In Florida, an air conditioner is not a convenience, it’s a necessity. For the majority of the year, we deal with some pretty warm temperatures, so a well-maintained, functioning ac unit is essential in keeping our homes comfortable. Many people, however, make some simple errors that can easily lead to an AC meltdown. If you don’t want to find yourself sweating up a storm (or fighting off the chilly temps this winter), here are the five most common AC mistakes to avoid.
Improper Thermostat Settings
Coming home to a hot (or cold) house after a long day at work is never fun, but don’t make the mistake of turning your thermostat way down (or up) in an effort to reach your desired climate setting. If you prefer your room temperature around 75 degrees, turning it down to 65 degrees won’t get it there any faster. In fact, you are doing more harm than good; your air conditioner will have to work harder and you’re wasting money. Every degree equates to approximately 7% increase in consumption, so shooting for 65 when you only need it to reach 75 can add as much as 70% more in consumption costs to your bill. You can actually save money in the summer by setting your thermostat higher. In the winter, lower your thermostat to keep your energy bill from getting too high.
Not Using Ceiling Fans
Most people don’t realize that fans do not cool rooms – they cool people. This is particularly beneficial to your air conditioner because fans can help move the cool air throughout your home, which reduces wear and tear on your AC unit. In addition, the air movement creates a breeze-like effect that can make you feel cooler in warmer rooms, which saves you money. So turn up the thermostat and turn on those ceiling fans!
Turning Off Your AC Unit
Have you ever taken a vacation and turned your AC off thinking you would save some money? You’re not alone, it’s a very common mistake. Instead of turning it completely off, it’s actually better to turn it up or down, depending on the time of year. Why? In the summer, turning your home into an actual oven can cause damage to your wood cabinets and flooring, create condensation buildup, and force your AC to work even harder to cool your home when it’s finally turned back on. In colder parts of the U.S., leaving off the heat can lead to frozen pipes and frozen AC units. Instead of turning the air conditioner completely off, we suggest setting the thermostat to 85 degrees in the summer and 65 degrees in the winter, whenever you may be away from you home for an extended length of time.
Dirty AC Filters
In Florida, it is particularly important to keep your AC filters clean. This means changing them out at least once a month, especially if you have pets, smoke, or have a large number of people in your household. Dirty air conditioning filters can block proper air flow, cause build up, and make your AC work harder, which may eventually lead to some costly repairs. Do yourself a favor and change out your filter at the beginning of each month. The cost is minimal, but it provides significant benefits.
Forgoing Routine AC Maintenance
Your air conditioner is just like your car; you can follow all the instructions to keep it running, but if you neglect to give it a proper tune-up every now and then, it’s likely to breakdown. When this happens, it typically costs a pretty penny to getting it working again. Routine maintenance, however, probably could have spotted the issue before it became a real problem. Save yourself time, frustration and money by scheduling an AC tune-up at least once a year. And, if you hear any strange noises, or your system continually cycles on and off, call an AC repair company asap! Don’t wait until it’s too late and your system completely breaks down.
For AC repairs and tune-ups in the North Florida area, contact Cool Connections at 904-908-5252. Our friendly, professional staff is ready to help.