Tips for Best Air Conditioning Performance This Summer 2023
As you feel the warm embrace of summer it is so easy to fall into the old trap of eagerly anticipating an unforgettable summer vacation with the family and working on that ultimate tan. But wait! While these exciting prospects bring joy, you can’t afford to overlook the most basic aspects of comfort during the long summer months. Your home should be a relaxation space during scorching summer days, but that largely depends on your home’s air conditioning system, and what you do now to have it ready for the hot weather season.
Summer Season is Here
As the scorching temperatures set in, it’s crucial to ensure your AC can run efficiently for long hours. The air conditioner accounts for about 12% of the total energy expenditures every year according to the US Department of Energy, and AC units tend to use more energy during summer, making the system the primary energy user in every home.
If you don’t prepare the unit for heavy usage, malfunctions may occur and significantly increase energy consumption. We’ve often seen cooling systems go out on the hottest day of the year, demanding an immediate AC repair. Don’t let yourself be caught looking for “AC repair and service near me” in the middle of the dog days of summer.
Preparing your AC Unit For Summer
These are the steps that you need to take to prepare your air conditioner for heavy use during the hottest months of the year. First, you need to make sure that it is safe to work on this project. Do not attempt to do anything that you do not feel comfortable with. If you are unsure, it is always best to consult a professional. Give us a call and one of our knowledgeable staff members can help answer any questions that you have and set an appointment for a summer check-up.
To be safe working on this project, you must first disconnect any electricity going to your system. Follow these five easy steps to turn off the power:
- Turn off the circuit breaker.
- Turn off the power to the condenser at the service panel.
- Locate the 240-volt weatherproof disconnect box near the condenser unit.
- In the disconnect box, find the lever, fuses, or circuit breaker.
- Turn off the lever, remove the fuses, or switch off the circuit breaker to shut off the condenser.
Now you are ready to prepare your cooling system for the summer.
Replace Your Air Filter
Every air conditioning system requires regular replacement of at least one air filter. The primary function of this filter is to capture undesirable airborne pollutants, preventing them from circulating in the indoor air. As time passes, the air filter accumulates a significant amount of trapped pollutants, eventually becoming clogged. A clogged air filter can lead to poor air flow, reduced efficiency, and poor air quality.
To assess the condition of your current air filter, take a moment to remove it and hold it up to a light source. If you can see through the filter, it still has some useful life remaining. However, if the filter appears opaque and light cannot pass through, it is time to replace it with a new one. You have various options to choose from, including HEPA, pleated, washable, and fiberglass air filters.
Check the Condition of Your Ductwork
Getting an HVAC technician to check the condition of the ducts will come in handy. The technician will check for leaks caused by separated pieces of the ductwork, tiny holes, or disconnected joints and seal them. They’ll also remove any debris or other elements that may block airflow. If mold growth is present, the technician will clean the ductwork to ensure you get clean air.
Your AC relies on the ducts to supply cool air, so it’ll be challenging to keep the house comfortable if the ductwork is leaking or blocked. The unit will overwork and use more power but the indoor temperatures won’t drop and the next thing you know, you will be in need of a summer AC repair.
Check the Condition of Attic and Wall Insulation
Get an expert to check if your insulation requires an upgrade. If it’s deficient, upgrade it immediately so cool air doesn’t radiate outside and force the unit to overwork all summer long. The insulation on your walls and attic plays a vital role in all seasons. It helps keep the warm air from escaping in winter, while it ensures the cool air stays indoors in summer.
Clean Your Inside Unit
Cool air from your AC will pass through the vents, so ensure these openings are debris-free. You may opt to clean the vents and unblock them by yourself using a vacuum or assign the work to a professional. For instance, if your vents are on a high ceiling or the upper parts of the wall and you cannot risk climbing a ladder, get expert help to unblock or vacuum the vents.
If you need a competent HVAC technician to prepare the AC for summer, contact Jennings Heating and Cooling. Our technicians will offer thorough AC tune-up and share customized tips to enhance the unit’s efficiency.
Clean The Outside Unit
After successfully cleaning the indoor unit and reattaching the access panel, it’s time to shift your focus to the outdoor area. Begin by removing the AC grill to gain access. Use a hose to thoroughly wash away any loose debris that may have accumulated on the fins or other components of your compressor unit. This will keep debris from continuing to build up which can cause damage to the fins and ultimately destroy your cooling system.
Clean the Air Conditioner’s Condenser Coils
For cleaning the condenser coil, you will require a specialized cleanser, which can be conveniently obtained online or from your local hardware store. For cleaning the coils, you will need either a refrigerator coil brush or a soft brush attachment on a vacuum cleaner. Begin by gently cleaning the coils from the outside of the unit, using the brush to remove any debris or dirt. Once the outside is clean, proceed to vacuum the coils from the inside. Exercise care during this process to avoid bending the delicate fins or causing any damage to the coils.
If you are concerned about doing this yourself, our HVAC technicians can perform in-depth cleanings without damaging any component. This is an important step because if a condenser coil goes out your system’s efficiency will drop dramatically and you will feel your home’s temperature go up along with your energy bill.
Get your Air Conditioner’s Compressor Checked
Checking your air conditioner’s compressor provides several benefits. Firstly, it helps ensure the efficient and reliable operation of your cooling system. By having a professional inspect the compressor, any potential issues or malfunctions can be identified and addressed promptly, preventing further damage. Additionally, regular compressor checks can optimize the overall performance of your air conditioner, enhancing its cooling capabilities and energy efficiency. This leads to lower utility bills and increased comfort in your living space.
