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Help Your Air Conditioner Run Colder With These Tips

During these dog days of summer, many Virginia area homeowners are surprised to learn it’s possible to help an air conditioner run colder, even if they haven’t yet upgraded to a more energy-efficient unit.

The following tips should either help it run colder or at least make you feel as if it were colder. However, remember to always turn off your system and its breaker before performing any maintenance.

Cleaning

  • Hose down the outside unit. During your yard chores, simply hose down the compressor and allow the outside to dry before restarting.
  • Clean the coil fins. Blowing compressed air across the fins’ surface will clean them if they’re uncontaminated with adhered material. For dirtier jobs, use a soft bristled brush or steam clean them at a low pressure. Pressure washing also helps, as does applying foaming chemicals with a garden-type sprayer. Be careful not to bend the fins.

Maintenance

  • Replace dirty filters. Change your air filter at least once per month. In dusty locations or if pets shed excessively, change the filter every three weeks. This task alone is best performed when the system is on because it “sucks” the filter into place.
  • Stop air leaks. Use weatherstripping or caulk to seal small cracks around doors windows, light fixtures and other areas where there’s air leakage. For larger gaps, use foam sealant. Place foam gaskets behind switch plates.

Efficient operation

  • Use fans. Thanks to the wind chill effect, table and ceiling fans allow you to set your thermostat up to eight degrees higher with no loss of comfort. Just remember to turn the fans off when you leave the room to conserve energy.
  • Respect your air conditioner’s limitations. Avoid turning your thermostat to the coldest temperature. Even a properly operating unit is only designed to cool your home 20- to 25 degrees below the outdoor temperature.
  • Avoid heat when possible. Use sun-blocking window treatments and avoid using ovens or other heat-generating appliances.

Besides the above tips, programmable thermostats, zoned cooling and planting deciduous trees and vines are also helpful.

If you have any questions about how to help your air conditioner run colder, contact HVAC Unlimited. Your comfort is our first priority.

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