What you need to know about your air conditioner
Keeping your air conditioner clean will help it run properly. COURTESY METROGRAPHICS
Your air conditioner will be getting a workout this weekend.
Here is what you need to know.
“Your AC is like a car. There needs to be regular maintenance so it can last,” said Steve Ohl from R.F. Ohl Fuel.
There are some measures homeowners can take on their own.
• Know your AC unit. Every unit is different, and many homes have multiple units.
• Change the air filter and thermostat battery. It’s easy to change, and many air filters are disposable. Some people forget to change the battery which makes the unit not function properly. The items should be replaced at the beginning of every AC season.
• Reduce electricity costs. The best solution is to find the right temperature which suits a person’s comfort level. Once the comfort level is reached, keep the temperature and don’t change it. If the thermostat is constantly changing, more electricity will be used.
• A smart thermostat is an app which allows a homeowner to change the temperature directly from their phone when they’re away from home. If this app is properly used, more money and energy can be saved.
• Schedule an annual “tune up” with a cooling service provider. This service resembles an oil change for a car. A worker will come to the house and inspect each AC unit. Typically, a tuneup takes an hour or less for each unit.
• Many homes have outdoor cooling units which should be rinsed and cleaned yearly. Professionals know how to clean certain parts of the units where some homeowners may not. This is not recommended for a person to do on their own.
If a unit is malfunctioning, call a service provider right away. A problem cannot be seen unless the unit is taken apart.
Danielle Andreas, owner of Andreas Plumbing Heating & Conditioning, said many people have called for air conditioning repairs this season. “We’ve helped 76 people with air conditioner emergencies and performed 66 inspections in July alone,” Andreas said.
One tip Ohl strongly urges is for homeowners to get a service plan with any company that specializes in cooling services.
Many service plans provide priority service, discounts and regular maintenance. This is a good safety measure.
If you don’t want to run an air conditioner all summer, Lowe’s Store Manager Britt Roberts-Faulk suggested alternatives:
• Installing an Energy Star qualified ceiling fan can quickly cool a room 4 to 6 degrees and costs just a few cents per hour to operate. Pairing the fan with an air conditioner provides cooler, drier air that the fan can circulate.
• Stay cool outside by utilizing areas under a tall deck or by placing canopies in the yard. Backyard canopies can shade several people and are easy to install. Use a portable fan to keep the air circulating and to provide a slight breeze.
• Adding proper insulation can help keep homes cool during the summer. According to the EPA, homeowners can save up to 20 percent on the heating and cooling portion of their energy bill with a properly insulated home.