Your home is most likely comfortably cool as soon as you step in the door, and you probably spend very little if any time worrying about your AC keeping up with the heat even on the hottest days of the year. While it can be easy to overlook the hard work that your AC unit does every day, it is a mistake to disregard it all year long. Here are seven of the most common home air conditioning mistakes that many homeowners make along with tips to keep your unit running smoothly all season long.
1. Failing to Replace the Filter Regularly
One of the easiest tasks to perform, but one of the most difficult to remember, is changing your air conditioning filter regularly. All of the air that passes through the unit must also pass through the filter, and your air conditioner will have to work even harder to push air through a clogged and dirty filter. In most cases, you should change your filter every month even if it says that it can last up to three months. Plus, this will help keep the air in your home clean and allergen-free.
2. Blocking Vents and Air Returns
Your air conditioner unit may also be forced to work harder than normal if it is trying to push cooled air through blocked vents. Be sure that you have given all of your vents at least a few inches of clearance when it comes to furniture, and watch out for curtains and bedding that may be hanging over hidden vents.
3. Blocking the Air Conditioning Unit
The unit should be placed in a shady place, such as on the north or east side of your home, to protect it from the hot afternoon sun. While you will certainly not want to put it in the most visible location on your property, be sure to keep it away from thick brush and vegetation, which can prevent proper airflow around the unit. In addition, keep the coils clean by regularly removing leaves, grass clippings, dirt, and grime from the outside of the unit.
4. Purchasing the Wrong Size Unit
Not just any air conditioner will do. Purchasing a unit that is too small will lead to a hot home during each afternoon and evening as the air conditioner runs constantly in an attempt to lower the temperature. You may have a different but equally problematic issue if you purchase a unit that is too large, which will cool the air too quickly, leading to poor uniformity in temperatures throughout your home. A professional can help you determine the right size of AC unit for your home.
5. Turning the Thermostat Down Too Low
On a particularly hot day, it can be tempting to turn the thermostat way down in an attempt to cool off quickly. However, your AC unit has to work just as hard to cool your home one degree as it does 10 degrees. It cannot cool your home any faster if you set it lower. The perfect temperature for both your comfort and budget is 78 degrees, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
6. Cooling an Empty Home
Letting the air conditioner cycle on and off multiple times when you are gone during the day is nothing but wasteful. If you maintain a regular schedule during the week and on weekends, your wallet and your AC unit will benefit greatly from a programmable thermostat that raises the temperature when you are at work and lowers it a half hour before you arrive home.
7. Skipping Professional Maintenance
Seasonal maintenance for your AC unit can help you enjoy a full summer of comfortable indoor temperatures. During a routine maintenance visit, the HVAC tech will conduct a number of tasks to ensure it’s operating at peak efficiency. This will improve your comfort and lower your energy bills.
Bottom line: Some of these mistakes are simple enough to avoid. Others, however, will require a professional eye, and you will want to hand over the major maintenance of your unit to the experts. Always remember that taking the time and money to care for your unit now will help you avoid more costly AC repairs in the future. To set your appointment with DG Heating & Air Conditioning, call (408) 669-3496.