How many times have you heard – or said – that lately? Odds are, more than a few. It seems like summers just keep getting hotter, doesn’t it? There’s not much you can do about the heat though… at least, not the heat outside the home. Inside is a different matter.
It could be that your air conditioner is working overtime to not deliver as much cooling power as it has in the past. There are several reasons why this might be the case, especially if you live in an older home. Firstly, it’s possible that your air conditioner is simply old. Maybe it’s reached its “best if used by” date and needs to be replaced. Even if you feel that the a/c is working okay, replacing an old one can make a real difference in your electric bill. Newer air conditioners are much more energy efficient than the older models.
Another reason why your house isn’t as comfortable as you might wish might be because you don’t change/clean the air conditioner filters often enough. HVAC experts generally recommend that you change – or clean, if you happen to have the type of filter that is designed to be cleaned instead of thrown out when it gets dirty – the filter as often as once a month. The actual schedule for changing (or cleaning) the filter depends on two things: the demand put on the system, and the amount of dust and animal dander in your home.
And you mustn’t forget that there’s also a filter on the compressor unit, out behind the house. This also needs regular attention, as the environment is much more harsh outside than it is inside, and the compressor filter has to deal with dust, pollen, dead leaves and even lawn clippings being thrown against it.
PRO TIP: It’s important to maintain an open area next to the compressor, for full air flow. A lot of homes have bushes next to the compressor, to hide the unsightliness, but that screen of vegetation can actually make the compressor work harder. Experts recommend keeping a 24” buffer around the compressor.
Once you’ve determined that your air conditioner isn’t some relic of days gone by, and you’ve established a good filter maintenance routine, you need to make sure that your ductwork is in good shape. It’s not helpful for your comfy living if huge chunks of cooled air are vented into the attic. Speaking of attics, if the a/c ducts run extensively up there, you might want to make sure they’re well insulated, as attics are regularly known to reach 130°F or more in the hottest parts of the year.
Finally, one of the best steps you can take to keep your family comfortable is to contact an HVAC professional and schedule a checkup.
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