How to Care for Your Central Air Conditioning Unit

Your central air conditioning unit may be the most important and most-used appliance in your home in the summer (perhaps only second to the toilet!). But unfortunately, these A/C units tend to go on the fritz right when we need them most.

As we head into the dog days of summer, use these tips to keep your central air conditioning unit running as efficiently as possible.

1.    Give outdoor condensers room to work

Outdoor air conditioning condensers aren’t exactly pretty, so it’s no surprise that homeowners will use plants, fences, or trellises to hide the unit from plain sight. However, to run efficiently, these condensers need adequate air flow on all sides of the unit. It’s recommended that the unit have a three-foot clearance on all sides.

So, check your landscaping plan, and then clean up leaves, plants, and any debris on a regular basis.

2.    Wash your outdoor condenser

If you have an annual maintenance plan for your central air conditioning unit, this is likely included, but it is also easy to do yourself. Since the condenser pulls in air from the outside, it also tends to pull in pollen, dirt, dust, and other debris. Washing this off will increase your airflow and improve the efficiency.

Simply use a hard stream of water from a gardening hose to spray the condenser. Work top to bottom and take your time to get all that gunk out. If you’ve never done this, you may be shocked at how much dirt comes out!

3.    Change your central air conditioner filter

You know you’re supposed to, but how often do you actually change your central air conditioner’s filter? A clean filter can improve your A/C’s efficiency by 5 to 15 percent.

Check your manufacturer’s instructions, but filters should typically be replaced every 1-2 months. And the more you run your air conditioning, the more often you’ll need to change your filter. Set a reminder on your calendar – your A/C unit and your wallet will thank you.

4.    Have a professional inspect it

One of the best ways to maintain your central air conditioning unit is to sign up for a local HVAC company’s maintenance plan. Not only will they service your unit every year, prolonging its life and improving its efficiency, but many of these plans also give you discounts on any repairs and faster service.

Trust us, when your air conditioner stops blowing cold air on the hottest day of the year, you’ll be thankful for a quick turnaround.

5.    Use less air conditioning

Last but certainly not least, the less you use your unit, the longer it will run. Check our out post on The Best Summer Thermostat Settings for Comfort and Savings for tips on using your central air conditioning less, while still staying comfortable in the heat.

Stay cool this summer!

These tips will help you get the most out of your air conditioning unit, lowering your electricity bill and hopefully avoiding costly repairs.

Looking for more ways to save money on your electric bill? You may be able to get a lower rate on your electricity supply by switching to Volunteer Energy. Find your rate today. 

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