Everyone loves a nice cool place in summer and a warm and toasty one in winter, however, blasting the air conditioner all day can really add up when that dreaded bill comes around.
With a few smart measures, you’ll be able to keep your home at a nice temperature without having to break the bank.
Before we get hit with those “How hot is it?” kind of days, make sure your air conditioner unit is prepared to keep you and your family cool.
Getting your air conditioner in tip-top shape means three things, efficiency, lower costs, and fresh arctic breezes.
How To Get Your Air Conditioner Ready For Summer
As you might have guessed, most of the work in preparing your air conditioner comes down to maintaining a steady airflow, as well as a bit of spring cleaning!
Here are a few key areas to consider, so you can be sure your air conditioner unit is running at 100% before the summer heat sets in.
Clean and Change Your Filters
Many people don’t know this but air conditioning filters need to be changed regularly and in the interim, a quick clean goes a long way to preserving your air flow.
Filters are easily clogged and a build-up of debris can restrict airflow, meaning your unit will have to work harder to push out air. That’s power and money you don’t need to spend.
On central units, the filter is usually found behind a metal panel on the face of the blower – simply unscrew the panel and replace the filter.
On window units, the filter is usually found on the face of the unit, behind a metal panel. Window units usually have permanent filters which require cleaning.
After unscrewing the panel, clean the filter with a mixture of vinegar and water and allow it to dry out before refitting.
Clean the Condenser
Outdoor units tend to be more durable than their indoor counterparts, despite this, it’s important to check for dirt, leaves and twigs, and anything else that could have built up over time. After removing foreign objects give the unit a good hose down.
You can make your life easy by mowing any grass or trimming any branches around the unit. Be sure to check that the concrete slab is steady and level, as an incline may mean the condenser has to work harder to make up air pressure.
During the summer you should check the unit every week, hot temperatures and debris don’t mix!
Clean the Condenser Coils
For central air conditioning units, it is particularly important to check the condenser coils. The condenser should look like a fan with a cover, with vents or grills on the sides. To get to the coils you will have to remove the front and side panels as well as the protective grills.
You can use a coil brush or other soft brush, or even vacuum the coils from the outside of the unit. Heavy debris may require a commercial coil cleaner, which needs to be sprayed from the inside, away from the electrical components of the unit. If in doubt when using a liquid, cover the electrics with a plastic bag.
Check for Leaky Ducts or Pipes
Look for loose panels, loose joints, and small holes in the ductwork. You would be amazed how much a tiny leak can affect the efficiency of your overall system. Small leaks can be sealed with rubber or fabric-based tapes, but larger problems may require professional refitting.
The condensation line is another spot to check. This is the pipe that removes condensation from the unit. The moist conditions can create a perfect environment for algae to grow and clog your line.
So if you suspect drainage problems, try unscrewing the pipe and cleaning it with an algaecide, which is available at most pool stores.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat can do you wonders. Not only does it keep your home at a comfortable, constant temperature, but it can save you a lot of money by leveling out the temperature when the room is at an optimum. Without a programmable thermostat, you’re likely going to be turning the unit on and off regularly, which means your poor-old air conditioner has to work harder for the same effect.
A programmable thermostat can also be really convenient, you can set it to be off while you’re at work, and turn it on a few minutes before you are in the driveway. What’s better than getting home to a nice, cool house on those hot summer afternoons.
How To Get The Most Out of Your New Air Conditioner
Whether you’re approaching summer or creeping into the depths of winter, making the decision to install an air conditioner in your home can be very exciting.
Once installed though, what can you do next to ensure you’re getting the most out of your unit? There are a few things to do to ensure your AC is kept is running efficiently and effectively.
Getting a new air conditioner is an exciting process, but how do you make sure you’re getting the most of it once it has been installed? Let’s take a look.
Talk To Your Installer About Implementing a Preventative Maintenance Plan
One of the best ways to ensure your AC system is kept in tip-top shape (and to not have to worry about it yourself!) is to talk to your installer or technician about implementing a preventative maintenance plan with routine checkups.
Regular maintenance will ensure that your unit is kept in optimal condition all year round, ultimately leading to a reduction in repair costs, lower electricity bills, and an increase in the life expectancy of your system.
