Green Wednesday: Tips for Keeping Your AC Healthy

From on September 03, 2008 in Air Conditioning & Heating

air conditioning unitAir conditioning is like a friend to many of us. Summertime heat waves so often feel like tidal waves crashing at our front steps that we’ll do just about anything to keep them from getting in. Usually we rely on air conditioning to do the trick, and it works hard, pumping cool air constantly until it finds the comfort zone. Yet, in a way, air conditioners are like people; when they work that hard all the time they get worn down, they don’t work as well and they need a little TLC at the end of the day. Keeping your air conditioner healthy keeps your air healthy, your spirits high, and your energy bills low. Here are some tips for a healthy AC system:

  1. If your current air conditioner is old, look into replacing it with a new, more efficient model. Not to knock an old friend, but even air conditioners have a retirement age.
  2. Examine and clean the filter regularly (about once a month). Change the filter as necessary. This is a staple in AC maintenance and is vital to the healthy functioning of your system.
  3. Try a programmable thermostat. They allow you to program your heating and cooling systems according to your schedule, save you money, and are often tax deductible.
  4. Do not use a dehumidifier at the same time as your AC, if you can help it. Dehumidifiers force the air conditioner to work harder to cool the home.
  5. Properly ventilate and seal the house. Open windows and interior doors at night to allow cool air to flow into your house. During the day, shut the house up tight, close blinds and curtains, unroll awnings…whatever you can do to limit solar heat gain.
  6. Shade your AC unit if you can. Shading the outside portion of your system increases efficiency by a good percentage. Turn it off when you leave for more than an hour. This is a tough habit to get into and a good reason to look into programmable thermostats.
  7. Green your house. Any steps you take toward making your home more energy efficient will help keep your AC healthy and working strong. Insulation, of walls, ductwork, floors, and ceilings, is a big help. Also consider low-e windows and well-sealed doors. In essence, take control of your home’s temperature.

The point of all of this is that your air conditioner does not work alone to keep you cool and out from under those summer heat waves. Keeping your AC healthy and easy going will keep you healthy and your pockets a little heavier – perhaps some extra money for football tickets when the hot summer tide finally goes out.