Summer is here, and in the Wilmington area we’ve already had our first heat wave. As temperatures begin reaching into the 90s you may be wondering how you can keep your home cool and comfortable while saving money and energy. Discover seven tips to keep your home cool during the hot coastal summer months.
Set an alert on your phone, or add it to your calendar to remind yourself to change your air filter every 90 days. Dirty air filters can compromise your HVAC’s efficiency making it harder for your system to cool your home. Not to mention, a dirty filter can contribute to poor indoor air quality. Choose a well-fitting filter with a higher MERV rating. Air should flow through the filter in one direction so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation.
If you follow step one above, your clean filter will help prevent the evaporator coil from getting too dirty. You can also minimize dirt and debris outdoors, like making sure the dryer vent is directed away from the unit, protecting the unit from falling leaves, and avoiding blowing lawn mower debris near the unit. Even with these protections in place, an annual air conditioner coil cleaning is recommended.
The indoor evaporator coil and outdoor condensing coil can be delicate, and making sure they don’t get damaged during cleaning is very important. For this reason, we recommend hiring our certified HVAC technicians to complete the task.
Take a tour around your home to look for air leaks. You can use an incense stick to inspect how the air is circulating. Check near recessed lights and attic entrances. Feel for drafts around window sills and exterior doorways. Check your attic entrance and install a door draft stopper if necessary. If you have a fireplace, check the airflow to make sure cool air is not escaping through the chimney flue. If you have a doggie door, make sure the flap is in good shape and falls back into place when your pet comes and goes. Seal leaks with weatherproofing materials, draft stoppers and foam sprays.
If possible, shade your AC unit for better energy efficiency. It’s best to have the condenser unit on the shady side of your home. If room allows, landscaping bushes can be planted near the unit as long as they are far enough away to allow proper air flow and as long as they don’t drop debris on the unit throughout the year. Shading your home during the summer months is important too. Close the blinds on the sunny side of the house during the hottest parts of the day.
We know it’s hot outside, but setting your temperature to 75 degrees or above will keep your home comfortable and reduce the stress the unit may face when set at a lower temperature. On extremely hot days, turn on ceiling fans to keep you cool. Keeping the air circulating can help you and your family feel cooler.
Your stove, dishwasher and clothes dryer put off a lot of heat and can warm your home. Loading the dishwasher and setting it to run at night can be a great way to keep your home cool and reduce energy costs. Give yourself an excuse to cook outside on the grill to reduce the heat from indoor stoves and ovens during mealtimes. And do laundry during the cooler morning or late evening hours and close the doors to the laundry room during laundry cycles.
You change the oil on your car, rotate the tires, but how much maintenance do you invest in your air conditioning unit? Likely not much, and basic maintenance can extend the life of your unit and improve the efficiency of the entire system. Luckily unlike car maintenance, your air conditioner unit can be serviced just once a year, and it’s recommended to do so before the hot summer months arrive.
Hot, humid air can mean stress for your air conditioning unit. Living at the coast can also contribute to dirty coils and reduced cooling capacity. Contact us to schedule maintenance for your HVAC unit to ensure it functions effectively and efficiently for the long run.
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