Another beautiful Raleigh Summer is on its way! Since nobody wants to be a hot mess when it rolls around, here are the top five tricks to make sure you keep your AC running smoothly through the heat and humidity of our North Carolina summers:
1. Change Your Filters Regularly
Clean air filters are an essential part of a fully functioning HVAC system – both in summer and in winter. When dirt clings to your filters, air cannot pass through as efficiently. As a result, you end up with dirty air circulating the home and less air flow than is needed for your air conditioner to perform at its best. Cool Change Heating & Air recommends monthly air filter replacement to get you the best bang for your buck and keep your unit chugging along nicely.
We also recommend that you use the low Merv filters. Those expensive filters will make an air conditioner work harder than it needs to by not allowing enough free flowing air to pass through it.
And what about 90 day filters? Absolutely not! If you read the fine print on those filters it actually says, “up to” 90 days. As that air filter accumulates dust and other gross air pollutants, it becomes increasingly difficult for air to pass through. You should definitely change your filters every 30 days.
2. Give Your Outside Condenser Unit Some Shade And Space
The hotter your air conditioner’s condensing unit gets, the harder it must work to keep the air circulating inside your home cool. Creating shade for the condenser can save you a lot of money in the long run. A tall tree, hedge, or even a fence can do the trick, but be sure to give your unit plenty of elbow room. When we repair air conditioners in Raleigh and throughout the greater Triangle area, we often see hedges and fences too close to units, inhibiting air flow and reducing performance capabilities. Cool Change heating and air recommends you have a minimum of two feet of clearance around your condenser when there are hedges and three feet when there is a fence to maximize the fresh air flow around your condenser for optimum performance.
3. Raise That Thermostat a Little
The whole point of an Air Conditioner is to keep you cool, but unless you want a hefty electric bill: you don’t want your unit putting in overtime. Realize HVAC engineers designed your air conditioning system to keep your home nice and cool on the average Raleigh summer day. Those air conditioners are not sized and designed for those few days a year that are above normal. Yes, the air conditioner can and will do the job on those super hot Raleigh days provided the HVAC system has had proper routine maintenance, but the system will definitely run much longer and harder. To keep your unit running for many years – and save yourself some cash – keep the thermostat set for the highest degree comfortable on the hottest days of the year and opt for the fan when you can!
4. Make Your Home Energy Efficient
If you prefer your home to feel like an icebox and don’t want to raise the temperature on your thermostat, ensuring your home is energy efficient is a helpful tip in extending your unit’s lifespan. A home energy audit can get you specific details and significant savings, but there are a few simple changes that can make a serious impact, as well:
- Seal up any cracks in the windows and doors to make sure the cool air is staying inside.
- Consider LED bulbs in place of incandescent bulbs that give off heat
- Reflective drapes/blinds over windows to ensure the heat of sun rays don’t make it inside.
- A Wifi smart thermostat will also get you a long way; you can set the air for ‘auto’ so the fan operates only during the cooling cycle and even program it to turn off when you aren’t home, saving you money and prolonging the unit’s life span. Cool Change in Raleigh offers and installs Wifi thermostats, so be sure to give us a call if you’re interested!
While you’re inside making your home energy efficient, don’t forget about your ductwork. You may not see them, but your ducts are behind the scenes all the same pumping that lovely cool air all over your home. If there’s a leak in your ductwork then air gets lost in your attic, crawlspace, and behind your walls. Cool Change recommends having your duct work checked for leaks every 3 years.
Lastly – and we can’t stress this one enough:
5. Regular AC Maintenance Will Make a Huge Difference
We use our HVAC System almost every single day in the Triangle area. As we have big expectations for our air conditioner to put in the work, we have to do our part to make sure it has what it needs to perform. To put this in perspective, let’s consider how many hours per year your HVAC system runs. If your Air Conditioner runs approximately 10 minutes per cycle and cycles three times per hour that would be 30 minutes per hour, or 12 hours for every day (24 hours). If you multiply that 12 hours by 180 days – the approximate number of days that you want to make your home cooler than it is outside – that would be 2,160 Hours.
That’s a lot of hours! If it were a car doing an average of 40 miles per hour, that would be 86,000 miles. We would never put 86,000 miles on our car without doing maintenance – that would be unheard of! Not changing the oil or brakes for 86,000 miles? No way. Just like your car: your air conditioner requires regularly scheduled maintenance because it is a machine used daily with many moving parts.
A Cool Change Maintenance Plan helps to ensure you catch those could-be-breakdowns before they become a reality, and makes sure you’re always one of the Coolest Clients in Town! Talk to our HVAC experts about discounts and priority service available for maintenance clients: (919) 457-2494.