Keeping Your Home Cooling System Running Efficiently

Keeping Your Home Cooling System Running Efficiently

With a little maintenance and care, you can keep your air conditioner problem-free

By Cathy McClellan

Setting Thermostat for Air Conditioner
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With the high cost of electricity, it is important to keep your cooling system running efficiently. There are several things you can do to keep down energy and maintenance costs. The last thing you need is a broken cooling system in the middle of a hot summer day. Learn some tips for limiting excess energy use and keeping your AC unit in tip-top shape.

  • What You Need to Know
  • Perform a walk-through of your home before you buy anything. While it may seem like common sense, if you do a walk-though with your cooling system in mind, you might be surprised the things you notice, like rooms where you could put a small portable fan or ceiling fan.
  • Low freon levels reduce efficiency of the air conditioner; schedule regular maintenance with a local HVAC contractor to inspect and care for your unit.

Step 1:

If you live in an area that gets cool at night, open the windows. Set the thermostat in the off position or turn it to 85 or 90 degrees. In the morning, close the windows, curtains and/or blinds to keep the cool air indoors. Reset the thermostat to a normal operating temperature so that when the house finally warms, the cooling system will come back on.

Step 2:

Install window treatments that are rubber-backed and/or blinds. This keeps the heat from the windows escaping into the room. Keep all doors closed for the same reason.

Step 3:

Set the thermostat at a higher-than-normal temperature and use ceiling fans or oscillating fans to circulate the air. When you leave the home for any length of time, set the thermostat to at least 78 degrees. Much higher than 78, the cooling system will have to work longer to cool the home again.

Step 4:

Mark the calendar to change air filters once a month, whether or not they appear dirty. This will help on electrical costs and will keep the air in the home cleaner.

Step 5:

Consider vacuuming air registers for dust buildup, do not cover registers with furniture and do not place heat-generating appliances such as TVs or stereos near the thermostat. Seal all cracks around windows and doors. Avoid cooking on hot days. Instead, grill outdoors or prepare sandwiches or salads and use a microwave oven. Finally, use bathroom fans to remove humidity from baths and showers as and keep all lights off when the room is not in use.

  • Tips & Warnings
  • Don't ignore "small problems" with your air conditioner. These small issues often lead to major, expensive problems if unattended.
  • If your air conditioner seems unresponsive, check to make sure that it is set to "cooling mode." Homeowners often forget to change their systems from "heat mode" once the weather changes.
  • Before the hot season begins, run your cooling unit for a few minutes to make sure that it is working properly. If you wait until it gets really hot, your HVAC contractor may be busy and you'll have to suffer through the heat until a professional has time to come and fix your system.

About the Author

Cathy McClellan is a regular contributor to DexKnows.

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