Cleaning and Changing Your Filters
Even with little use, your air conditioner will collect dust, pollen, and fur. Cleaning and replacing your air filters is an important part of the general maintenance process to remove this debris.
Filters are an important component of your AC system. They are usually made of fine material like pleated paper or cloth stretched across a sturdy frame.
Clogged filters are one of the common causes of major malfunctions in air con systems. A dirty filter will also allow less air to pass through, causing fans to work harder, increasing energy consumption, and slowly damaging your system. Clogged filters can also lead to a buildup of contaminants in your ducts.
You should inspect your filters every other month. If they are dirty, clean them gently outside. If they are damaged in some way, they may need replacing (read more about this here).
Cleaning The Condenser
Although they are sturdier than the indoor unit, outdoor units need attention too. This involves inspecting the condenser to check for any dirt, leaves, twigs, or other debris. After that, give the unit a good gentle hose down.
Keep The Unit Running
Although it may seem counterintuitive, keeping the unit running will boost its efficiency and help save money in the long run. Constantly turning your unit off and on will mean your unit has to work harder to get up to speed. If there are you are feeling too hot or cooled, simply adjust the temperature rather than turning your unit off.
Be Aware of Exhaust Fans In Your Home
Exhaust fans, such as those in kitchens and bathrooms, can suck in the air that your unit is producing and vent it outside. This is a waste of energy, so be sure to use them only when needed, and if possible close any doors between rooms where this could happen.
Be Wary of Any Open Doors In Your House
If your air conditioner is being used to heat/cool a centralised space, be sure to close off any unused rooms, closets or parts of the house where the air might be wasted. The greater the area your unit has to heat, the harder it will have to work.
Bonus Air Conditioning Tips to Help Save You Cash
Air conditioning can be expensive work, especially in those warmer months. Being savvy about how you use your unit can help you to save a lot of money. Here are our top air conditioning tips!
Inspect Your Insulation
Houses that do not have adequate insulation take a lot more energy to heat up in winter. Another advantage is that an insulated house doesn’t get as hot in the summer months.
If your house is a few years old, it can be a good idea to check your insulation and see if it’s in need of an upgrade. There are many options that are quite affordable, and if you have access to the space under your floors, you may be able to change the insulation yourself.
Otherwise, hiring a professional may be a good option, and the money you will save will likely cover its costs before long.
Keep Everything Closed!
Small cracks under windows and doors can make your air conditioning very inefficient. After all, you’re not trying to heat or cool the backyard!
Sealing your windows is a cheap and effective way to save on your bills and usually all it takes is a bit of caulk or new runner lining under your windows. A door snake is a cheap and effective way to block airflow from inside to out.
A home energy audit is a good way to determine whether your home holds in air. Alternatively, try it yourself.
Go outside and walk around your house, feeling all of the cracks under doors and windows. If you can feel the air getting out, it might be time for a fix.
Make Sure You Have a Thermostat Fitted
Do you have a thermostat fitted? If not, you should seriously consider getting one. Not only does a thermostat have handy timing functions, but it can save you a lot of money by keeping the temperature to a nice regular setting, meaning your unit won’t be working too hard.
Turning on an air con unit and then blasting it uses a lot of power, especially if this is your regular cooling/heating method. A thermostat programs your air conditioner to stay at a regular level while you are at home and turns the unit off while you’re at work.
Efficiency saves you money.
Use Curtains and Blinds
Blinds and curtains can act as a secondary layer of insulation. During summer, the shade stops heat from radiating in through the windows, while in winter thicker blinds and curtains can seal in heat.
The thicker the blind or curtain the more effective it will be for insulating your home, and the less power you will have to use heating and cooling.
Make Sure Your Air Conditioning Unit Is Clean and Maintained
Making sure your air conditioning unit is in tip-top shape will go a long way to improving its efficiency. You can start by removing any dirt, leaf litter or debris from your condenser unit.
Also be sure to check your air conditioner’s filter. If it’s dirty your air conditioner will be working a lot harder to push air through, costing you a lot of money. So make sure to clean or replace your filter.
Contact HunterCON today!
If you are having issues with your AC system or would like to know more about installation, maintenance, or replacing filters, get in touch with HunterCON today. We pride ourselves on providing fast and efficient service of the highest quality.