The warm weather is here at last and with it, you can look forward to a season of backyard barbecues, beach vacations, and pool parties. But nothing will ruin your summer fun faster than heading inside to cool down and finding that your AC isn’t working.
Almost 90 percent of American homes rely on AC to keep their homes cool when the temperatures rise. This is why it’s extra important to keep your air conditioner well-maintained throughout the year.
Check out these top tips on AC maintenance to ensure you always have a cool home to relax in after a long day in the heat.
1. Schedule Regular Maintenance Checks
Professional air conditioning repair services aren’t only there for fixing AC problems—they can also help you avoid encountering these problems in the first place. While the other AC maintenance tips on this list can keep your AC running smoothly, nobody knows how to look after your HVAC unit like the professionals.
The experts at your AC company can recognize and diagnose potential AC issues long before you notice anything is amiss. To avoid having your AC fail at the hottest time of the year, make sure to schedule a maintenance check a few months before summer starts.
2. Clean Your Filters and Vents
Taking care of your AC unit’s filters is one of the easiest and most effective ways to keep it working well. First, this involves checking the kind of filter that’s best for your AC and making sure to follow the guidelines for cleaning and changing it.
If you use reusable filters, vacuum and rinse these once a month and replace them every two to three years to ensure optimal air quality. If you use disposable filters, write the date on the filter whenever you replace it. The best way to turn these checks into a habit is to group this household chore with other monthly tasks, such as paying your credit card bill or washing your windows.
Your vents also need regular attention. Keeping these clean avoids dust and debris from preventing the free flow of air.
3. Clean the Condenser Coils
Another chore to add to your list is cleaning the debris from your AC unit’s condenser coils and fan, although you can usually get away with doing this twice a year.
The condenser unit is a large fan in a metal box that’s usually located outside. It’s a good idea to keep it covered during the winter to stop it from getting covered in dirt, leaves, and other yard debris. If yours was covered, it shouldn’t take too long to clean but if not you’ll have a bigger job on your hands.
To keep your AC unit in good working order and ensure efficient airflow, clean the radiator-style condenser coils and check them for debris. Clogged coils are a common source of AC issues so it’s important to clean these thoroughly but with care. The idea is to apply enough pressure to dislodge the debris without bending the fins or damaging the coils.
4. Stop Cold Air from Escaping
Gaps and cracks in your home’s walls, doors, and windows are all potential escape routes for the cool air you want to keep inside your home. Failing to resolve this problem puts unnecessary pressure on your AC unit as it has to work extra hard to compensate, leading to more wear and tear and higher bills.
Before summer hits, check in and around your home’s exterior and apply caulking, weather stripping, and insulation wherever it’s needed to prevent cool air loss.
5. Let Your AC Rest When You’re Out
There’s a lot of debate about whether it’s best to set your AC to a consistent temperature or turn it up when you go out. While leaving the AC at a consistent temperature whether you’re in or not is less hassle, this common practice uses more energy, puts more pressure on your unit, and will cost you more money.
What with work, summer vacations, and outdoor activities, many of us are outside our homes for most of the summer anyway so it seems unnecessary to have it blasting all day long whether we’re home or not. The answer is to maintain a consistent temperature of 78°F while you’re home but let your AC rest when you’re out.
If remembering to adjust your AC every time you leave and return is difficult, consider investing in a programmable thermostat. You can then adjust the AC’s resting periods to coincide with the hours your home is usually empty and for any vacations you have planned.
6. Make Use of Ceiling Fans
Another way to take the pressure off your HVAC unit is to make use of ceiling fans.
On even the hottest days of summer, having fans to help out with the job of cooling your home can allow you to set your thermostat a degree or so warmer than you can normally stand—especially if the blades rotate clockwise. Setting the blades to rotate clockwise directs airflow downward. As a result, this prevents hot air from rising and signaling the AC to come on.
An extra benefit of using fans is their ability to repel mosquitoes. Fans move the air around, helping to dissipate the carbon dioxide that helps mosquitoes detect humans. Mosquitoes also have a hard time flying against the strong breeze of a powerful ceiling fan.
Keep Cool in Summer With These AC Maintenance Tips
When you’re planning all the fun you’re going to have in summer, AC maintenance is likely the last thing on your mind.
But following these AC maintenance tips is the best way to ensure that you have a cool and comfortable home to relax in whenever you want to escape the heat.
For more informative insights, check out our other blog posts with all the latest on everything from barn doors to fun things to do in Minneapolis!