You air conditioning unit is a amazing on hot summer days. That is why you should make sure it's well maintained and functioning properly. Ignoring AC management will raise your energy bills, decrease the efficiency of your system and ultimately require repairs. So avoid these 10 common mistakes to stay cool.
Never Cleaning Fins and Coils
Air conditioning evaporator coils and fins allow heat to pass from the refrigerant in the system out into the air, just as condenser coils absorb heat from inside the house. This process of moving heat is very important, but it can become impeded by layers of dust and grime. If you never check on your coils, that grime is costing you money and decreasing efficiency. Clean your air conditioner at the beginning of the warm season and check it from time to time, especially after storms or high winds to make sure your coils and fins stay clear.
Not Updating (or Setting) Your Thermostat
A programmable thermostat is a must-have in today's state of AC technology. Programmable thermostats allow you to set temperatures for various times throughout the day and automatically lower the temperature when you most need it to help you save money and manage your cooling without constantly hovering over the dial. If you don't have one of these programmable or smart thermostats it is the time to upgrade is now!
Using the AC When No One Is Home
When setting schedules, pay close attention to when people will actually be in the house. In the middle of the weekday, when family members are at work or school, you can turn the temperature up significantly to save on money. The same is true of the middle of the night, when people are asleep. Don't set the AC to lower the temperature when no one will be around to enjoy it.
Not Checking Your Drain
Many air conditioning systems use drains that take care of condensation and related issues by channeling water outside of the house. If one of these drains gets clogged, it's bad news for your AC system and even worse news for surrounding floors and walls, which can get permanently damaged by overflowing moisture. So keep your drain line clean, and don't be afraid to snake it with a wire every year or two to make sure no junk is accumulating inside.
Turning Your Temperature Down Too Low
This is a common mistake. People frequently turn their thermostats down very low in hopes that this would make the AC respond more quickly or work harder. It does not. The AC works just as hard to lower the temperature one degree as it does to lower it by 20 degrees. Program your thermostat to exactly where you want it and no lower than you need it.
Ignoring Sizing Requirements
AC units are carefully sized to the amount of cubic feet they need to cool. That's particularly important when you are purchasing a new AC unit or renovating your house. If an AC unit is rated for a smaller space than you have, it will work too hard to cool and wear out quickly and struggle to meet the demands of the thermostat. If the AC unit is rated for a larger space than you have, it will constantly turn on and off, wearing itself out and growing undependable over time. Pay attention to capacity and pick the right unit for the space you have.
Avoiding an Expensive Replacement
The initial cost of replacing your AC unit is high, but that doesn't mean you should avoid a new purchase. Don't make the mistake of keeping your old air conditioner longer than you should. Old air conditioner units will perform poorly, cost you more money in repairs and eventually become more trouble than it's worth. If your AC unit is 10 to 12 yeas old or older, you could start saving money on monthly bills by investing in a newer, more efficient version.
Never Arranging a Check-Up
The refrigerant compound is very important to AC operation, but small amounts can escape over time, resulting in falling efficiency. Arrange for an experienced technician to come out and test your AC system and adjust refrigerant levels to the proper amounts.
Forgetting About Your Windows
A lot of heat enters the home through windows, especially open windows. If you really want to control heat in your house, pay attention to your windows. Keep them closed and covered with blinds or drapes during the hottest parts of the day—especially windows that are currently facing the sun. In the evening, open both upstairs and downstairs windows if possible to encourage a natural flow of cooler air. The less work an air conditioner has to do, the better!