With summer getting ready to approach us here on the Gulf Coast, we will be asking our air conditioners to work harder than they do the rest of the year. What can you do now to make sure you are ready when that heat wave arrives?
1) Location, location, location.
The importance of location isn’t just about where your house is located. If your thermostat is near any light fixture, computer, television, door or window, the thermostat will think it is warmer than it really is causing it to run more often and longer, wasting energy and running up your electric bill.
2) Program your thermostat correctly
Not only can you save as much as 10% a year by programming your thermostat correctly, the a/c will not be working as hard when you aren’t home which will help increase the life of the unit.
3) Check your ceiling fan direction
Did you know that the direction of your ceiling fan can make a huge difference? During the warmer months, you want the blades to move “counter clockwise” helping to create a cool downward flow. Flip the switch during the cooler months for clockwise to redistribute the warm air.
4) Block those rays
So many of these home shows talk about natural lighting and the importance of it. Here in the Panhandle of Florida, it can have its drawback during the summer. You can block the direct sun from shining through your windows on the East and West sides by using solar films, curtains, awnings or even bushes and trees.
5) The beach is great, but not when it mixes with your a/c
In Niceville and most parts of Fort Walton Beach, we have our a/c checked once a year but in Destin, it needs to be checked a couple times a year thanks to beach sand. Did you know that a 1 pound loss of refrigerant can cost you up to $500 a year? Some a/c manufacturers offer a 10 year warranty, but you must have proof of yearly maintenance. Also, don’t wait until peak season to schedule your appointment – it may take a bit longer and the price may go up. It’s kind of like deciding to order pizza during the Super Bowl, you should do it before, not during.
6) Don’t forget the filters
You should inspect and replace or clean your air filter once a month. Dust, pet hair, allergens and pollutants can clog your filter causing the a/c unit to worker harder.
7) Outside Maintenance
Ok, safety first! Before you do any of this, turn the power off to the unit. Vacuum debris from the coils; clean your condensate drain pan with a 10:1 solution of bleach and water; rinse the outside of the unit with a garden hose; check the drain lines to make sure they are clean and that water can flow freely and finally make sure that bushes and trees are at least 2-3 feet away from the unit. Ever wonder why? The hot air that is pulled out needs somewhere to go instead of being “trapped”.
Take care of your air conditioner for a cooler summer!
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