Your home’s air conditioner quickly becomes one of your most vital and commonly used appliances when the weather starts to heat up. And if you’re like most homeowners, you want to make sure this device is working as efficiently as possible to keep your family cool — all while not having to spend a fortune on your monthly energy bills.
Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to get the most out of your AC without breaking the bank or sacrificing your family’s comfort. We’ve put together some helpful tips to ensure that your summer doesn’t leave you feeling hot and miserable with an air conditioner that’s broken down after working overtime. Read on to learn more!
Tip #1: Schedule AC maintenance
If you haven’t already done so, schedule a tune-up appointment with a skilled cooling professional. During this maintenance tune-up, the technician will thoroughly clean and inspect all working components inside your AC. He or she will also be able to determine if any parts need to be repaired or replaced before the true heat of summer arrives — and could result in a breakdown of your unit.
Additionally, the technician will ensure that your unit is running safely. He or she will examine the wiring in your unit to make sure that there isn’t any damage, such as fraying, that could eventually lead to the unit overheating or causing a fire.
Another aspect of air conditioner maintenance that the average homeowner can tackle is changing the filter monthly during the cooling season. It’s crucial that you change the filter often since all air passing through your home’s ducts will first pass through this filter. If it’s dirty and dusty, then the air that gets circulated into your home will not be clean. This could cause serious problems for your home’s indoor air quality. If you aren’t sure what size or MERV-rating you need with a replacement filter, check the owner’s manual that came with your system, or use the size and rating of the current filter as a reference.
Tip #2: Use your ceiling fan.
During the cooling season, your ceiling fan blades should be spinning in a counterclockwise direction as you look up. This will help push cool air back down and into your family’s living space. This can help regulate the air temperature inside your home so your AC can run less often, thus saving wear and tear on the unit while saving on your monthly energy bills.
Tip #3: Close your doors.
If there are rooms in your home that you don’t use every day — e.g., a guest bedroom and/or guest bathroom — close the doors to these areas. This will help the conditioned air from your AC stay where your family is spending most of their time. This tip could also be helpful in the winter when you’re trying to keep your home warm and cozy.
Tip #4: Check window and door seals.
If there are openings and gaps in the seals around your window and door frames, hot outdoor air can get inside and cool air from your AC can seep out. You can determine whether you have any areas that need to be resealed by moving your hand around the frame’s perimeter. If you feel any areas with warm air getting in, then these spots will need to have weatherstripping added.
When you let warm air in/cool air out, it could cause your air conditioner to work overtime to keep up with the temperature set at your thermostat. In turn, this could cause premature wear and tear on your system, as well as higher energy bills.
Tip #5: Ensure that your vents aren’t closed.
Many times, homeowners complain that one room or area of their home feels much warmer than it should, even when the AC is running. If this happens to you, check to see if your room’s vents are closed or obstructed by furniture, rugs, drapes, etc. This prevents cool air from your AC from getting pushed out into the space.
Tip #6: Close the curtains.
During the day when the sun is beaming in, close the curtains or blinds in any room that may be affected. The sun’s rays can heat up these areas and cause them to feel hot and uncomfortable, which could cause your AC to work harder than necessary to keep your family cool.
Tip #7: Check attic ventilation and insulation.
The attic space in a home is often overlooked. Many people only think of their attic when they need to store or bring down the holiday decorations or other items kept there. However, your attic is critical when it comes to keeping your home cool in the summer. For optimal comfort in your home, be sure your attic has proper ventilation to prevent hot air from staying trapped beneath your roof. This doesn’t just make your home feel hot and miserable, but the trapped heat could also damage your roof.
Along with your ventilation, another aspect of your attic that shouldn’t be ignored is insulation. You have insulating materials in your home’s exterior walls and ceilings. If you don’t have enough, your home’s interior can quickly heat up on those really hot summer days. If you aren’t sure if you have enough insulation, consult with a professional.
Tip #8: Examine your condenser.
The condenser is the part of your air conditioner that’s outdoors. It’s important that you keep a minimum of two feet of clearance around the unit for ample air flow. This could mean that you need to trim back bushes or tree limbs that are too close. Additionally, never cover the unit or use it as a “table” for items. Those items could potentially restrict air flow and cause problems with your AC’s ability to keep your home cool.
Tip #9: Ensure your thermostat is accurate.
Be sure to not place any items which generate heat next to your thermostat. This could include things like lamps, toaster ovens, coffeemakers, etc. Such devices could lead to your thermostat having an inaccurate temperature reading. If the thermostat is indicating that your home’s temperature is getting warmer than what you’ve set, the AC may cycle on prematurely. Over time, this could cause extra wear and tear on the system and potentially lead to a breakdown.
Tip #10: Wash dishes and clothes at night.
Saving these activities for after the sun sets helps prevent your home from warming up too much during the day — and triggering your air conditioner to cycle on more often than it should. Give yourself a break and put off those chores until evening!
Protection for your AC
To also ensure you’re getting the most out of your air conditioner, enroll in the affordable Cooling Repair and Cooling Maintenance Plans from Pivotal Home Solutions. These plans can help your home stay cool and comfy all season long! Have questions about coverage? Feel free to call us at any time, or you can chat with a customer service representative by clicking the Click to Chat tab on the right side of the page.