Nearly everyone will experience it at some point in their lives: an air conditioner that, no matter what they try, has given up and simply refuses to work until an HVAC contractor comes to take care of it. If this happens on one of the hottest days of the year, how can you keep your family safe and cool, and also keep tempers below boiling as well? Our quick tips will have you feeling cooler in no time.
Keeping cool and comfortable inside your home can be a major concern when a heatwave strikes. Many people resort to running the air conditioning units nonstop to keep temperatures under control. Although that will increase your perception of comfort, there are a few things you can do to improve your AC unit’s operation and keep your home at a comfortable temperature level.
The first step to ensuring that your air conditioning unit is equipped to handle the demands of a heatwave is to have it serviced regularly. This includes cleaning filters and duct work so the unit can work as intended, and completing any AC repairs that are needed. This is a good time to check that your unit is the proper size for your living space. Trying to cool your home with an AC unit that is too small for the area puts extra stress on the unit and leaves you disappointed in its performance. Your local HVAC contractors can assess your needs and make recommendations for the correct size unit for your living area.
Some people mistakenly think that if they run an air conditioner in the home, they shouldn’t run fans too. This isn’t always true. There are times when running a fan can help your AC unit keep your home cool and comfy.
- Ceiling Fans: Ceiling fans help circulate the cool air from your AC unit throughout the room or living space. When used alone, they can make your room feel 8 degrees cooler. That means ceiling fans can bring relief with or without an air conditioner.
- Attic Fans: Attic fans can sometimes function as a whole house fan. When the sun goes down and the air outside cools, turn off the AC and take advantage of your attic fan. Open all the windows in the lower level of the home and turn on the attic fan. This will draw cool air in the windows and whisk it up through the house as hot air is drawn out through the attic.
- Garage Fans: If your garage is attached to your home and it has an attic with a fan, you can use the garage to cool your home. Open the garage doors approximately 2 inches and prop open the entrance to the attic. Turn on the attic fan to draw air through the garage to cool it. Opening the door to your home will help circulate the cool air.
Tips for Outside
Its easy to forget that your air conditioner does most of the heavy work outside your home. You can help it out and improve its efficiency by providing a little TLC outside.
- Install an Awning: Install an awning over the air conditioning unit to shade it from the rays of the sun.
- Create a Shade Barrier: Planting climbing vines on a trellis to shade the unit from the sun is both attractive and efficient. Remember to keep all plants at least two feet from the unit so that air can circulate freely.
- Plant Shade Trees: Shades trees can make your house feel cooler in the summer and can be used to shade the AC unit too. Plant them on the southern or western side of your home to block the hot afternoon sun.
It’s only natural to worry about the effect running your air conditioner will have on your electric bill, especially when a heat wave strikes in late summer. The good news is, you can reduce the use of your air conditioner with a few simple changes to your living space.
Windows let in natural light to brighten the home, but when the mercury soars they can be a source of unwanted heat, too. Try these tips for preventing overheating from your windows:
- Weather Stripping: If you thought weather stripping was only for winter time, you’ll be surprised to learn it is an effective way to seal out summer heat too. Check that your windows (and doors) are sealed properly to keep out hot air.
- Solar Curtains: These curtains are designed to stop heat in its tracks and reflect the rays back outside where they belong.
- Insulated Curtains: Insulated curtains, preferably with a white or light-colored backing, are the next best thing to solar curtains. Keep them drawn during the day to prevent heat from entering the home through the windows.
Nearly everyone knows that keeping the outside door closed during the heat of the day keeps your house cooler, but you might be surprised to learn other ways your doors affect the comfort of your home.
- Outside Door: Seal your outside door with weather stripping to prevent hot air from entering around the frame. A door sweep installed at the foot of the door prevents hot air from entering between the threshold and the door.
- Glass Doors: Your sliding glass doors might be convenient and let in natural light, but when temperatures rise you will need shades or curtains to block out the sun. Follow the recommendations for windows to keep heat out from your sliding glass doors.
- Screen Door: Installing a screen door allows you to open the door when the temperatures drop outside and circulate cool air in the home.
- Inside Doors: To encourage good airflow throughout your home when running the AC unit, install inside doors with a clearance of an inch or two at the bottom of the door. This allows air to flow freely through the house even when the doors are closed.
It’s easy to overlook the effect your landscaping has on the comfort of your home in hot weather. You can use plants and trees to reduce your reliance on air conditioning and save on energy bills.
- Shade Trees: Shade trees block the sun’s rays and prevent your home from overheating. The type of shade tree you choose depends on your location and the recommended shade trees for your area. Look for one that grows quickly and produces a large canopy to take advantage of the shade it provides. Plant shade trees on the southern or western side of your home to absorb the heat from afternoon rays.
- Trellises: Use trellises and climbing flowers to shade windows or to provide shade for the AC unit, but avoid planting flowers or shrubs closer than two feet from the AC unit, as this can cause problems with air circulation.
Fans can make your home feel more comfortable. Consider these simple solutions for beating the heat.
- Ceiling Fans: Although they don’t lower the temperature in your home, ceiling fans make the room feel cooler due to the movement of air. You can also run the ceiling fan to circulate cool air while running your AC unit.
- Attic Fans: Use attic fans to draw hot air out of your home.
- Directional Fans: Use a directional fan on your desk or in the living room or bedroom to keep comfortable without turning on the AC.
