How to Maximize Your Home's Central Air Unit
Beat the heat with our tips on staying cool this summer.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: July 1st, 2012
t's a scorcher out there today...and it was a scorcher out there yesterday...and it'll be a scorcher out there tomorrow. If you're lucky enough to have central air in your home, you know that its help doesn't go unnoticed, and it will occasionally need some TLC. Here are a few helpful tips for keeping your central air unit working as well as it can this summer.
First of all, if you can, try to keep as much of your home out of direct sunlight as possible, as this makes the indoor temperature rise and makes your a/c work much harder. Consider adding awnings to your gutters or planting trees for shade. At the very least, try and keep your shades and curtains closed to block out sunlight.
Turning off lights inside and trying not to use the oven will also help keep your home cooler.
Next, this may seem counterintuitive, but keep your air conditioner on. Some people leave theirs off at night, which is okay if the temperature outside isn't sweltering, but when it reaches 90 or higher, turning off the air can just create a backload of heavy work for the unit. When the air is off, extra heat and moisture build up inside, and then the air conditioner has to work extra to make up for lost time. It's better to put it on at a higher temperature just to keep things moving rather than turning it off entirely.
As far as air quality, the furnace filter will also be the air conditioning filter, so be sure to keep the filters clean, changing them as often as recommended, usually every one to three months.
Outside, keep the unit's condenser clean. The outside unit needs air flow to blow across the heated refrigerant (boy, does that one sound like an oxymoron or what?). Trim plants that grow close to the unit, and make sure no grass or mulch is blocking the bottom of the unit from taking air in.
Turning off lights inside and trying not to use the oven will obviously also help keep your home cooler, as incandescent bulbs emit a lot of heat, as does, duh, the oven.
Make sure nothing is blocking your vents inside. Speaking from experience, we have a tendency to accidentally kick our shoes off and push them to the side...right in front of the register. Whoops! Keeping vents clear of debris (and shoes) will help your air work better, even if it won't keep your shoes their coldest.