Summer is right around the corner — and that means sky-high temperatures are on their way. Most of us rely on residential air conditioning to stay cool in summer. Before you crank up your residential cooling system for the season, you might want to follow the tips in this post. They might keep you from struggling with HVAC troubleshooting, replacing your unit, or paying more than necessary for comfort.
- Check and replace filters: Your air conditioning unit will likely last for 10 to 15 years. But its filters aren’t meant to last for nearly that long. They need to be changed regularly (approximately every month or so) to ensure proper air flow. This is particularly important during the spring and summer, as dust and pollen can get caught in the filters and can keep air from circulating. That means your AC unit will have to work harder to cool your home — and that leads to higher costs. Replacing your filters regularly will allow you to conserve energy, save money, keep respiratory issues at bay, and extend the lifespan of your HVAC system overall.
- Shade your unit: The placement of your outdoor AC unit does matter quite a bit. If it’s totally exposed to the beating sun, it’ll have to work a lot harder to keep your house cool. But if it’s in a shady spot, it’ll run much more efficiently. It’s best if you can position your unit in a spot under some leafy trees (and if you don’t currently have any, add some!). However, you should keep all plants and shrubs around two to four feet away from the unit to keep branches and debris from getting stuck and disrupting air flow. You should also opt for landscaping over hardscaping around your unit, as having lots of cement and stone will increase temperatures in that area.
- Keep your thermostat clear: You might have assumed that faulty thermostat wiring would be your HVAC troubleshooting solution, but it could be something as simple as its location. In order to provide an accurate reading (and therefore help your HVAC unit to run efficiently), your thermostat should be located in an area away from electronics or appliances that produce heat. Even a floor lamp or a TV set that’s positioned too closely to your thermostat can cause it to misread the environmental temperature and run for longer than necessary. Take care to keep direct sunlight off of the thermostat, as well.
- Use fans to your advantage: Ceiling fans can play a pivotal role in keeping your home cool and your bills low. By running your fan counterclockwise during summer, you can keep the cool air flowing and make the most of your air conditioner’s hard work. Running a fan will cost you far less than decreasing the thermostat temperature. Just remember to turn the fans off when you leave, as fans cool you — not the room itself.
- Limit daytime use of heat-producing appliances: During the summertime, limiting your energy use can help keep lower your bills. But you’ll especially want to restrict your use of heat-producing appliances like your oven and your clothes dryer. Both of these will put extra warm air into your home, which means your AC unit will have to work harder to keep things cool. Try to use these appliances at night when temperatures naturally decrease outside.
Whether you need a new energy efficient unit or are struggling with HVAC troubleshooting on your own, we’re here to help. Be sure to schedule your annual maintenance appointment before summer arrives to ensure your family stays cool and comfortable throughout the season.