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Some Easy Ways for Better Summer AC Efficiency

piles-of-billsDuring the summer, you want your air conditioning system to work. But simply working isn’t enough. Your air conditioner should also be efficient so it won’t drain more power than it needs in order to run. When AC efficiency dwindles, utility bills go up.

The good news is that keeping an air conditioner energy efficient isn’t difficult. There are a few simple steps you can take that will give you the best chance at a low-cost summer of cooling.

Always schedule professional maintenance before summer

This is the most important step of all when it comes to ensuring an air conditioner stays efficient. All HVAC contractors (as well as the Department of Energy) recommend a professional maintenance tune-up and inspection each summer. We offer a maintenance program to make it easier for you to have this job done each year. Not only does maintenance stop the AC’s efficiency from declining, it also extends equipment life and prevents the need for most air conditioning repair in Bellevue, WA.

Keep the condenser clear

The condenser is the outdoor cabinet of the air conditioning system, and it’s easy for homeowners to forget about it during the summer. But if the area around the condenser is filled with debris like branches and leaves, the AC will lose efficiency because the condenser won’t be able to properly exhaust air to the outside. We also recommend cleaning off the grill of the condenser (but please don’t blast a high-pressure hose into it!).

Check the room vents and clean them

Go to all the rooms in the house and check on their vents that connect them to the ventilation system. Are any of them blocked by furniture or curtains? This will place extra pressure on the AC that will make it more costly to run. Also make sure the vents shutters aren’t closed—this isn’t a way to save money! The vents may have also collected dust and lint that will impede airflow. Use the hose of a vacuum cleaner to remove this debris.

Raise the thermostat, don’t lower it

We know this goes against common sense—aren’t you supposed to cool your home with the thermostat settings in summer? What we mean is, don’t lower your AC more and more to get better cooling. This isn’t how thermostats work. The lower setting will only force the air conditioner’s compressor to run longer to meet the temperature setting, which wastes power. You also want the temperature difference between the house and the outside to be as small as possible, since this slows down the movement of heat into the house. Our recommendation is to set the AC at 78°F during the day when people are home and keep it steady.

Change the air filter every 1 to 3 months

The air filter of the AC protects it from dust and lint that will come through the return air ducts. Over time, it will become congested and cause the blower motor to overwork. Forgetting to change the filter every 1 to 3 months is the fastest way to kill air conditioner efficiency.

S&L Mechanical Heating and Cooling offers “Quality Service for Quality Living!” Call us for air conditioning service in the Greater Bellevue Area.

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