You probably don’t think about your air conditioner much in the summer, but it’s one of the most important working parts of your home. It keeps you cool and comfortable all day long. That is, as long as it’s working properly. When the humidity outside rises, you may need to turn on the AC sooner than usual. Keeping your air conditioner running smoothly is important for a number of reasons.
An outdated unit or one that isn’t suited for your home can cause energy bills to skyrocket and can even be unsafe. Fortunately, there are several ways you can keep your air conditioner running as optimally as possible this summer and beyond.
Check Your Filter
Air filters, like anything else, will eventually get dirty and need to be replaced. The frequency will depend on a number of factors, including how many people live in your house, how dusty your environment is, and what type of system you have.
If you’re not sure if your filter needs to be replaced, check for these signs. If you notice any of these issues, it’s time to change your air filter. And if your air filter is dirty, it’s probably not doing its job properly.
The airflow will be restricted, and your AC will have to work harder to cool your home. Dirty filters can also lead to the growth of mold and mildew, which isn’t good for anyone. If the filter is broken, it needs to be replaced.
This is not only because it won’t be doing its job but also because it could break apart and cause serious damage to your AC unit. If your filter is clogged with debris, it could be restricting the airflow. You can usually tell if your filter is clogged by looking at it. If there are large chunks of debris, it’s probably time for a new one.
Change Your Air Filters
Just like with a vacuum cleaner, you want to clean your air filters regularly to ensure that they are doing their job. You should be changing your air filters every 1-3 months, depending on how many people are inside the home and how dusty your environment is.
When it’s time to replace your filters, do not attempt to wash them in the sink. This can damage the filter and make it less effective. Instead, purchase new filters for your system. If you have allergies or asthma, you should change your filters more often. Also, if you live in a particularly dusty environment, you may need to clean or change your filters more often than once every three months.
Check Your Ductwork
For older systems, you should regularly inspect the ductwork to make sure that everything is in good shape. You should also have your ductwork inspected when you replace your air filter. If you notice anything is amiss, you need to have it checked out.
Signs that you need ductwork repairs or cleaning include Strange noises coming from your ductwork, especially near your blower. This could be a sign that there’s something in the ductwork that needs to be removed. Your ductwork feels hot or unusually warm during the winter.
This may be a sign of insulation issues or that your system isn’t working properly. If you see any of the above issues, call a professional to come out and inspect your ductwork. They’ll be able to tell you what repairs or cleaning you need and what it will cost.
Make Sure Everything Is Installed Properly
Anytime you have your AC system worked on or replaced, you should have the ductwork checked for issues. Many HVAC companies also offer duct cleaning services. If your ducts haven’t been cleaned in a while, that could be causing issues with your AC and ductwork.
If you have rodents or insects in your ducts, that could also be affecting your system. And if you aren’t sure if there are any issues with your ductwork, have a professional check it out when they work on your AC. If you’re installing a new AC system, make sure the ductwork is in good shape before the HVAC company leaves. If they find any issues with the ductwork, they should correct them. Also, if they don’t, you should have it checked out.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
If you have a regular thermostat, you might be overcooling your home in the summer. This can cause your AC to work harder and cost you more money. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can set it to only cool your home when you need it to.
You can even set the temperature to rise and fall at certain times of the day. Not only will this save you money, but it can also cut your energy usage in half. If you are installing a new thermostat, make sure you get a programmable model. If you have an older thermostat, you may be able to replace the guts of the device with new, programmable circuitry.
Rotate Your HVAC Blades
Air conditioner blades collect debris and dirt over time. If you don’t clean them out occasionally, this can build up and cause your system to work harder than it needs to. Cleaning your air conditioner blades is pretty easy to do yourself. All you need is a screwdriver and a soft brush. You should clean your blades at least once a year.
You might want to do it twice a year if you live in an area with a lot of dust or plant pollen. If you have a system with a permanent air filter, you should clean the blades once a month. With a portable system, you should clean the blades once a month or once every other month, depending on how dusty your environment is.
Keep in mind that air conditioners are designed to keep your home cool, not to freeze you out. It is possible to overcool your house and make yourself sick if you don’t pay attention. If you don’t want to spend money on a repairman, you can do most things yourself.
Maintaining your AC is important, so you can make sure it’s working properly for as long as possible. Once you’ve got your AC running smoothly, you can focus on other parts of your home.