As the summer temperatures heat up, you want to do all you can to ensure your HVAC system is operating. Fortunately, you can do some easy things to help your air conditioning system provide lots of cool air for you and your family throughout the warm weather months. Discover 7 tips that can help your HVAC system work at its top efficiency this summer.
1. Get a Programmable Thermostat.
According to Pittsburg HVAC, A programmable thermostat gives you control over when your air conditioner is in operation, its temperature setting, and how long it stays. So, you don’t have to come home to find that your air conditioner has been running all day to cool an empty house. A programmable thermostat can keep your home at a comfortable temperature while saving you money. Plus, you can use an app on your phone to adjust the thermostat and make other changes to the system even if you’re far away from home.
2. Change the Air Filter as Needed.
Most HVAC technicians recommend you change the air filter in your system about every three months. But different factors in a household affect how often you change it. If you have several dogs, then dog hair can quickly clog up your air filter. So, changing it monthly may be the right decision in that circumstance. Alternatively, the owner of a household with no pets may only need to change the air filter every 3 or 4 months.
The best way to decide what’s best for your household is to check the filter monthly to get an idea of how quickly it fills up. Remember, you don’t have to change the air filter until it’s filled up with dust and other debris. You want to use each one until it’s no longer absorbing airborne debris. A clean air filter is going to allow your air conditioning system to run at its most efficient.
3. Clear the Area Around the Outside Unit.
It’s important to keep weeds, branches, and other debris away from your HVAC system’s outdoor unit. It’s amazing how quickly bushes and plants can grow toward an air conditioning unit and start to poke branches and twigs into the unit’s metal fins. When these metal fins become bent, they interfere with the proper air conditioning flow from your air conditioning system. Taking a broom and gently sweeping the outside of the unit is a good idea if dust and dirt have begun to buildup. You may even want to take your garden hose and spray off the outside of the unit if you see a buildup of dirt. Be sure to use a gentle flow of water so you won’t knock any parts of the unit out of place.
4. Clean the Condensate Drain.
The condensate drain of an HVAC unit can become filled with algae. This drain is designed to get rid of moisture from the evaporator coils of your air conditioner. Not surprisingly, when you’re running your air conditioning a lot in the summertime, algae can quickly accumulate in the drain. Sometimes you can see it when you look into the drain with a flashlight. The first step is to look at the design of your HVAC unit to find the condensate line. There is usually a cap you can remove to get access. Then, pour ½ a cup of white vinegar into the drain to remove bacteria and algae. This should be done every 30 days when the air conditioning is working hard. As a note, some technicians suggest pouring bleach into the condensate drain, but using that harsh chemical can cause interior damage to the pipe.
5. Set Ceiling Fans to Turn in the Proper Direction.
If you are fortunate enough to have ceiling fans in your home, they can enhance your air conditioner’s cooling efforts. By adjusting the direction, your ceiling fan paddles travel; you can direct the pathways of the cool and warm air in your home. So, set your fan’s paddles to travel counterclockwise in the summertime. This will push the warm air upward, allowing cool air to travel back into the living area. Look for a switch on the main part of your ceiling fan to adjust the direction.
When you have your ceiling fan working this way, your air conditioner doesn’t have to run quite as long to cool your home. Once again, a great way to keep the heating and cooling budget under control. Don’t forget to set your fan paddles to operate clockwise in the fall and wintertime.
6. Set the Thermostat Higher When You’re Away.
When you go to work, or you travel out of town, program your thermostat to maintain a higher temperature while you’re away. This will save energy and money. If you don’t choose to get a programmable thermostat, remember to set the temperature higher before leaving. This can save you money, especially if you go on vacation for an extended period.
7. Close the Curtains to Reduce the Heat in a Room.
Closing the curtains in a room that gets a lot of natural light at certain times of the day is another way to help your air conditioner’s efficiency. When you close your curtains, it blocks the sunlight for a period of time and keeps the room cooler. This is an especially easy way to give your air conditioning system a bit of a break in the hot summer months.
Finally, these are just seven tips to keep your HVAC system working for you this summer. Scheduling regular tune-ups for your system allows a technician to keep your system’s fans clean, tighten connections, lubricate parts, etc. Plus, a technician has the experience and knowledge to spot potential problems before they turn into bigger issues.