Read Time: 3-4 Minutes
With the dog days of summer upon us, your air conditioning system will be under extremely high stress to keep you cool and comfortable. As a homeowner, you should be concerned with overworking your AC when temperatures jump into the triple digits. Having a comfortable home during the summer is something a lot of us might take for granted. However, a little TLC and forethought can go a long way. Your air conditioner is designed to keep you comfortable and there are a few things you can do to return the favor.
Check Your Filter Ahead of The Heat Wave
The easiest thing you can do to reduce the stress on your air conditioning unit is to make sure your filter is in good shape. Your HVAC system is designed to move a particular volume of air each time it cycles. If a clogged air filter is restricting airflow, the components of your HVAC system must work harder to do its job.
During periods of extreme heat, the stress on your AC is already near or beyond its capacity. So do yourself and your air conditioner a favor and be sure your filter is in good condition ahead of a heatwave. A homeowner who doesn’t regularly monitor their system’s filter risks accelerated wear and tear. Additionally, their AC will be more prone to failure.
Don’t Set Your T-Stat Too High While You’re Away
As inflation continues to impact our pockets, most of us are trying to save some green whenever and wherever we can. With the advent of smart and programable thermostats, we often set schedules or use features like geofencing to raise the temperature of our homes while we’re away to save money. However, if you know there is a heatwave in the forecast, it’s best not to let your indoor temperature get too high while you are away. This might seem counter-intuitive, but let’s take a deeper look.
If you leave for work, it’s best not to turn your AC off or set your thermostat too much higher than your usual at-home temperature. Instead, set it two to three degrees above where you like to keep it. If you completely turn it off or set it way up while you’re away, when you return, your AC will likely run continuously into the night to try to catch up. Consequently, you’re not just putting significant stress on your AC, you’re likely burning any savings that you had.
Consider all the materials in your home that absorb and hold onto thermal mass or temperature. If you set your t-stat eight degrees higher while you’re away, everything in your home will be eight degrees warmer as well. Once you lower your t-stat to a more comfortable temperature, your AC not only has to work to cool the air, but all those warmer materials such as the walls, ceiling, floors, etc will be working against it by absorbing the cool air your AC is producing. By “pre-cooling” your home before high temperatures occur, you can help prevent your AC from working overtime during peak temperatures.
Check for Debris Clogging the Outdoor Unit
When you know there’s a heatwave on the horizon, check out your outdoor condensing unit for debris before the hot weather strikes. Look for leaves, stems, grass clippings, and other material that might get caught in the unit and remove them. There should be 3 feet of clearance between the condenser and anything else.
If plants are growing up around your outdoor unit, trim them back. Plant growth around your outdoor unit can reduce airflow and trap hot air your AC has expelled from the inside. Therefore, putting unnecessary and additional stress on your AC.
Reduce the Amount of Passive Solar Heating
Keep all blinds closed, especially in rooms where sunlight comes in. There is a common misconception that the sun is directly responsible for heating the air. However, the air is heated due to sunlight being absorbed by solid nontransparent objects and those objects radiating heat.
It’s akin to your car being parked outside in the sun and how the air inside of your car is so much warmer than the outside. The sun’s energy is passing through your windows and being absorbed by the interior of your car. The inside of your car radiates heat and becomes trapped inside making the air inside hot. Your home isn’t any different. Be sure to keep blinds shut on your windows during periods of high temperatures.
Cook Outside When You Can
Running the stove and oven during the dog days of summer can be a formidable force for any AC to overcome. This extra heat makes your whole system work harder. Whenever you’re able, cook your meals outside with your grill. If grilling isn’t an option, consider using heat-free or heat-limited appliances like a slow cooker or pressure cooker. By limiting the amount of heat generated from indoor cooking, you can keep your indoor environment more pleasant, save some cash, and give your AC a much-needed rest!
Regular Maintenance is Key
Just like humans, your AC system should be getting a maintenance check-up at least once a year. Ideally, your unit should be checked before peak demand in the summer. This helps ensure it’s ready to perform when you need it most.
Reach a level of tranquility when it comes to your home’s comfort and call the pros at Kettle Moraine Heating & AC. Learn more about how you can save instantly on maintenance with our Peace of Mind Maintenance Memberships.