If you haven’t already done so, you’re likely going to switch your thermostat from ‘HEAT’ to ‘COOL’ in the not-too-distant future. If you remember paying high energy bills last summer because your air conditioning unit was running almost constantly to keep your family cool and comfortable, then you likely don’t want a repeat of THAT this upcoming season!
Your air conditioner is one of the biggest energy users in your home, and it’s crucial that you make sure the unit is running as efficiently as possible — so your energy bills don’t take so much of your spending budget. We’ve put together some simple tips to help you get the most out of your AC this upcoming cooling season.
Schedule AC maintenance
First and foremost, schedule a tune-up appointment for your air conditioning system. During this maintenance check, a technician will thoroughly inspect all components inside your system to be sure they’re clean and operating as efficiently as possible. If there is a potential problem, the technician will advise you as to what repairs are needed. This may include replacing parts that are no longer working as well as they should, which could be causing your system to cycle on/off more frequently and use more energy than necessary.
In addition to scheduling an AC tune-up, there are also some basic maintenance tasks you can take care of. This includes replacing your air filter on a monthly basis, more often if you have pets or there are individuals in your home who smoke. All air passing through your air conditioner (and furnace) passes through the same filter. If it’s clogged with pet hair, dirt, dust, and other airborne materials, air can’t easily pass through. This can cause your air conditioner to work harder than necessary to keep your home cool and comfortable. If you aren’t sure what replacement air filter you need, check the filter that’s already in place (if professionally installed) or take a look at the system’s owner’s manual.
Keep vents clean and clear
Another simple task to ensure your AC is running as efficiently as possible is to make sure the vents throughout your home aren’t obstructed with furniture, rugs, etc. When the vents are blocked, cool air from your air conditioner can’t move easily from the ducts and out into each room of your home. This could trigger your cooling system to cycle on more often than it should to keep up with the temperature demands you’ve set at the thermostat. Also, vacuum the vents often to be sure they aren’t full of dust and dirt, which can also obstruct air flow.
Check window and door frame seals
If you have openings in the seals around window and door frames, conditioned air from your AC can easily escape. Also, warm outdoor air can get inside. This can make for an uncomfortable home — and an inefficient cooling system since it’ll be running more while trying to keep your home cool.
A simple test you can do to check for air pockets around the window and door frames is to run your hand around the frame. If you can feel the air passing through, then this is a sure sign that you need extra weatherstripping around your windows and/or doors.
Keep heat-generating appliances away from your thermostat
This is something that many homeowners overlook. If you have appliances near your thermostat that generate heat, such as a toaster oven, air fryer, coffeemaker, etc., this could cause the device to inaccurately sense the temperature of your indoor space. As a result, your air conditioner may cycle on more often than it should to cool your home and, in turn, lead to higher energy bills.
Make sure your outdoor condenser isn’t obstructed
The condenser is the part of your air conditioner that’s located outside of your home. Keep the area around the unit clear so you aren’t blocking air flow. This may mean that you will need to trim back bushes or tree limbs that are too close. Also, don’t prop items against the condenser or store things on top of it.
Warning signs of an inefficient air conditioner
If you’re following the above-mentioned AC maintenance tasks but still notice that your energy bills are excessively high each month, then your unit may need to be looked at by a professional.
Below are some warning signs of a potential problem:
- Condenser coils have ice forming on them.
- AC is cycling on/off randomly without you adjusting the thermostat.
- Cooling system is making unusual noises when running.
- AC won’t come on at all or isn’t running for a full cycle.
- Not all rooms or levels of your home feel as cool as they should.
If you’ve noticed any of these issues, get in touch with a cooling professional as soon as possible to get the problem diagnosed and resolved so your family doesn’t have to suffer in a hot, uncomfortable home.
Sign up before you need us!
At Oncourse Home Solutions, we offer an affordable Cooling Repair Plan. When you’re enrolled in the plan and a covered problem occurs, give us a call and we will schedule an appointment with a trusted, experienced cooling professional from our network of service providers. They will be able to diagnose and treat the problem with your AC so your home can get back to normal.