As we prepare for extreme heat later this week, Donley Service Center offers advice on keeping your home cool without emptying your wallet. And check out how to avoid the most common A/C meltdowns. After all we have at least five months of warm weather on the horizon.
Change your air filter
• Our dry, dusty climate can quickly clog your filter, which can lead to higher energy bills and more repairs. It’s a good idea to clean or replace your filter every month.
Clearing and cooling the area
• Planting shrubs or trees can provide shade to the a/c unit, which leads to less electricity being used. But, not too close or you’ll restrict airflow. Make sure the area is free of leaves, weeds and debris.
Seal the leaks
• The fastest way to save money is to use caulk or weather-stripping on your doors and windows.
Set it and forget it
• You won’t conserve energy by constantly changing the thermostat. Set it at the highest comfortable level and leave it. Or, try a programmable thermostat that will automatically adjust for times you are away and sleeping. Note: Keep your set back point 4 degrees or less when setting a programmable thermostat.
Run ceiling fans counter-clockwise
• During summer your fan’s blades should rotate counter-clockwise to blow air downward.
• Turn the off when no one’s in the room.
Move the lamps
• Thermostats can pick up the heat from lamps, TV’s and appliances so keep them away.
Invest in sunscreen
• Keep blinds and drapes closed and install sunscreens to keep the heat out.
Most common A/C meltdowns include:
• Loose parts, a broken belt, and a dying compressor can lead to banging, grinding and squealing sounds.
• The sooner you catch and repair, the better.
• If it seems your A/C runs a lot, but your home isn’t that cool it could be a sign that your unit is nearing a breakdown.
• If some rooms are much cooler or warmer than others, it could be a sign that your A/C is not working properly.
High Electrical Bills
• Exceptionally high bills can be a key indicator of A/C trouble.
• Clogged filters and a damaged compressor can force the A/C to work overtime and struggle to produce cold air.
• Although the Environmental Protection Agency says the average air conditioner lasts 15 to 20 years, in Arizona we generally experience a shorter life span – closer to 12 to 15 years.
• The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is phased out HCFC-22, also known as R-22 and the EPA no longer allows it in 2020. You may want to consider replacing an old unit with a more efficient model.
• Regardless of age, properly maintained units that are checked annually by qualified technicians last the longest and run the most efficiently during our summers.