Is your AC ready for summer? This is a question homeowners all over the country should be asking themselves, but it’s even more important here, where “summer” can last 9 months or longer, pretty much.
Of course, when we ask if your AC system is ready for summer, what we’re really asking is if you’ve scheduled maintenance for it yet. We talked about this a bit in our last post—how maintenance will help your system work more effectively, and efficiently. Maintenance, though, is not the only way to get your air conditioner to work as efficiently as possible. In fact, there are some things you can do in addition to your tune-up that cost no money at all!
How to Boost Efficiency
- Turn on Those Ceiling Fans: If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you might have seen us say that ceiling fans cannot lower the temperature of your living space. This is very true, however, they can help with AC efficiency. The thing is, ceiling fans help you feel cooler. When you feel cooler, you don’t need to set your thermostat as low, and therefore the air conditioner doesn’t have to run as long—thus operating more efficiently.
- Close the Curtains: You might be surprised to find just how much residual heat comes into your home through your windows, particularly south-facing windows. Depending on the size of the room, radiant sunlight can heat a room up by as much as 10°! What does this mean for your air conditioner? It means your thermostat is going to signal it to come on way earlier in the day than it would have otherwise. Help give it a break by closing your curtains and blinds.
- Take Shorter, Cooler Showers: “Wait, what?” you might be wondering, “What does showering have to do with my AC efficiency?” Well, think about it—when you take long, hot showers, what happens to the bathroom and the room the bathroom is in? It gets increasingly warm and humid. Your air conditioner does have some dehumidification properties, but that’s not its intended purpose. Help your AC out by avoiding hot, steamy showers as much as possible.
- Cook Outside: Do you have a BBQ out in the yard? Using this instead of your stove or oven is a great summertime tip. After all, an oven heated to 350° is, of course, going to heat up your home beyond what it would normally experience during the summer.
- Change Your Air Filter: Many homeowners still think that the air filter within their HVAC system is in place to protect their indoor air quality. That air filter certainly doesn’t hurt indoor air quality, but its actual intended purpose is to protect the air conditioner itself from dust, dirt, and other debris that can infiltrate its components, causing friction and reducing airflow. When that air filter is too clogged, this too restricts airflow. Depending on what type of air filter it is and the level of contaminants in your home, you should aim to change this out every 1-3 months.