Is there anything worse than a broken air conditioner on a hot summer day? Frozen yogurt and swimming pools will cool you down for a while. But when you walk through your door after a day of fun in the sun, there is nothing like that blast of chilly air on your face.
The official start of summer – June 20th – is just weeks away. (Although here in Georgia, it feels like we have been deep in it for months.) Prepare your air conditioner for months of heavy use and sweating bodies using these 4 easy steps.
1. Clean or replace the filters. If your AC filters are dirty, the entire system has to work harder to cool your air. This increases energy consumption and ultimately translates to a higher electricity bill. Also, some of the dirt and dust that a clean filter would catch blows through and settles on the coil. This keeps the coil from absorbing as much heat, restricting the effectiveness of your air conditioner.
Keeping the filter clean can cut energy usage by 5-15%, according to the department of education (DOE).
As you continue to use your air conditioner throughout the summer months, routinely check the filters. You should clean or replace your filters every month during the summer, or more frequently if you have shedding pets or allergy-sufferers in your home.
2. Make sure your AC is installed properly. For window and through-the-wall ACs, make sure they are firmly installed using the support brackets. Also check that the hole that leads outside is completely covered and air isn’t coming in (or out) through the window or wall. Keep in mind that all models are made differently. Follow the user manual for exact instructions, and check for installation videos online.
This ensures that your AC runs efficiently and hot air isn’t coming in from outside. (It also protects you from potential eviction and threats to public safety.)
If you have a portable AC, find out how to vent a portable air conditioner properly through a window, sliding door, wall or drop ceiling.
3. Make sure your AC is draining correctly. Air conditioners can get clogged over time, especially if the condenser is outside. This can happen when dirt and debris build up (like leaf bits and grass clippings), which keep the air conditioner from draining properly. Check the drain pan for debris and clean out any clogs you see. Also make sure there are no kinks in the hose impeding water flow.
When an air conditioner can’t drain properly, mold and mildew can grow inside the hose, posing a health threat to your indoor environment.
4. Check replaceable parts. Air filters aren’t the only parts that require monitoring. The exhaust hose directs hot air out of the cooling space, and is typically vented out a window, door, wall or ceiling. If the exhaust hose is ripped or torn, the air can’t be vented properly, and you might need to replace it.
Other replaceable parts include window kits, extension panels, and remote control batteries. (That last one is less crucial, but it can make or break your summer couch potato afternoons.)
These are some easy do-it-yourself tips to get your air conditioner ready for summer. Most other fixes may be too complex to tackle yourself. For instance, if you have a refrigeration leak or a broken fan, call a professional.
If these tips don’t work for you, it might be time to look for a new air conditioner. Otherwise, you risk waking up in sweaty sheets and over-indulging on fro-yo all summer long.
How do you get your AC summer-ready? Leave a reply below! There is no such thing as being too prepared for summer heat.