Summer has its perks, doesn’t it? With soaring temps come the best watermelon of the year, an excuse to enjoy sugary popsicles, lazy Saturdays at the pool, and firefly hunts in the evening. Of course, summer comes with its challenges, too—including overworked home air conditioning systems.
If your AC just doesn’t seem to be beating back the heat, try these tips!
Take Some Measurements
Before you try to address a potential problem, it’s helpful to have good data about how your AC system’s working:
- Pick up an inexpensive test thermometer (like this one).
- With your AC running, place the thermometer in a vent.
- After 10-15 minutes, jot down the location and temperature.
- Test at least one vent in every room of your home.
When your AC is running, the air coming out of the vents should be 15-20 degrees cooler than the ambient air temperature of the room. In other words, if your thermostat shows it’s 78 degrees in your home, your AC should be blowing air that’s 58-63 degrees.
If some room temperatures are significantly different than others, your ducts may need attention or your blower may not be functioning properly.
If the air’s not sufficiently cool anywhere in your home, you could be low on refrigerant due to a leak or blockage. A qualified HVAC technician can test for and address refrigerant-related problems.
Change Your Filter
Inspect your furnace filters frequently, and when they appear dirty, clean or replace them. Clogged filters have a significant negative impact on your system’s efficiency, which impacts its ability to keep you cool. During the summer, consider cleaning or changing your filter monthly, even if you’re using one that’s rated for longer use.
Give the Condenser a Bath
We all love a good summer breeze. But those cooling breezes also deposit pollen, dust, dirt, and debris in your AC condenser unit. Twice each month, turn off the breaker to the unit, and gently spray it down with a garden hose to improve the unit’s efficiency. Also, trim back any landscaping or weeds to give the vents sufficient space to do their job well.
Check Window and Door Seals
If your window and door seals are worn or cracked, your AC has to work overtime to cool the new hot air seeping in. Caulk and weatherstripping are inexpensive, and they may dramatically improve your comfort level.
Add a Fan
Ceiling and room fans don’t actually cool air the way an air conditioner does. However, they make the air feel cooler by helping to evaporate sweat from your skin. (Thank you, science!)
Adjust the Thermostat
If you want your home to feel cooler, the easiest solution is to set the thermostat a degree or two lower (assuming your AC unit is in good health). Just keep in mind that for every one degree cooler, you’ll increase your energy bill by up to three percent.
Note: Setting your AC at 60 degrees will not cool it down any faster than setting it at 75. And if you crank it down, you’ll likely forget you’ve done so until 3 am when you wake up freezing—and you’ll have wasted energy and money in the process.
Add a Dehumidifier
Humid air feels warmer than dry air. If your AC seems to be in good mechanical condition but you’re still not comfortable, consider adding a dehumidifier to the unit.
Call for Help
Homeowners have trusted Tulsa HVAC experts, Wortman Central Air, since 1958. Whether you suspect your AC needs refrigerant or you want more advice for making your system run more efficiently, we’re be happy to help. Call us today!