As summer kicks off, the importance of your home cooling system has likely become more and more apparent. But you might not be making the most out of the chilled environment in your home. The following are 10 ways to get the most out of your cooling system — whether you’re saving money, cutting down on excess use or bulking up your air conditioning so that you’re comfortable this summer and beyond.
Inspect the Unit
Head outside and have a look at your A/C system. Any debris or natural growth — leaves, branches, vines, etc. — can block air from getting in and out of the machinery, thus making it work less effectively. Animals can damage wiring, so see if there is any fraying that would explain why your device has stopped working at its full potential.
Change the Air Filters
It’s a simple step, but it’s one that many homeowners will overlook because the effects aren’t visible — at least, not right away. The air filters in your cooling system keep debris and dust from getting into your air supply. Neglecting to change them means this debris and dust begins to clog your filters, thus preventing the flow of air through them. In doing so, you’ll ensure your machinery works more efficiently to keep you cool.
Check the Size
Your home’s cooling system might not be the right size for the amount of square footage you have. A unit that’s too large will expend much more energy than you need, while a smaller one won’t be able to create the climate you want. If you’re constantly struggling to get your house at the temperature you want — or you’re dealing with high bills for reasonable amounts of A/C — hire a specialty contractor to come check to make sure you’ve got the right sized unit.
Have a Professional Inspection
That same specialty contractor we just mentioned can come out to your house and inspect your HVAC unit to make sure it’s working to its full potential. Even if you’re regularly changing filters and ensuring no debris has built up around your device, there might be inefficiencies within the machine. An expert can inspect the whole thing and provide solutions to any blockages or other issues.
Update Your Thermostat
When it comes to energy efficiency, updating your thermostat is a huge step in an eco-friendly direction. A programmable device will automatically raise and lower the temperature in your home so that you’re not cooling it as much while you’re at work, for example. This instant adjustability will help you save up to 15 percent annually on heating and cooling, since your unit will work only at the times you need it.
Reduce In-House Sources of Heat at Peak Times
The dryer in your laundry room uses heat as it tumbles your clothes. Although some of that heat will escape through a vent, some of it will make its way into your home and spike the temperature, even if you have the A/C on. The same goes for cooking and other activities that generate heat.
To prevent your daily to-dos from making your house hot, try to save heat-centric activities for later in the day when it’s less hot outside and inside. You could also try taking these chores outdoors, leaving your clothes in the sun to dry or grilling dinner instead.
Invest in Energy Efficient Machinery
HVAC systems should be replaced every 10 to 15 years. If it’s time for a new air-conditioning unit, you’ll want to do your research and find one that’s as energy efficient as possible. Whether the device uses electricity, gas or oil to generate cold air, its efficiency will be the difference between a well-maintained temperature at a high or low price — the latter will maximize your home cooling system.
Your windows and doors might be closed, but they might have cracks or gaps that allow air to flow in and out of your home. In summer, this can mean your cold air is slipping outside, so seal the cracks and keep it to yourself. As a bonus, this will help keep heat in during the winter, too.
Keep the Sun Out
Natural light is great for illuminating your home, but it’s also a notable source of heat. This summer, outfit your windows with blinds and drapes to keep things shady. As you likely know already, it’s always colder in the shade.
For even more protection, you might consider installing awnings or exterior blinds to further block the sunshine. At night, open them up and perhaps crack some windows, too — if it’s cool enough outside, you can shut down the A/C for a night of perfectly chilled outside air.
Check the Ducts
Finally, you might find that the ducts that carry cool air into your home have leakages. These holes or gaps will force your A/C unit to work harder than it should to chill your home because some of the air is escaping from the ducts. A quick visual inspection can reveal any holes that you can easily plug. The connections between ducts might be loose, which lets air out, too, so push them back together to tighten them if possible. hvac
Enacting any one of these ten tips will ensure your cooling system is working for you. And, when your house chills down and stays comfortable all summer long, you’ll be glad you did.