With warmer weather ahead and April fast approaching, our day dreams start to shift focus to 90 degree weather, popsicles, and swimming pools…and then reality hits. You suddenly remember the all-important and much needed air conditioning tune-up on your “to-do” list. Well, since it is inevitable if you plan on staying comfortably cool this summer, we might as well focus on the nitty gritty details to perform your own A/C checklist if you will.
As we all know, air-conditioning can cause really high electric bills, and I would hate to think that you might be spending more on electricity than you have to. If you have central air conditioning, here are 5 ways that you can take care of your air conditioner to keep it running efficiently, which will of course save you money! Now that’s something we all like to hear!
- Check to see if your air conditioner is cooling efficiently. Check out the general condition of the system’s wiring. Are the evaporator and condenser’s refrigerant connections still in good condition? You can measure if your air conditioner is working the way it’s supposed to by comparing the temperature of the air blowing out of the vent to the temperature of the air going back into the return air vent. There should be 15 to 18 degrees (F) difference between the two temperatures. A higher difference might indicate an issue such as a clogged air filter. A lower difference could mean a problem like your AC is low on Freon. Either way, it’s using a lot of extra electricity when it’s not running efficiently, and it’s time for maintenance.
- Change your air filter every 3 months. Changing the air filter is as important for your air conditioner as changing the oil is for your car. Put in a new filter at the start of summer, and then at least once every 3 months after that. If you live where it is windy or there is construction, or if you have allergies, you might need to change it more often. So the shortened version of this is, air filter- check, clean, or replace standard. *Specialty filters might be pricier but are worth the money. Spend a few extra dollars and buy a pleated filter for better durability.
- Simple tip that most done think of -set your thermostat at a normal temperature. Don’t turn your thermostat all the way down. That won’t help your house cool down faster; it will just make your AC work longer.
- Check your ductwork for leaks. You don’t want all the cold air to leak out into your attic, so check to see if you notice any holes where air escapes. There are two common types of ductwork: flexible ducts and rigid metal ducts. Flexible ductwork is often used because it’s faster to install, but it doesn’t last as long. Metal ductwork lasts longer. If you have holes or leaks in your flexible duct, it’s time to replace it. If you have a leak in metal ductwork, you can seal it with…you guessed it- Duct tape.
- And last but certainly not least is to clean your outside unit annually. Dirt and debris build up on your outside unit (the condenser), which blocks airflow and makes your air conditioner work harder. Collect any free water that might have occurred from condensation. Once a year you want to wash off the debris; first turn off the power, and then you can use a garden hose. Gently rinse it so the water cleans between the thin metal fins on the condenser.
Running your system means it’s working to cool or heat your home. We want to keep it working so that you stay cool and comfortable before the temperatures rise to over 100 degrees. Schedule an appointment for one of our NATE-certified Shipley Energytechnicians to inspect your unit now so we can help keep you comfortable all year long.