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Air conditioning can help you stay cool, but if you want it to run efficiently you’ll need to keep it well maintained. A qualified HVAC professional can perform a thorough inspection of your system, but here are some DIY tips to help you save energy and money.
Make sure nothing is surrounding the unit and blocking airflow. Check and change the filter regularly, especially in the summer.
1. Check Your Thermostat
Thermostats work by transmitting electric signals through wires that connect to your home’s heating or cooling system. If these wires become disconnected or cut, your thermostat won’t be able to send the signals it needs to turn on your furnace or AC. There are many different things that can cause a thermostat to not work properly. Some of them are quite simple, and you can fix them by toggling the circuit breakers or changing the batteries.
Sometimes, a thermostat can simply malfunction and register the wrong room temperature. This can happen if it’s near a source of heat or cold, like the sun or vents. Alternatively, it may be because the filter is clogged and blocking airflow. In this case, removing the filter and cleaning it should help resolve the issue.
If the problem persists, you can use a thermometer to test the thermostat. Place the thermometer in the same room as your thermostat, and wait for a few minutes to see what temperature it reads. If the thermostat is reading a lower temperature than the thermometer, there’s likely a problem with the thermostat’s sensors.
Another way to check your thermostat is to use a multimeter to test for continuity in the wires. This is a more advanced method, so it’s best if you have experience using a multimeter. Turn the breaker off for your HVAC system, then remove the thermostat cover to expose the wiring connections. Connect one lead of the multimeter to the R (red), Y (yellow), or G (green) terminal, and the other lead to any other terminal (as long as it’s not R and Y). If the multimeter reads “1,” there’s no continuity, so you should replace the thermostat.
2. Turn Off the Lights
The light bulbs in your home emit heat that can make it harder for your AC to keep your house cool. The best way to avoid this problem is to turn off all the lights in your home or office when you are not using them. Another way to cut down on unnecessary heating is to cook meals and dry laundry after the sun goes down. These activities heat up the room and will cause your air conditioning to work overtime.
Another good idea is to shade the outdoor unit of your air conditioner with bushes or trees. This will help it stay cooler and save you money on your energy bill. You should also keep the unit clean by cleaning the coils in early spring and summer.
Keeping your air conditioning in top condition will ensure you have a cool, comfortable home to return to after enjoying all the fun activities of summer. The tips above will help your system operate as efficiently as possible, so you can save on your energy bills all season long. Contact Mario’s AC in Hudson today to schedule your air conditioning service appointment. We offer a variety of services, including installation, maintenance, and repair.
3. Turn Off the Water Heater
A burst water heater is one of the scariest things that can happen in a house. It can cause catastrophic damage and is dangerous to anyone in the immediate area. Many homeowners try to avoid the problem by turning off their water heater while they are out of town. But this only adds stress to the system and can result in the tank bursting when it becomes too hot.
Before you turn off your water heater, check to make sure there is no gas in the vicinity. Then locate the primary valve on the line that leads to your home and move it to the off position. It may look like a knob or lever and should be located near the water heater. You should also find the water supply valve and rotate it to the off position.
Once these steps have been completed, you can proceed to shut off the power. This can be done at the thermostat or breaker box for an electric unit, or you can use the switch located on/near your indoor unit (which often looks like a light switch). After these steps are complete, you should be able to vacuum or wipe down your air conditioner without any problems.
4. Change the Filter
Changing the filter regularly is one of the most important things that you can do to keep your AC working well. A dirty air filter can slow down the cooling process, reduce efficiency and lead to expensive energy bills. Make sure that you clean or replace the air filter about once a month.
Start by removing the old filter and cleaning any dirt or dust that comes loose while doing so. Then, carefully place the new filter in, making sure that any arrows on it are facing the right direction.
Some filters will have a date that they should be replaced, but Van Deventer says to ignore that and instead check the filter every 30 days to see whether it needs replacing or not. Then, mark that on your calendar so that you can remind yourself to change the filter before it gets too dirty.
Once you’ve changed the filter, remember to also clean your vents. Dirty vents can make your AC work harder to cool the house, so it’s a good idea to use a cleaning solution and brush to get rid of any dirt, dust or debris that might be in the vents. You can even use a hose to spray down the inside of the vents to remove any dirt and dust that’s stuck.
It’s also a good idea to take a walk around the property to check for any leaves, branches, bushes or other items that might be blocking the airflow. You can also plant shade trees to help the property retain cooler temperatures, which will also make your AC run more efficiently. And, finally, remember to cover the unit for the winter. This protects the unit from harsh weather and improves heat retention in your home during the winter.
5. Clean Your Vents
Dirty vents can be a major cause of dust and other airborne particles in your home. These particles can negatively affect indoor air quality and make your heating and cooling system work harder than necessary to cool your house. It’s important to clean your vents and ducts on a regular basis, as they can get dirty surprisingly quickly.
Before you begin cleaning your vents, be sure to shut off the power to them and cover any furniture below them with a sheet or blanket. This will prevent dust and other debris from falling on your head and body as you’re cleaning. Next, remove the vent covers and soak them in hot, soapy water or a mixture of warm water and household cleaner. Soaking them helps loosen up any dirt and grease buildup, which makes it easier to clean.
Once you’ve removed the covers, take a damp microfiber cloth and wipe them down. This should get off most of the dust and dirt, but if your vents are particularly dirty or stained you may need to scrub them with a brush. Remember to be careful when you scrub vents, as they can become easily scratched or damaged.
Once you’re finished, be sure to dry your vents thoroughly with a towel. Once your vents are clean, you can replace the covers and reinstall them in the appropriate place. Be sure to wipe down any furniture or other items that are in the way of your vents, as well. Finally, if you notice any discolored rings around your vents, this is likely an indication of a water leak from your HVAC system. If this is the case, you will need to repair or insulate your ductwork, as well as replace your filter.
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