Summer Preparedness Tips for Your Air Conditioning System
Are You Ready for Summer? Here Are 5 Ways to Ensure that Your Air Conditioner is Running Reliably and Efficiently All Season Long
As summer approaches, it's a great time to get your air conditioning system prepared for the season. A well-maintained AC system not only ensures a pleasant indoor environment but also helps you save on energy bills and prevent expensive repairs. In this blog post, we'll share some helpful summer preparedness tips to help you get the most out of your air conditioning system this year.
Check Your AC Unit’s Filters
Almost every HVAC maintenance checklist mentions changing air filters, and for a good reason.
An air conditioner has filters to ensure that when cool air is circulated throughout your home, it is clean and fresh. Over time, air filters can become clogged with dust, pet dander, and other airborne particles. When this happens, the airflow through the system becomes restricted, and your air conditioner has to work harder to keep your home cool. This not only causes increased energy consumption and raises your utility bills, but it also puts additional strain on the AC unit's components, potentially shortening the lifespan of your system.
Additionally, a dirty filter isn’t great for your health. If you have family members with allergies, asthma, or other respiratory conditions, poor indoor air quality can aggravate their symptoms. Clean filters help to remove allergens, dust, and other pollutants from the air, leaving you with fresh air and a healthier home all summer long.
HVAC experts recommend changing your air conditioner's filter about every 1-2 months to keep your unit running in peak condition. If your AC unit isn't cooling as efficiently, your utility bills have increased, or you notice dirt and dust around your vents, it's probably time to change your filter. When you do replace it, it’s a very simple process; you just slip the old filter out and slide the clean filter in!
Program Your Thermostat
As summer approaches and temperatures rise, it's also the perfect time to program your air conditioning system's thermostat. By adjusting the temperature settings to accommodate your family's schedule, you'll not only create a comfortable living environment but also reduce energy consumption and lower utility bills.
When it comes to energy efficiency, experts recommend setting your thermostat at 78°F while you're at home and raising the temperature slightly when you're away or sleeping. This temperature provides a comfortable balance between cooling your home and conserving energy. When choosing a temperature setting, remember that the closer your indoor temperature is to the outdoor temperature, the less your AC system has to work, which will result in greater energy savings. You can also use ceiling fans or portable fans to circulate air, to help your home feel cooler without relying solely on your air conditioner.
For an even easier way to increase energy efficiency and stay comfortable at the same time, look into purchasing a smart home thermostat. These innovative devices offer many benefits, learning your temperature preferences and habits, and automatically adjusting to create the ideal indoor environment. Additionally, smart thermostats can be controlled remotely via a smartphone app, allowing you to adjust your home's temperature from anywhere, ensuring that your AC system operates as efficiently as possible, even when you're away.
Finally, when you first turn on your air conditioner, don't set the temperature lower than your everyday temperature. Though it may be tempting, your home won't cool any faster, and you'll end up overworking your AC unit, reducing its efficiency and increasing your energy costs. By programming your thermostat for even temperatures throughout the day, and giving your AC system a rest when you’re sleeping or out of the house, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying energy savings and a cool, comfortable home.
Give the Outdoor Compressor a Spring Cleaning
Taking care of your outdoor compressor is another way to ensure your air conditioning system is ready for the summer months. The compressor, housed within the outdoor unit, is responsible for circulating refrigerant between the indoor evaporator coil and the outdoor condenser coil, enabling the heat exchange process that cools your home.
One of the most important steps in caring for the outdoor compressor is keeping the area around it clean. Overgrown plants, fallen leaves, or other clutter can block airflow and make your compressor work harder than it should. To avoid this, just trim back any nearby plants or shrubs and clear away debris, leaving a clear space of about 2-3 feet around the unit.
Additionally, to get your AC unit ready for summer, you'll want to make sure the condenser coil is clean. During the off-season, dirt, and dust can build up on the coil's fins, making it harder for the unit to release heat. If you're handy and want to take on the project yourself, first make sure the power to the unit is turned off. Then, grab a soft brush and gently remove any visible debris. Finally, use a hose with a gentle spray to rinse the coil from top to bottom. Just be careful not to bend the delicate fins or get water into any electrical components. You can also call a local HVAC professional to clean the condenser coils and perform any other maintenance that may be needed.
With a little bit of care and attention, your outdoor compressor will be prepared for summer, keeping your home cool and your energy bills in check all season long.
Check Your Vents and Ductwork
Just like air filters and condenser coils, your vents and ductwork should be clean and in good condition in order to have your air conditioner prepared for summer. These often-overlooked parts of your air conditioning system play a huge role in distributing cooled air throughout your home.
Start by checking all the vents in your home to make sure they're not blocked by furniture, curtains, or any other obstacles. Clear vents allow for better airflow, making it easier for your AC system to maintain a consistent temperature and keep your energy bills in check. Vacuum the vents and then wipe them down with a damp cloth to remove any dust or debris that might have accumulated. This will not only help improve airflow but also keep your indoor air cleaner and healthier.
Next, you'll want to inspect your ductwork. If you notice any gaps, cracks, or loose connections, it's important to have them sealed to prevent cooled air from escaping. If you have an older AC unit, you may want to consider professional duct cleaning and sealing to remove buildup and improve energy efficiency. With clean ducts and vents, you'll ensure that your air conditioner won't have to work overtime in order to keep you cool during the summer months.
Call for a Tune-Up
Finally, to ensure that your air conditioning system is in peak condition for the warm weather ahead, call a professional HVAC technician for an AC system tune-up.
During a tune-up, the technician will inspect your entire AC system, checking for any potential issues and making necessary adjustments. They'll clean and lubricate essential components, check refrigerant levels, and make sure your thermostat is working correctly. A thorough maintenance service helps prevent any unexpected breakdowns during the hottest days of the year when your air conditioner is working its hardest. Plus, a well-maintained AC system runs more efficiently, which means you'll save money on your energy bills and extend the life of your unit.
As we get ready for temperatures to rise, it's essential to give our air conditioning systems a little extra attention. Preparing your AC unit for the summer is a great way to ensure your home's comfort and energy efficiency. By replacing your air filters, programming your thermostat, taking care of your ductwork, vents, and outdoor compressor, and scheduling a professional tune-up, you'll be ready to beat the heat all season long.
These easy-to-follow summer preparedness tips not only make your home more comfortable, but they also help save energy, reduce your utility bills, and extend the life of your air conditioning system. And if you need a helping hand with maintaining your air conditioning system, give the HVAC experts at Happy Hiller a call. They'll make sure your system is running reliably and efficiently, keeping you nice and cool during even the hottest summer days!