- Close your basement vents
Since cold air settles in low places, you will want to adjust your home’s vents for the summer months. Your basement will naturally be the coolest place in the house, so close your vents in this area to prevent over-cooling. Leave them half open on the first floor, and wide open on the second or third floors. This will ensure enough cooled air makes it up to the higher levels of your home, giving you an even and comfortable temperature throughout your home.
- Use a thin air filter in your furnace
Cooled air still utilizes the fan in your furnace to be distributed throughout your home, and since cool air doesn`t rise like warm air it has difficulty traveling through your venting. To make it easier, make sure you only use a half or 1 inch filter in your furnace for the summer. If you use a thicker air filter (high MERV value) in the heating season, simply replace with a thin one for the cooling season.
- Leave space around your air conditioner
If your cooling system has an outdoor air condenser or heat pump, make sure to leave at least a one foot perimeter of clear space around it. Crowding the unit with bushes, plants, or clutter will impede air intake.
- Get an A/C maintenance
Just like your car requires regular oil changes, air conditioners need some basic care to last long-term. Manufacturers recommend having a professional maintenance by an HVAC technician annually. At this visit the tech will check for efficiency and good function of your air conditioner, making sure there are no issues like leaky refrigerant lines, dirty or corroded materials, or failing electronics. This is your opportunity for small problems to be detected before they lead to big repairs or total system failure. It can also be required to keep some warranties valid, as well.
- Keep the sun out
Direct sunlight can be your biggest cause of heat gain throughout the day, and an overheated home means your air conditioner has to work harder. Make sure you have blinds or curtains on the sides of the house that get the most sun, and close them during the day to stop the sun excessively heating those rooms. You may even want to plant trees to create a sun barrier that lasts long-term. Conversely, take advantage on cool nights and open the shades. Even if a window doesn’t open, there will be some transfer of cool temperature outside through the glass. This is especially true for older homes with less sophisticated or single pane windows.
If you’ve tried all of these steps and your air conditioner still can’t keep up it is time to think about getting a new unit. Signs include an A/C that is constantly running on a high setting or large energy bills. Give us a call for a free home comfort consultation and quote.