START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good

Top 4 Things That Interfere With Central AC

3. Installing the wrong filter

Make sure you have the right filter installed.† Most HVAC systems were designed to use one of those cheap fiberglass filters to clean the air.† Unfortunately, they donít do a very good job at it, so many people go to their local hardware or big-box store and buy a super-duper high efficiency pleated paper filter GUARANTEED to keep their air cleaner.† It might actually keep the air cleaner, but it also cuts down on the air flow, making the whole system less efficient.† They can make the cooling coils freeze, creating even bigger problems.† If you really need a good filter, first seal the ducts to keep the air in and the nasty stuff out, then get a 6 inch thick pleated filter which fits into a special cabinet which your HVAC contractor can install for you. They do a good job filtering the air and donít cause the same problems with the air flow.

4. Not enough return ducts

The last thing Iím going to talk about is return ducts. Lots of HVAC systems are installed with a single, large return somewhere in the middle of the house.† Each room has its own supply, but the air is supposed to, sort of magically, slide under the door and get back to the big return duct to be cooled again.† The problem is that the space under the door usually isnít big enough, so the air doesnít flow through the whole house well enough to keep things evenly cooled.† Some rooms are hot, some are cold, and none are just right.† Consider having an HVAC contractor add some extra return ducts in bedrooms and other rooms with doors (except for bathrooms) to give you better air flow and increased comfort.

Notice that I havenít said anything about equipment efficiency.† Thatís what the manufacturers and installers talk about, because they can make a lot of money selling you fancy, expensive air conditioners that are super efficient.† The problem is, if you put one of those on a system that is otherwise pretty crappy, you have wasted most of the super-duper efficiency you paid for. Take care of the more boring, tedious, and important things like these first, before you install new equipment.† Youíll be much happier, and more comfortable.† Then when you want to put in that super duper equipment, youíll have a really good HVAC system.


23 Tips for Keeping the House Cool
5 More Tips for Staying Cool Without the A/C
How Your HVAC System Impacts Home Efficiency

Read more: Conservation, Crafts & Design, Eco-friendly tips, Green, Home, Household Hints, Materials & Architecture, Technology, , , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Selections from Networx empowers people to make educated, economical and Earth-friendly renovation and home repair choices. We are a community of homeowners, renters and contractors who are committed to sharing home improvement expertise and experience.


+ add your own
12:46PM PST on Nov 11, 2014

Live long and prosper

4:47AM PDT on Sep 24, 2012

thank you

8:24AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Ontario summers are hot and humid, two weeks ago the thermometer hit 108, ouch, have to have an air conditioner or my 16 year old blind cat that owns me will take out a contract on me as she wears a thick coat. As long as I supply her with love, food, water, vet care (sorry I said that word), air conditioning in the summer and heat in the -40 winter, my existence is secure. But if I lose the A/C or the catnip...

11:42AM PDT on Jul 9, 2012


8:58AM PDT on Jul 9, 2012

Good to know information, thanks.

11:23AM PDT on Jul 8, 2012

Thank you for the suggestions. I had one house where one unit was actually installed BACKWARD, so that the airflow had to make a U-turn so that unit wasn't as efficient. Also there is some laziness on the part of builders; when your ceiling vents are open look at the direction they're facing. Some of mine where screwed into the ceiling facing away from the center of the room so that the air blows into a corner.

8:18AM PDT on Jul 6, 2012


11:09AM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

9:35AM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

thanks for sharing....

8:24AM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

Thanks for sharing!

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

thank you

Thanks for the information! Shared on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you for caring and sharing - hilarious cat - the other couldn't care less!

I grew up in a warm climate, so have never set eyes on storm windows. The homes are securely bui…


Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!