonstrate this process for you.

Filter Service Schedule – In addition to discussing the quality and effectiveness of various filters, the technician can help identify how often it should be changed. Some homes need this monthly, while others may get by with the same filter for six months or longer. According to the Department of Energy, replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5 to 15 percent.

Your local electric utility has information on additional ways to efficiently use the energy they provide while keeping your home comfortable. In partnership with your local electric utility, they offer EnergyWiseSM incentives to reduce the cost for many of these improvements. Visit with your local public power utility to learn more.

Other Related Tips

Thinking About Your A/C?

As the heat of summer cranks up, so do the central air conditioners and heat pumps across Nebraska. In fact, approximately 90% of homes in our state have one of these central cooling systems. The vast majority have a compressor unit that buzzes outside as the system...

Doing the Dishes

Of the more than one million food service businesses in the United States, the National Restaurant Association estimates more than 260,000 are full-service restaurants. Considering the average restaurant serves about 100 customers per day, that means a lot of dirty...

Light Switches

In June of 1752, Benjamin Franklin and his son, William, conducted the famous kite-in-a-thunderstorm experiment to demonstrate the relationship between lightning and electricity. By attaching the kite to a Leyden jar, which was an early type of battery invented seven...

Kicking the Can

First introduced in the 1950s, recessed lighting or “can lighting” is still a popular choice for residential and commercial lighting. Traditionally, these fixtures consist of a cylindrical or square-shaped metal housing that extends above the ceiling so only the trim...

Why Energy Efficiency?

Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) is committed to working in partnership with local utility customers to maximize the value of their energy purchases in a cost-effective manner. To understand its importance in our future, we need to examine where energy efficiency...

Skip to content