Summer is here again!
With the first day of summer comes the blazing heat and humidity that all North Carolinians share. The intense heat puts a strain on air conditioners as they struggle to condition and cool our homes for optimal home comfort. There are a few mindful tips that can help with saving on electric bills, avoiding an untimely breakdown and increase the life of your air conditioning system.
Contact an HVAC professional to service your system before a breakdown occurs.
Preventative maintenance tune-ups, cleaning and system inspection are a vital necessity to ensure systems perform at peak levels while decreasing the chances of a mechanical failure at the most inopportune time. The cost of this appointment is less than the cost of repairs and most companies offer a discount on annual contracts which include a wide range of additional benefits.
Check your filters.
Filters should be replaced once a month or when dust and allergens begin to obstruct airflow. Do not wait until filters are completely blocked as this overwhelms the system as it tries to circulate air throughout your home. This blockage leads to stress, clogs, leaks and ultimately a system shutdown. Increases in electric bills are also noticeable when filters are clogged of up to 15% each month.
Is your thermostat over the hill?
Think about replacing it with a digital thermostat with programming features which regulate temperatures according to your daily activity.
Set your thermostat to the warmest setting preferable and even higher when not at home for energy cost savings. Also keep thermostats out of direct sunlight and away from lamps, TV sets or any other heat-producing appliances. These heat sources can cause the system to work longer than necessary. Other helpful tips are as follows:
- Inspect the outdoor unit for debris and keep all shrubbery and vegetation at least two feet away to ensure adequate air flow. Rinse any debris from system with a garden hose.
- Check ductwork and refrigerant line insulation for tears. Damage to either can cause cooling loss in the home and needs immediate attention.
- Utilize ceiling fans set to downward air flow (usually a counter clockwise direction) for an extra breeze and open interior doors and air vents to help circulate the air.
- Close those blinds! Nothing heats a room like direct sunlight. Insulate windows and doors to keep the cooled air from escaping and minimize the use of household items that produce heat such as ovens, dryers and the dishwasher, especially at the hottest time of day.
Is it time to retire your old air conditioner?
Even properly maintained HVAC units wear out and have a retirement age, usually 10 years. The plus side to replacing your worn-out system is the energy savings afforded with a new higher energy efficient model. Energy star rated systems can save a homeowner up to 30% in electric bills. Make sure to contact a licensed HVAC dealer to do a proper load measurement of your home before deciding on a HVAC system and let the savings begin.