Look outside your window and you may still catch a late spring snowstorm, but you’ll also likely notice the first signs of spring … finally! After a long winter indoors with our furnaces blasting, it’ll be time to flip on the air conditioning soon enough.
Central air conditioning via your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) unit is a convenient way to keep your home as comfortably cool in the summertime as it is warm in the winter. It uses your thermostat settings to adjust your home’s temperature, giving you easy control over your indoor environment.
There are several benefits to this method of cooling your house. Cool air is forced through the existing ductwork, providing you with consistent temperature control in all areas of your home. Unlike a window unit that only cools the adjacent area, central air will allow you to continue using your entire home comfortably throughout the summer. It’s also significantly quieter than other air conditioning options.
Get your home ready for summer by following our tips to increase the energy efficiency and reliability of your air conditioner.
Give your HVAC some TLC
Central air conditioning condenser units are located outdoors, so they often collect leaves and debris over the winter. Once it’s safely disconnected, clear the area around the compressor to allow it to function optimally. You can also check coils, fans, and coolant lines for any indication of wear, including frayed wires or missing insulation.
Focus on gradual cooling
While it can be tempting to crank your air conditioning as soon as summer arrives, it’s better to focus on gradually changing the temperature in your home. If you turn it on full blast, your HVAC system is forced to work extra hard, which can cause unnecessary wear and tear. It will also use more energy, which leads to higher bills.
Instead, set your thermostat to a moderately cool setting to enjoy comfortable temperatures and reasonable energy costs.
Install a smart thermostat
A smart thermostat is a great way to reduce energy waste. It enables convenient control of your HVAC system through your phone so you can make adjustments to your settings even while away from home. Save money while on vacation by allowing the indoor temperature to rise slightly, or select energy efficient settings during peak hours or at scheduled times of the day. It will also allow you to track your energy usage.
Consider adding window film
If you’re concerned about energy costs or just not finding that your air conditioner is keeping your home cool enough, window films offer an extra layer of insulation to help maintain indoor temperatures.
Window film is very affordable and easy to use. Simply place it over a clean window and use a scraping tool to push out any air bubbles. This will help to keep cooler air inside and warmer air out in the summer, so you’ll need less energy to maintain a comfortable temperature indoors. It’s a particularly good option if you have single pane windows.
Aim for consistency
While smart thermostats allow you to make energy efficient adjustments, aiming for consistent temperatures is another good way to save money on your energy bills. Leaving your air conditioner in the ‘auto on’ setting is typically the most economical way to cool your home.
When you allow the temperature inside your home to rise, your HVAC system has to work harder to cool it off again. While you may see savings over extended absences like vacations, adjusting the temperature frequently throughout the day can negate any cost savings from the momentary shut off. Aim for consistent temperatures with a programmable smart thermostat or use the ‘auto on’ setting to minimize costs.
Book professional maintenance
You’ve likely heard sob stories about broken air conditioners during the worst heat waves, or experienced this inconvenience yourself. It’s not uncommon for poorly maintained units to malfunction at peak times when they’re forced to work the hardest.
One way to prevent unnecessary breakdowns is to schedule routine maintenance visits by a trusted technician. Your air conditioning unit should be inspected yearly, preferably in the spring, to ensure it’s in good shape to weather the summer heat.
Routine maintenance can also save you money. Your filter should be replaced every one to three months, and optimized for the amount of dust and debris circulating in your home. A clogged filter reduces airflow and forces your HVAC system to work harder.
Low levels of refrigerant (which is what absorbs heat from the air) or a dirty unit can result in less efficient system operation. An annual inspection and necessary repairs can help you avoid a much bigger headache down the road.
So while you enjoy that last afternoon of flurries and watch the buds on the trees turn green, start thinking about how you can get your air conditioner ready to handle the heat. Give us a call at Whyte Ridge Heating & Air Conditioning and our technicians will make sure your home stays affordably cool this summer.