Over time, wear and tear can cause the compressor to malfunction or fail completely. This can lead to reduced cooling capacity, inconsistent temperature control, or even a complete breakdown of the air conditioning system. A faulty compressor can even put undue stress on other components, potentially causing further damage and requiring costly AC repairs. By neglecting compressor maintenance, you risk compromising the longevity and effectiveness of your air conditioning system, leading to discomfort and inconvenience during hot summer weather.
Clean and Clear Debris
Once you have completed the cleaning of the outside unit and reinstalled the AC grille cover, it is important to evaluate the surroundings of the unit. Take a moment to remove any loose debris such as leaves and sticks that may have accumulated nearby. Additionally, inspect the area for any bushes or tree branches that are within a few feet of the unit, and trim them back if necessary. Maintaining a clear and open space of at least a 2-foot diameter around the outdoor unit is crucial. This ensures an unobstructed flow of air through the unit, promoting optimal performance.
Check the Coolant Lines
Your air conditioner’s refrigerant tubes or pipes extend from the evaporator on the air handler to the outdoor condenser unit. These lines are typically protected by foam coolant line insulation. It is essential to inspect the insulation for any signs of wear, fraying, or missing sections. If you identify such issues, it is recommended to replace them with new foam insulation sleeves. Alternatively, you can wrap the lines in a spiral pattern using foam insulation tape, ensuring proper insulation and preventing energy loss. This proactive step helps maintain the efficiency and effectiveness of your air conditioning system while promoting optimal cooling performance.
Test Your Air Conditioning Unit
Once you have completed the cleaning process of your air conditioning unit and ensured that it is thoroughly dry, it is important to test the system before regular use. To do so, you will need to restore power to the condenser unit.
To turn the power back on to the condenser, follow these easy steps:
- Start by turning the thermostat in your home to the “off” position.
- Proceed to turn on the power at both the disconnect box, typically located near the condenser unit, and at the main panel.
- Finally, switch the thermostat to the “cool” mode, allowing the air conditioning system to activate and begin the cooling process.
By following these steps, you can verify that your newly cleaned air conditioning unit is functioning properly and ready to provide cool and comfortable air throughout your home.
It may feel like you’re in a constant battle over your thermostat, whether it’s not knowing what temperature it should be at different points throughout the day, or knowing what it should be but dealing with other people in your household who have different ideas about the temperature. There’s always somewhat of a disconnect between what temperatures will keep your energy bills low and what temperatures will keep you the most comfortable.
At Jennings Heating and Cooling, it’s our goal to ensure your equipment is running as efficiently as possible so that you can experience maximum comfort in your home without worrying so much about what your energy bill will look like at the end of the month.
For many people, the best answer is a programmable thermostat. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy promotes their use because the regulation they provide saves on energy while still keeping your home reasonably comfortable.
Best Temperature Settings for Your AC
To keep everything at the perfect temperature it is best to program a thermostat to fit your lifestyle and schedule. Set the temperature to a comfortable setting during hours you are normally home and at a higher setting (88 degrees is reasonable) when you will be away, such as during work or school hours.
Is 72 Too Cold For AC? How About Running It At 68 Degrees?
To optimize the performance and longevity of your air conditioning system, it is advisable to maintain a thermostat setting between 70 to 72 degrees. Operating your unit below this range can strain the system and potentially lead to freezing up. Therefore, it is important to avoid setting the thermostat lower than the recommended range. During the summer season, we suggest striving to keep your home comfortably below 80 degrees at all times. This balance ensures efficient cooling while preventing excessive strain on the air conditioning system.
What To Do When Your AC Freezes?
If you do choose to operate your cooling system at a lower setting like 68 degrees, you may find that the unit freezes up. If this only happens once or twice there are ways to get your system back in operating shape, however, if you do this repeatedly, you will end up needing to call for a residential AC repair.
To restore your air conditioner to normal working order, follow these steps:
- Begin by turning off the air conditioner and allowing it to defrost completely. It typically takes 1 to 3 hours for the unit to thaw effectively.
- Once the air conditioner has thawed, switch on only the fan mode for approximately an hour. This helps circulate air throughout the system and aids in drying any remaining moisture.
- Utilize this time to replace your air filter. Remove the existing filter and install a new one, ensuring proper airflow and maintaining good indoor air quality.
- Following these steps, your air conditioner should be back to its normal functioning state, providing efficient cooling and comfort to your living space.
Issues You Can Encounter Throughout Summer and What to Do About Them
Experience the pinnacle of HVAC excellence with Jennings Heating and Cooling, your trusted partner in ensuring a flawless transition to the summer season. When it comes to preparing your air conditioning system, our team of highly skilled HVAC technicians stands ready to provide unparalleled expertise.
With our comprehensive AC tune-up services, we go above and beyond to meticulously inspect, fine-tune, and optimize your unit for peak performance. Not only will we address any existing concerns, but we will also share tailored tips and recommendations to maximize the efficiency of your AC, saving you both energy and money. When you choose Jennings, you can be confident in receiving a customized approach and unmatched professionalism.
Don’t settle for anything less than excellence—contact Jennings Heating and Cooling today to schedule your AC tune-up and embark on a summer of uninterrupted comfort.
If it’s too late for a tune-up and you find yourself searching for AC repair near me, don’t worry, we provide the very best AC repair and can schedule immediate service, contact Jennings Heating and Cooling today!