While the rest of the country gears up for summer weather, we’ve already been dealing with it for months. There is no denying that our air conditioners get quite the workout, and therefore it’s imperative that we care for them properly.
This means scheduling maintenance once a year, for starters (or twice a year, if you have a heat pump). Without this maintenance, you can find yourself facing unexpected repair needs, and perhaps even a shortened system lifespan. Maintenance helps improve the efficiency of your system, too—but it’s not the only way to improve efficiency!
In fact, there are some very low to no cost things you can do on your own to boost your air conditioners performance and efficiency while improving your home comfort and reducing the risk of sudden repair needs.
Raise the Temperature on Your Thermostat
That’s the response we expect from most of our customers, but bear with us.
We’re not about to suggest you turn on the heat during the summer months—that wouldn’t make any sense. However, you may be keeping your thermostat lower than you really need to. A lower thermostat setting doesn’t provide your home with cooling any faster. It just keeps your compressor running longer, which wears down on the system faster.
Many homeowners set their thermostats to temperatures in the low 70’s when in reality, most people are comfortable at 78°. Setting the thermostat lower than you actually need is a waste of energy—and subsequently, money.
Check for Anything Obstructing the System
Let’s start outside. The outdoor unit of your AC system is called the condenser cabinet, and this is where the AC system exhausts the heat it removes from your home. It can’t do this very effectively if the cabinet grill is dirty or trees and brush are obstructing it at all. Be sure to check around it every now and then and clear away any debris, such as lawn clippings, leaves, dirt, and even tree branches.
There should be a foot cleared on all sides of the unit to enable proper airflow. We also recommend cleaning off any dirt and grime that may have built up on it with a low-pressure hose.
Check for obstructions indoors, too! Your indoor vents can get dusty, or be blocked off by things such as furniture, backpacks, toys, etc. This will certainly affect the airflow coming into your home, leading to less comfort for you and an AC system that has to work too hard to do its job.
Change the Air Filter
The air filter that comes with your HVAC installation is there for an important reason—and it might not be what you think. Homeowners often assume it’s in place to protect their indoor air quality. It is, in fact, in place to protect the interior components of the system itself—which helps the whole system work more efficiently.