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6 Ways to Prevent Your AC from Breaking This Summer

Although most people don’t take their air conditioning for granted, many do take for granted that their AC will keep running smoothly without proper maintenance or precautionary care. In fact, it isn’t unusual for air conditioning units to break down during heat waves--the very time when people need their AC the most.

To help you keep your AC functioning reliably this summer, check out the information in these two categories:

Regular Maintenance Tips

1. Invest in a spring tune-up.

Ideally, you’ll want to get your HVAC system maintained by a professional twice a year: in the fall (before winter strikes) and in the spring (before temperatures rise). During that maintenance appointment, the technician will be able to spot potential issues, if any, so that they can be fixed before temperatures get more extreme. Even if a tune-up is all you AC needs, you’ll have that peace of mind before summer gets going.

2. Change your air filter regularly.

The longest your air filter should go without being replaced (or cleaned if it’s reusable) is usually 90 days. Keep in mind that you may need to change your air filter more frequently than that, especially if you own a pet or two, so check your filter after 45 days then again after 60 days.

Why are clean air filters such a big deal? It’s because a huge number of HVAC problems are caused by overly dirty, clogged air filters. If your air filter gets clogged with dust and other debris, its airflow is inhibited, which can then keep your HVAC system from functioning properly. In some cases, inadequate airflow due to a clogged air filter can end up damaging your system and causing one of its important components to break down.

AC “Survival” Tips for Heat Waves

To get your AC successfully through a heat wave, it’s important that you: 1) not put it through any unnecessary strain and 2) prevent electrical overload.

1. Close your curtains and blinds.

This will help reduce the temperature in your home so that your AC won’t have to work as hard. Roman shades and thermal curtains are particularly effective at blocking heat as well as light. Upgrading to these window treatments before summer hits will not only help out your AC but will also help lower your energy bill.

2. Use your ceiling fans.

Ceiling fans can do wonders when it comes to making a room feel cooler during a heatwave. For optimum results, make sure your fans are running counterclockwise at a high speed. However, to save energy, only run ceiling fans in rooms that people are actually occupying. Ceiling fans can cool down a room, but they can’t cool down a whole house.

3. Refrain from using your stove or oven.

The last thing you want is to add more heat to your house when AC is already working hard to keep it cool. Instead, opt for dishes that require no heat to make, like salads and certain sandwiches. (Crisp, cold foods always taste better when it’s hot out anyway!)

4. Turn off the lights.

Lights give off heat, especially when they’re left on for long periods of time. Shut off any lights that are not actively being used to reduce the amount of warmth they contribute, prevent electrical overload, and save on your energy bill.

5. Limit your use of energy-hogging appliances.

Keep in mind that certain appliances and electronics (such as refrigerators, dishwashers, and big screen TVs), consume a lot of energy, as does your air conditioner. During a heat wave, it’s always a bad idea to have too many of these appliances consuming energy at the same time. To reduce the amount of energy used by your washer and dishwasher, switch to the settings that use no heat, and wait to use these appliances until you have a full load of clothes or dishes.

6. Make use of your programmable thermostat.

This is especially important if you need to be away from your home for several hours at a time during a heat wave. Your AC does not have to be turned off the entire time you’re away, so raise it a few degrees for the duration that you’ll be away, and lower it about a half hour before you know you’ll be back home.

If you want your house to cool down in a hurry, lowering your thermostat as low as it will go won’t make your system cool down any faster. To maximize your comfort, it’s always better to program the temperatures you want ahead of time.

Has your HVAC system had its spring check-up? Did it even have its fall check-up? If not, there’s still time before summer arrives! Check out everything that comes with a Carter Comfort Systems HVAC maintenance service here.

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