Regular AC maintenance is always important and ensures your AC unit is ready when you need it. Call your HVAC Contractors if you need AC Repair or are concerned about the operation of your AC unit.
Air conditioning isn’t a year-round necessity in Ohio, but proper HVAC maintenance shouldn’t only be a seasonal concern. Your heating and ventilation depend on your HVAC system too, and when you do need to turn on the AC unit, it should operate at maximum capacity to keep you comfortable without draining your savings. If your bill spikes every summer or your AC unit is old, the increase could reflect preventable problems such as heat gain, inefficient parts, or a lack of proper air flow.
To optimize your AC use this summer, just incorporate a few easy techniques into your maintenance and energy use habits. Your unit will last longer, your electricity costs will decrease, and your carbon footprint will shrink if you pay attention to the following essentials.
Filters, fluids and electrical components must be checked regularly and replaced when necessary. Rust, trapped leaves, leaking fluids, and odd noises are common indications that your AC unit isn’t functioning at full capacity. Some problems have quick fixes, such as a thorough cleaning or a new filter, but lead to irreparable damage if you ignore them for too long.
Schedule AC repair services when you spot damage, and schedule an annual or semi-annual tune-up with reliable HVAC contractors. Only an HVAC specialist is qualified to keep your ducts, fans, motors, coils, filters, vents, and a variety of other crucial parts in clean, working order.
Don’t open the blinds when the sun is shining directly onto a window. Luckily, the sun’s position changes throughout the day, so you don’t have to keep your whole house dark during daylight hours. Just remember to close your curtains or blinds when the sun is at its brightest to prevent a greenhouse effect in your indoor spaces.
Maximize your window use for cooler periods, too. On breezy spring or autumn afternoons, open the windows and turn off the AC. Your AC unit will get a break, and you’ll enjoy fresh air indoors. Just be careful about letting allergens inside, and invest in screens and a good ventilation system to prevent outside threats such as moisture and insects.
Fans increase ventilation and provide direct cooling. Instead of turning up your thermostat and causing the AC unit to push more power through your entire home, install ceiling fans or plug in oscillating fans in spaces that feel too warm or stale.
Fans aren’t always energy-efficient; it’s still important to check the Energy Star rating and turn it off when it’s not in use. However, some low-power or solar-powered fans are excellent alternatives to running the AC. Instead of paying to cool your whole house, rely on fans when certain people get a little too warm or outside temperatures become more bearable.
It’s inefficient to keep your home at the same temperature all year long, so allow yourself several degrees of wiggle room. During the summer, set your indoor temperature a few degrees higher than your ideal temperature. Adjust it again when your home is empty, and before everyone goes to bed.
On sunny summer days, your AC unit must work harder to maintain your usual temperature indoors. Sometimes the heat even puts an additional strain on your AC unit’s metal components. Give your motors and coils a break by getting used to a slightly higher temperature.
At Buckeye Heating & Cooling, we know your AC unit plays a big role in your family’s comfort and costs. Ask about our loyalty maintenance plans or call us to schedule an HVAC appointment today.
Your home’s cooling system is an important investment that will affect not only the overall value of your home, but also the quality of your life at home. When you and your family are not comfortable at home it impacts your daily routine, which can take a toll on your overall happiness and well-being. Knowing how an air conditioning unit could affect your life, the task of making a decision can be a daunting one. Not every cooling system is the same, so learning the differences between them is the first step in learning which system is right for you.
How do you choose?
Even though all air conditioners are designed to cool your home, not all air conditioners do it in the same way. When you are in the process of purchasing an air conditioner, you should take into considerations these factors before buying.
There are four main types of air conditioning units. Window units, through the wall units, portable units, and central or whole home units.
- Window Units – The most popular form of AC unit is the window unit. A window unit fits into a window opening and has its vents on the outside. For those who like to do their own installations, the window unit is also the easiest to install, remove, and transfer to and from different windows throughout the house.
- Through the Wall Units – Through the wall units are somewhat larger and often heavier than the average window units. These types of AC units do not sit in a window, but rather are installed through wall and rest on a weight-supporting AC sleeve that is set into an exterior wall. The electric circuitry of the home must be examined especially in older homes before this type of AC unit can be installed, as they often require a large amperage and voltage.
- Portable Units – Portable AC units are designed to be versatile and convenient. They are made with the windowless space in mind and exhaust through temporary ducting. These types of units can be moved from room to room.
- Central Units – Central or whole home units are designed to cool the entire house at once. A central cooling unit is often combined with a central heating unit as well. This comprises a complete HVAC system. This is undoubtedly the most expensive option and almost always requires professional installation.
Consider cooling capacity.
Regardless of the type of AC unit that is chosen, the cooling capacity will be measured in terms of the BTU. The BTU of the system, the size of the home and the amount of windows will determine which type and which cooling capacity should be chosen.
Is it energy efficient?
Efficiency is a definite concern when considering purchasing an AC unit. The energy efficiency of a unit will be determined by the EER rating. Older model air conditioners can often be very expensive to run because the EER rating is not good, while newer models are made with efficiency in mind. Older models are often in need of more repair than newer models, which is also a money consideration.
If the process of choosing the right air conditioning unit seems too intimidating to start on your own, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our expert technicians will be happy to help you take the first step to making your home cool and comfortable.