By Greg, Pacific Aire Comfort Advisor,
Peak A/C performance not only keeps your home comfortable, but also helps reduce your energy costs. By keeping your cooling system well-maintained and not forcing it to provide more cool air than it needs to, you ensure that your air conditioner runs as efficiently as possible.
Here are some tips that will keep your system performing at an optimal level through to the end of the cooling season and into the next cooling season. Check the:
- Outdoor airflow — The outdoor unit of your central air conditioner, called the condenser, needs a good flow of air around it to operate effectively. Make sure the area surrounding the condenser is free of any fence or shrubbery, and never place the unit under a deck. All of these factors will inhibit airflow. Make sure that you also have at least 2 feet of space around the sides of the condenser and a 5-foot clearance at the top. Remove any tall grass, leaves or debris near the unit.
- Coils — The coils on both the condenser and the indoor unit, or air handler, need regular cleanings to keep the system operating efficiently. This job is best left to a service technician and is often part of annual maintenance.
- Thermostat efficiency — Keeping your thermostat set at the highest level at which you feel comfortable allows your A/C to run less often while still providing adequate cooling for your home. Try setting your thermostat at 78 degrees when the house is occupied and use ceiling fans to enhance cooling. When the house is empty set the temperature at 82 degrees or higher to save energy. Invest in a programmable thermostat that will change the settings automatically.
- Sealing — Sealing gaps around windows and doors prevents warm air from entering the house. Since warm air infiltrating the home causes the A/C to work harder to cool the home, closing any gaps leads to greater energy efficiency. Seal small gaps around the windows with silicone caulk. Use weatherstripping to seal larger gaps around doors. This step will also improve home comfort during cooler weather.
For more expert advice about peak A/C performance and other issues involving home comfort, contact us at Pacific Aire Heating & Cooling. We have served the areas surrounding the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys since 1990.
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