Autumn is approaching, but right now it’s still very hot, and your air conditioner has been working hard to keep you comfortable these last few months. The last thing you want right now is a major AC repair or a breakdown leaving you stranded in the heat while you wait for a technician. How can you keep your AC unit running smoothly for the rest of the summer? Here are some tips for limiting stress on your air conditioner.
Set Your Thermostat Properly
An air conditioner is designed to be able to lower the temperature of your home by about 20°F from the high temperature outside. If it’s 95°F out there, setting your thermostat to 68°F will not give you the result you want. It will be extremely inefficient, driving up your electric bill, and it will force your air conditioner to run constantly.
This puts a lot of strain on the system, especially the compressor, which is the most critical—and most expensive—component. You do not want to worry about that breaking down! Keep the thermostat set no lower than 20°F below the outdoor temp.
Reduce the Need for AC
Make sure your windows are covered when the sun hits them directly, to avoid intensifying indoor heat with the greenhouse effect. Make sure doors are properly shut, and consider weather stripping for the bottoms of doors or any drafty windows. And make good use of your ceiling fans. Each molecule of air that brushes against our skin will carry away a little bit of heat with it, as long as the air is even slightly cooler than our bodies. The more molecules that brush against you, the more heat will be carried away, so moving air will feel cooler even when it’s the exact same temperature as still air. Make sure your ceiling fan is set to spin counter-clockwise and keep it on when the room is occupied.
Change Your Air Filter
Every month during times of high use, or more often if you have a lot of dust or pet hair in your home, change the air filter. Freely flowing air makes the AC unit’s job much easier. Pulling air through a thick sweater of dust on the filter puts strain on the fan motor and the compressor.
Keep Your Air Conditioner Clean
It’s been a while since your AC unit had maintenance this spring. (You did make sure to get annual maintenance done, right? It helps a lot with effectiveness, efficiency, avoiding repair needs, and keeping the unit functional for a longer lifetime.) Part of maintenance involves cleaning the unit, and by now, dust has had some time to build up. If your indoor unit’s coils are dusty, you can blow that dust off gently with canned air. And check your outdoor unit as well. Caked-on dirt, lawn clippings, or other mess on the coils can interfere with the release of the heat the refrigerant has absorbed from your home, so spray it down gently with a garden hose. Make sure plants are trimmed away to maximize airflow there as well.
If your air conditioner is struggling, or you have any questions about heating and air conditioning in Tucson, AZ, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Contact Picture Rocks Cooling, Heating & Plumbing today to schedule an appointment with our professionals.