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By Platinum Team May 15, 2013

Keep Your Cool This Summer – How To Maintain Your Air Conditioner

Summer is fast approaching.  A good way to be prepared for the hot, lazy days of summer is to have your air conditioner all ready to use.  There are some pretty basic things that can be done to care for, and improve the performance, of an air conditioner. Following are some home maintenance tips to help ready your AC for the summer. Air Filters Air filters are important part of your air conditioner that can be relatively easy to maintain. Checking and changing air filters once a month will help your AC operate at optimal efficiency. Dusty filters can limit air circulation and may damage your air conditioner. When you shop for air filters, choose ones that don’t let light pass through the filter. If you can see light, they will not be as effective at catching debris. Thermostat Updating the settings on a thermostat is another small home maintenance activity that can assist the efficiency of an AC. You will want your home at different temperatures as the seasons change.  This can also help you save money on energy bills. If you don’t already have one, considering installing a programmable thermostat.  This will allow you to adjust the AC temperature settings according to your schedule. The recommended temperature settings are 78 degrees when you are home and 86-88 degrees when away. Regularly changing thermostat batteries can also assist in keeping your AC running smoothly. Condenser The AC condenser is usually located outside the house. It is may get clogged up due to the build-up of dirt and other yard debris, including lawn clippings and leaves. Any grass or weeds growing near your condenser should be removed to improve airflow.  A condenser typically sits on a concrete pad.  Check to be sure the pad is level.  If not, it can be evened out by lifting the pad, putting down some rocks or gravel and then replacing the pad. Outside condenser units should be covered in fall and winter. This will help protect them from the leaf accumulation and any ice buildup. A dirty condenser can negatively impact energy efficiency and shorten its life. Window units Window units are usually designed to cool one room.  If they are more powerful, they may help cool adjacent rooms as well.  Window units basically work the same way as central AC, but are a smaller version. They can cost more money to operate. The biggest home maintenance problem for window units is dirt buildup. If too much dirt accumulates, the fan may become blocked and decrease the level of cool air being blown out from the unit. Window unit filters should be replaced at the beginning of the summer and monthly after that.  Most of the components are sealed within the unit, so it is best to leave any major repairs to a professional AC service company. If you need to have a unit repaired, you can save money by taking it to the repair place yourself, and avoiding a charge for a service call. When the weather is cold, protecting your window unit from snow and ice will help to prolong its life. You can remove it altogether and put it in storage, or cover the outside part. Reducing the strain on your air conditioner Air conditioners may get overheated in attempting to compensate for additional heat generated in a home.  A home maintenance project that may decrease the strain on your AC is to further insulate your attic, if you have incomplete or insufficient insulation.  It can be relatively inexpensive to add more, or have Fiberglas blown into your attic. This can help further cool your house, reduce your AC bill and prolong the life of an air conditioner.  Increased insulation may also help to keep your home warmer in the winter and reduce your power bill. Stoves, dishwashers and laundry machines can also produce extra heat in a house and push your AC to the limit. In order to off-set more heat, consider grilling outside to reduce the temperature in the kitchen.  Run dishwashers, dryers and laundry machines, in the evening, when it is cooler outside. Air conditioners are an essential part of keeping a home cool in the summer.  Keeping them well maintained will improve their efficiency and prolong their life. Some basic home maintenance projects can help keeping them running strong all summer.]]>