5 Things You Need to Know About Maintaining Your Air Conditioner
When the temperatures rise and air conditioners come out, there are some important things you should know about your units. Here are 5 things to watch out for and techniques for increasing the life and efficiency of your air conditioners:
1. Change the filter often during the cooling season
While your air conditioner is cooling you off, it's acting as an air purifier and prevents outside debris from blowing into your home. When was the last time you took a look at your unit's air filter? Cleaning or changing it will increase efficiency, decrease your energy bill, and can potentially benefit your family's health. Make a mental note to clean the filter at least once a month in the summer to keep your A/C running like new.
2. Leaks can affect the performance of your air conditioner
Window A/C units are always difficult to seal correctly. To see if you have a leak around your windows, light a stick of incense and hold it where the unit and window frame meet. If the smoke blows around, there's a leakage. But don't worry; it's nothing a little foam, tape or weather seal can't fix!
3. You can increase efficiency by placing the unit on the north or east side of your house
The sun, the reason why we need air conditioners in the first place, can really affect the output of your units. Try to shield them from the sun as much as possible, as putting them in direct sunlight reduces their efficiency by up to 10%.
4. Shield the unit inside, too
Increase the life of your unit by closing blinds and shades around the unit when you're not in the room. You should also consider running floor or ceiling fans (that are turning counterclockwise) to aid in cooling. The air conditioner won't need to work as hard and will last longer. Plus, fans will move the dry air your air conditioner dehumidifies around.
5. Today's air conditioners are more energy efficient
Cooling technology and federal laws for efficiency have come a long way since the last time you may have purchased a window unit; the investment you make now could very well pay for itself over time. When purchasing a new unit, check the energy efficiency ratio, or EER. Devices with higher numbers will cost less to operate.