As summer gets hotter, your central air conditioning is poised to become your BFF. But how well do you know your new bestie? Here are five things that might come as a surprise.
It’s Not Just About Temperature: To make you comfortable, air conditioners do more than blow cool air out the vents. They also extract humidity from the air, so you feel less sticky. The moisture that the AC system removes drips out through a condensate tube. Algae and mold love that moist environment, so prevent their growth by pouring distilled white vinegar through the tube once a month during air conditioning season. Most drains have a T-shaped vent with a cover; remove the cover, pour in the vinegar, let sit for half an hour and then rinse with water.
Seriously, You DO Have to Change the Air Filter: The dust, pollen, pollutants and other particles floating in your home’s air collect in the HVAC air filter during heating and cooling seasons. How quickly an air filter gets dirty depends on the filter type and the home (cat hair, anyone?), but figure on replacing it every two or three months. Not only is a clean filter better at trapping impurities, it also keeps your central HVAC system running efficiently by allowing air flow.
It’s Cheaper to Turn the AC Off When You’re Gone: One school of thought contends you save energy by setting your AC to a higher temperature when you’re gone rather than turning it off completely (the thinking being that it takes less energy to cool a cool-ish house than a hot one). That’s a myth—you use less energy by shutting it off when you’re gone all day. If you don’t want to return to a hot house and then wait for it to cool, replace that Brady-Bunch era thermostat with a programmable one and set it to turn the air on an hour or so before you get home. Or jump fully into this millennium and get a Wi-Fi thermostat you control with your phone.
There’s an Important On/Off Switch Outside: Attached to the outside of your house near the AC compressor is a box with a switch that turns the AC compressor on and off. To save energy, use that switch to turn the compressor off at the end of air conditioning season. Then, at the start of the next air conditioning season, flip the compressor switch on. Wait 24 hours before turning on the AC at the thermostat, so the compressor has time to convert the refrigerant from liquid to a gas. This advice doesn’t apply if you have a heat pump; because you use it for heating and cooling, leave the compressor on all year.
Remember Goldilocks When You Replace Your AC: Eventually, the time comes to replace your central air conditioner. After 15 years or so, your AC will conk out permanently, or require a repair too expensive to justify, or be so grossly inefficient compared to the latest technology that it’s time to upgrade. Then you, like Goldilocks, must find the AC solution that is juuust the right size and juuust the right price. You want the right size because an AC system that is too big or too small wastes energy. And you want the right system at the right price because, well, who has too much money?
The HVAC experts from Sears Home Services are trained to do a complex load calculation to determine the right size AC unit for your home. They take into account not just the home’s square footage and your climate, but factors like how many heat-generating appliances and lights you use, and how many heat-generating occupants live in the house, and how many windows the house has, and which way those windows face.
You also want a system that’s just the right price for your budget. The Sears Home Services HVAC experts can help you choose a Kenmore central air conditioner that delivers the cooling you need at a price you can afford.
If your house is ready for new central air, schedule a free in-home consultation with Sears Home Services.