With summer creeping up right around the corner, now is the time to start thinking about preparing your air conditioning system for the season. When you work to make your home and your HVAC unit complement each other, you can stay cool all summer long without racking up an obscene energy bill. You can also enjoy a much more comfortable home at the hottest time of the year. Here are some tips on making sure your air conditioner is primed and ready to go for the summer months:
1. Check Your Filters
One of the most important things to ensure that your air conditioner is running correctly is to clean or replace your filters regularly. Sometimes you might experience problems with your AC not blowing cold air because the filters are clogged with dust and dirt. When your air filter is clogged, it has to work harder to push air through, which uses more energy and puts an unnecessary strain on the system. Replacing a dirty filter with a clean one can improve airflow by 15 percent, so check those filters regularly. Once you’ve got a fresh or newly cleaned air filter, your HVAC won’t have any trouble pushing air through, and you’ll also see a decrease in your energy usage.
2. Inspect Your Vents
Another way to ensure good airflow and reduce strain on your system is by making sure all of your vents are clear and open. If your ducts are blocked by furniture or other objects, it can cause your unit to work overtime trying to push air through those areas. This reduces the efficiency of your system, but it can also lead to premature wear and tear. You can do this yourself by walking through your home and examining each vent. Clear away any objects blocking the airflow and make sure the ducts themselves are not damaged. If you have any questions about proper vent placement, your HVAC professional will be happy to advise you.
3. Schedule a Maintenance Check
Your air conditioner needs regular maintenance to stay in good working order, as with any mechanical system. It would help if you had a professional HVAC technician come out at least once a year to give your system a thorough inspection and tune-up. They’ll be able to clean the unit, check for any damage or wear, and make any necessary adjustments or repairs. In addition to prolonging the life of your system, regular maintenance can also help it run more efficiently. A well-maintained air conditioner is less likely to break down and use less energy, saving you money on your utility bills.
4. Upgrade Your Thermostat
If you’re still using an old, analog thermostat, now is the time to upgrade to a newer, digital model. Digital thermostats are much more accurate than their analog counterparts and can help you better control the temperature in your home. This can be especially helpful during the summer when you want to keep your house cool but don’t want to waste energy cooling an empty house. Some digital thermostats even come with features that allow you to control the temperature from your smartphone or other mobile devices. You can turn on the air conditioner before you even get home to walk into a cool, comfortable house.
5. Maximize AirFlow With Fans
In addition to your air conditioner, fans can also help keep your home cool during the summer. Ceiling fans and portable fans can help circulate the air and make you feel cooler without lowering the temperature on your thermostat. This can save you energy and money and keep you more comfortable. When using fans, place them in strategic locations, such as next to windows or in the room where you spend the most time. You’ll want to make sure the airflow is directed towards you, not away from you. And, if possible, use fans in conjunction with your air conditioner to maximize efficiency.
6. Consider a New Air Conditioner
If your air conditioner is more than ten years old, replacing it with a newer, more efficient model may be time. Today’s air conditioners are much more energy-efficient than those of yesteryear so upgrading can save you a significant amount of money on your energy bills. When shopping for a new air conditioner, look for one that has an Energy Star rating. These units have been independently tested and certified to meet strict energy-efficiency standards. An Energy Star-rated air conditioner will save you money on your utility bills, but it will also help reduce your carbon footprint.
By following these tips, you can prepare your air conditioner for the summer and keep your home cool and comfortable all season long. And by maintaining your system and using it efficiently, you can also save money on your energy bills.