If you’ve lived in our area through even just one summer, then you know the heavy workout that your air conditioning system gets, particularly in the height of summer. Fortunately, AC systems today are extremely durable, and designed to handle the heat, when they are cared for as they should be.
When you don’t properly care for your cooling system, you’ll probably find yourself paying a lot more for cooling than you need to. You may also find yourself calling for repairs a lot more than you should have to. There’s good news here though! There are methods out there to not only boost efficiency and therefore lower your energy costs, but also prevent repairs. Read on!
Stay on Top of Maintenance
If you haven’t scheduled a professional AC tune-up yet this summer, it’s not too late. Unless your air conditioner completely breaks down, there’s never a wrong time to have maintenance done—though it is of course a lot more convenient for you to have it in the spring, before you need the system the most. But having maintenance done consistently matters more than how often you have it done, and by consistently we mean once annually.
This advice is for central air conditioners. Keep in mind that if you have a year-round ductless system or heat pump system, your system needs maintenance once every 6 months.
Raise the Temperature
We get it—this sounds like counterintuitive advice, right? Well, bear with us…
We don’t advise that you turn on the heat—this wouldn’t make any sense! But, you might be keeping your thermostat a lot lower than you actually need to. A lower thermostat setting doesn’t provide your home with cooling any faster. It just keeps your compressor running longer. This wears down on the system faster. We recommend that you set your temperature on your thermostat at 78° during the day, since this is the temperature that most individuals are comfortable at.
This means that your compressor won’t need to run as long to reach the desired thermostat setting. Therefore, you’ll be using less energy!
Keep Your System Clear of Obstructions
The outdoor unit of your air conditioner is where the system exhausts the heat that it removes from your living space. It cannot effectively do this if the cabinet grill is dirty, or if trees and brush are obstructing it. You want to clear out the area by about a foot on all sides. This will allow for proper airflow.
We recommend cleaning off any dirt or grime with a low-pressured hose, too. A high-pressured hose may damage the equipment.
When you’re clearing obstructions, consider the inside, as well! Your indoor vents and registers can get dusty, or become blocked by things like furniture, backpacks, toys, etc. This affects the airflow coming into your living space, leading to less comfort and an air conditioner that has to run too long and work too hard to do its job.