7 DIY Tips to Keep Your Air Conditioner Running Efficiently
As the summer gets hotter, you want to make sure you have your home air conditioning unit is running properly and efficiently. Here are some tips you can use to keep your unit running longer and better, without having to call an HVAC technician.
1. Make sure to uncover the outside unit before running Air Conditioner
If your air conditioner unit has a cover, it is strongly recommended to remove it for the summer. The cover can cause the unit to run less efficiently and can put added stress on the unit, which can damage internal components that keep the unit running properly. The cover can also trap air, causing the unit to overheat.
2. Check/change thermostat batteries if available
Some air conditioning units come with battery-operated thermostats that need to be changed out about once every year. If you notice the air conditioner isn’t working reliably or the screen has turned off, always check the batteries first. Most household units use 2-4 AA batteries and can easily be accessed by removing the front panel.
3. Keep supply and return vents open and close
Checking your supply and return vents could be the easiest thing to check if you notice your air conditioner isn’t running efficiently. Hot air rises and cold air falls so you need to adjust the vents for the different seasons. In the summer months the lower vents should be closed and the upper vents open, and vice versa in the winter. It is highly recommended to not close your vent completely to increase the airflow, when closing the upper or lower vent it should only be about 75% closed.
4. Avoid setting the thermostat below 70-72° F
This one might sound crazy when it is very hot out, but thermostats should not be set to below 70-72° F. Most air conditioners are not designed to cool a house below that point, and this may cause your system to freeze up.
5. Check/change air filter periodically, about every 90 days
Air conditioner filters are to be changed out regularly. The frequency can vary based on the size of the unit in your home. Filters that are 1-2 inches thick need to be replaced every 60-90 days. Filters that are 4-5 inches thick should be replaced every 6 months to a year. This will fluctuate though depending on where you live, whether it is a dry or dusty climate or if you own pets. If any of those apply to your home it is recommended to change sooner. Changing the filter is important because dirt and debris can get into the filter and obstruct air flow, increasing the workload of the cooling system. Replacing the filter regularly can help increase the life and efficiency of your unit by reducing wear and tear. Try setting reminders on your phone to let you know when the filter is due for a change.
6. Keep 1-2 feet of space around the outside unit
Having bushes or fences too close to the air conditioner unit can reduce the intake airflow of a unit. This can shorten the equipment’s life and reduce efficiency as it runs hotter and increases the system operating costs. Having its sides blocked will cause the unit to not receive enough cool airflow to function properly. The same goes for above the unit, but rather than 1-2 feet you should keep about 4 feet of clearance, and if there are multiple units there should be about 2-4 feet between the two.
7. Schedule routine maintenance with a reputable HVAC technician to ensure optimum system performance efficiency and extend equipment life
While the tips mentioned are simple techniques that can be done on your own, it is still recommended to have routine maintenance done by a reputable HVAC technician. A technician will be able to spot technical problems that you may be unaware of and work to fix the issue before it’s too late. Why wait until something completely breaks or the unit must be replaced when you can have check-ups to fix minor problems as they occur? Most HVAC companies have a yearly maintenance agreement that can be a cost-saving option for routine maintenance. Routine maintenance may also save you from running into emergency rates during peak seasons like mid-summer. Try to have the maintenance early enough that you won’t have extra fees. For the summer a recommended time to schedule maintenance is around April.
If you enjoy working with your hands or want to obtain a career with serious demand, consider a career as an HVAC technician. Schedule a tour to learn more about our HVAC program or our other programs and see if Rosedale Tech is a fit for you.*
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