Summer is in full swing and some areas of the Inland Empire are seeing high temperatures in the triple digits. During the summer our air conditioning unit is our best friend. For most of us, our AC unit sits in the backyard, and we expect it to work year after year. Some homeowners don’t know that the units require regular maintenance like any other appliance. Let’s look at six ways to improve your AC unit’s performance.
1. Call A Professional Certified HVAC Technician
Have your HVAC unit inspected every year before the heat arrives. If you haven’t yet had the inspection completed, it’s never too late. Use a reputable, licensed, bonded and insured contractor. An air conditioner tune-up costs around $100 and is well worth the investment. Tuning up your unit will add many more years to its life.
2. Check Your AC Filters At Least Once A Month
The recommendation for changing filters is once a month if you’re using the cheap fiberglass filters. Keep in mind, fiberglass filters don’t always do the best job. High end pleated filters can be checked every three to six months. Of course, it will also depend on your average usage. Keeping your filters clean is especially important during the summer when dust and allergens are at their highest. A clogged filter also puts stress on your central air conditioning unit and requires more energy to run.
3. Make Sure No Added Heat Is Infringing On Your Thermostat
Your thermostat is what tells your air conditioner when to go on and off. If you have a heat-producing appliance next to your thermostat, consider moving it. The heat coming from a lamp, TV, or any other machine will cause your thermostat to activate your AC unit prematurely. Also, if you have a window where the sun shines onto your thermostat, this too will cause your AC to start sooner than it should.
4. Don’t Touch The Dial On Your Thermostat
Here’s a tidbit of information that might save you a few bucks. Every time you lower your temperature by one degree below 78˚, eight dollars a month is added to your bill. For example, if your electric bill is $100 and you decide to turn it down to 76˚, then you’ll pay $16 more on your statement.
5. Weatherize Your Home
Prevent cold air from leaving your home by weatherproofing your home. Use caulking to seal leaks and weather-stripping around your doors. Add insulation wherever needed, such as around air conditioning ducts.
6. Run Your Ceiling Fans
Did you know that a ceiling fan running counterclockwise will push cold air down? A high-velocity fan running 24 hours a day, 30 days a month would cost just over $9.50 for the month; whereas a central air conditioner costs about 60 cents per hour on average. It could be more or less, depending on the room size. So, run the ceiling fan and use less air conditioning, or better yet, work them together to keep the room cooler for longer.