Caring For Your A/C System During Peak Summer Usage

On a hot summer day, there is nothing like kicking back in your cool, air conditioned home after a hard day of work or play. Hopefully, you took the time before summer arrived to scheduled a tune-up for your central air conditioner.

Even with a pre-season tune-up, there are steps you should take in caring for your A/C system during the peak usage months of summer. 

How to Maintain Your A/C System

 

Clean the Outdoor Condenser Unit

 

In a split-system, keeping your outdoor condensing unit clean during high-usage times is important in caring for your A/C system. Keeping the area around the condenser unit free of weeds and yard debris is essential for proper operation. The condenser coils can become clogged with dirt and dust over time.

Cleaning the condenser coils is a simple process. Make sure the A/C system is turned off, and using a garden hose, gently wash the fins of the condenser coils. Do not clean with a high-pressure nozzle as this may cause damage to the fins. 

Clear and Clean Indoor Vents

 

Your indoor vents are important as they deliver the cool air from your system to various parts of your home. Over time, you may notice a small buildup of dust around the air register vents. Brush each off with a duster when cleaning so this dust does not get picked up and circulated around your home. It is also important to keep the vents on floors or walls free of obstructions. Remove any drapes or curtains, furniture, toys or other items that may be covering or blocking the vent.

In some cases, your air filter is located in the return vent. This vent needs to be able to draw unrestricted air into your air-handling unit for heating and cooling. 

Change the Air Filter

 

Changing the air filter is probably the most critical step you can take in caring for your A/C system. The air filter plays a significant role in keeping air particulates from settling onto the evaporator coils in the HVAC unit, which can reduce cooling efficiency. More importantly, they reduce the amount of air particulates that affect indoor air quality in your home. 

At a minimum, you should change the air filter at the start of the season and check it monthly in between. The one thing you do not want is for dust and other particles to build up on the air filter. This can restrict airflow and cause your HVAC system to work under strain to maintain peak cooling. To check the filter, take it out and hold it up to the light. If no light passes through it, it's time to change the filter. 

When changing your air filter, keep in mind there are different types available on the market. The simplest filters are spun fiberglass and are merely designed to protect your HVAC system from dust buildup. If you are concerned about indoor air quality, consider higher end filters. Check with an HVAC professional to determine the filter that is right for your system. 

Install a Programmable Thermostat

 

Thermostats are rapidly evolving in this age of technology. Some of the higher end programmable thermostats can learn your heating and cooling habits and self-adjust. Others can be controlled via Wi-Fi signal through apps you can download on your smartphone. 

Whatever programmable thermostat you use, just make sure that you are taking advantage of how it operates. Your thermostat can save you money in cooling costs during the summer months. Adjusting the settings up by up to eight degrees when you are away from home can result in a noticeable savings. Setting the temperature any higher will only cost you more as your system will have to work overtime to get the indoor air temperature back down to your desired temperature. 

Your A/C system works around the clock during the height of summer to maintain a cool home for you and your family. These are just some simple measures in caring for your A/C system in between seasonal tune-ups. Our related blog post here gives additional tips to help you control summer cooling costs. By performing these preventive steps, you can ensure that your HVAC system will run more efficiently when you need it the most. 

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