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How to Keep Your AC in Top Shape

& Save Money in the Process

Most homes use an AC unit in the summer months. In states that experience extreme temperature increases, such as the southern states, 67 percent of homes actually run their units all summer long. That amounts to between 3,000 and 5,000 hours of energy usage per year - just for the AC alone! Homeowners spend an estimated $29 billion on air conditioning costs total, but that number could be much lower with just a few tips and tricks like these.

If you don't already use a high-efficiency air conditioning unit, it might be time to think about switching. However, even if your current budget doesn't permit it, there are still plenty of things you can do to keep energy and repair costs down.

1. Change Your Filter Often

This is number one on our list because it's not only easy and affordable, but because it also has a massive impact. You don't need a fancy filter that costs you hundreds; most systems take a basic 1-inch filter and don't require any additional fancy gadgets. Changing your filter every 1-3 months will keep air flowing freely, which means you get the most out of your cooling unit. By trapping particles, you're also ensuring that your AC's coils stay clear of debris and your home's air is free of illnesses.
Keeping particles away from sensitive AC equipment is vital not only to how well your system is cooling, but also how long your unit will last without repairs. Reduce the occurrence of expensive maintenance fees simply by changing your filter often.

Changing your filter regularly doesn't have to be a chore that sends you running to your local builder's market every few months. We offer plenty of affordable 1-inch filters that ship quickly to your doorstep, and provide convenient bulk packages for those who want to save even more time!

2. Keep the Condensate Drain Clean

Most of us don't know the ins and outs of AC repair, but there are a few parts of your unit you should familiarize yourself with in order to get the most out of your money. The condensate drain - usually a PVC pipe - moves collected condensation from your AC to the outside of your home. Sometimes this drain becomes clogged due to normal buildup, leading to water overflow into your home and/or AC system shut-down. To easily avoid these problems, simply pour some vinegar or algaecide into the drain regularly. You may also use harsher liquids such as bleach, but you should take care not to let chemicals soak into your soil and into precious ground water.

Learn more about cleaning a condensation line here.

3. Keep the Coils Clean

When your coils become dirty and insulated, they can't do their job of removing warm air from your home. Now, your unit has to work even harder, which increases your energy bills significantly. If your AC coils have become dirty, you can get them cleaned for a reasonable cost by contacting a local AC repair company. We don't recommend you take on this task yourself as you might damage the unit or even risk electrical shock. Don't delay this process; dirty coils will ultimately need to be replaced and this is an expensive process!

In addition to replacing your filter regularly, here's another thing you can do to keep your coils clean all year long:
Turn your AC unit off when you mow. Mowing, particularly when grass and soil are very dry, kicks up small and large particles that get sucked into your AC unit when it's on.

4. Avoid Temperature Swings

When your AC has to work hard, parts break down more often and your energy bill skyrockets. It's just as important to avoid big temperature swings as it is to choose the optimal temperature for your home when your AC is on.
Most common units cannot effectively cool your home beyond 25 degrees below the outside temperature. That means, if you like to keep the thermostat at 70 and live in a region with temperatures reaching 100, you're likely wasting your money.

Similarly, turning your thermostat off when you leave your home will result in increased energy bills since your unit will need to work harder when you return. We recommend leaving your thermostat between 74 and 78 F at all times, whether you're there or away.

Use blinds or curtains to cover windows facing the sun, don't open doors or leave doors open unnecessarily and check your doors and windows for worn or missing weatherstrips to avoid increased temperatures inside the home.

AC Maintenance & Energy Saving Tips Infographic