Warm weather is finally here! Is your air conditioning system in tip-top shape? Here are some tips to get you’re A/C running to the best of its ability and, ultimately, save you some cash! Thus, begins a new series of tips to get the most out of your A/C system and keep your home cool this upcoming summer.
1. Clean/ replace the air filters: If you have central air, replace filter in the furnace. It is recommended to change them every three months. Window units should have filters as well. Replace those monthly during the time your A/C is operating. Do you have pets? You should replace the filters more often as pet dander and fur will clog the filters faster.
2. Get a programmable thermostat: Set it to “Auto.” This will allow the system to run more efficiently. It will also get rid of moisture in the air instead of circulating it around the home endlessly. Additionally, as the name suggests, the thermostat can be programmed to run at certain times. This means it will only work when it is most effective.
3. Coil/exterior unit maintenance: Clean A/C units at least once per year. (Spring is recommended.) Clean the window units BEFORE they begin running for the season. To see if the refrigerant system is working well, check if the copper tube is hot. If it is too hot to touch, this can mean the refrigerant is low or the coils are clogged. The experts at Wm. T. Spaeder can check refrigerant levels, refill the system if necessary, or otherwise repair the system.
4. Leave it on when no one is home: It is fine to leave the system on when you are not at home. The system turning on for a few minutes at a time to maintain a temperature is much more efficient than not running at all for hours then running for a long time to cool the house down. The temperature level can be set higher by 5 to 10 degrees during the time when no one is home, and it will still be efficient.
5. Replace the old air conditioner: Sometimes, just replacing the old unit is better than fighting with an old one. Call the experts at Wm. T. Spaeder to get a new one. It will work faster and more efficiently, saving you money.
6. Weather seal windows and doors: Windows and doors can be leaky, especially in older homes. Seal them up with caulk or weather seal strips. It may be wise to just replace the old windows and doors with new, energy-efficient ones.
7. Add insulation to your home in places where it may be lacking: The attic area is usually a place where insulation is light.
8. Make sure ducts are in good shape: Although many ducts are between walls, thus inaccessible, the exposed ones should be checked for leaks. If the ducts are in-tact, heating and cooling will be most efficient.
9. Ceiling fans: Turn the fans on counterclockwise to the circulate the air. Ceiling fans use about 6% of the energy of an A/C unit. Using them at the same time saves energy and allows the home to cool more evenly.
10. Pavement and rock on the west and south sides of your house: These are the sunniest sides of the house. If there is pavement or rock next to the house on these sides, they will absorb and radiate heat past sunset and make the house warmer even into the night. Consider using awning or other methods to shade the areas or replace them with a garden or lawn.
11. Keep the area 2-4 feet around the A/C unit clear of bushes, grass, structures, etc. A shaded unit won’t have to work as hard. Find a way to shade the unit without blocking or crowding the unit and not blocking a clear exhaust path. If the exhaust path is blocked, the unit will recirculate the exhaust and will have to work very hard to cool.
12. Natural ventilation: if it’s cool enough at night, open the windows. Then, shut them in the morning to capture the cool air inside for the day.
13. Window treatments: Cover the windows with energy-efficient films, covers, blinds, and shades. Check this site out to see several different ways to cover the windows to make them more efficient. https://energy.gov/energysaver/energy-efficient-window-treatments
14. Efficient lighting: Invest in energy-efficient light bulbs. Replace incandescent bulbs with fluorescent bulbs or LED bulbs. They use less energy AND emit less heat which uses less energy to light and cool the home.