The Top Air Conditioning Mistakes to Avoid

Air conditioning is our saving grace in the dead heat of summer. However, many homeowners don’t realize how complex maintaining their HVAC units can be. It’s more than turning your switch on and off. Properly running your air conditioner allows you to save money on utility bills or repairs, and reap the most cooling benefits during the summer months.

Common Air Conditioning Mistakes and How to Fix Them

1. Ignoring Your Air Filter

Your air conditioner’s filter helps to remove dust, allergens, and other substances from the air which passes through the unit. These filters are designed to be replaced regularly; you should typically replace your filter every six months. Replacing your air conditioner filters regularly ensures yourindoor air quality isn’t being reduced, and can actually improve your AC efficiency by 5 to 15 percent. If you recently remodeled your home, be sure to check your filter for any debris or dust.

2. Not Updating Your Thermostat

Programmable thermostats have become a popular feature in modern homes in the past few years. They’re great for customizing your own temperature settings, times, and zones, rather than cooling your whole home at the same time. Many of these smart thermostats have learning capabilities that allow it to accommodate to your repeated schedules. Pretty soon, your thermostat will know your schedule better than you do!
If you don’t have a programmable thermostat in your home, you may want to look into getting one.

3. Setting the Temperature Too Low

When you walk in the door, your first step may be running to lower your thermostat (unless you have a programmable thermostat!) We all want to walk into an ice-cold home, and if a heatwave strikes, we want relief as soon as possible. However, one of the most common mistakes homeowners make with their HVAC units is setting the temperature too low. Did you know that the U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat on 78 Fahrenheit for optimal efficiency?

If you’re one to lower your thermostat all the way down to 70, you probably just broke a sweat. Truthfully, your air conditioner works just as hard to lower the temperature of your home one degree as it does to lower it by 20 degrees. Hitting those buttons repeatedly to cool your home off quicker will not produce a colder home than if you lower your thermostat based on time settings.

Program your thermostat based on where you want your temperature to be, not when you want your house to be cooler, and most definitely not lower than you need to.

4. Using the AC When No One is Home

Pay close attention to your family’s general schedule when setting your thermostat schedules. Typically, you don’t need to run your thermostat in the middle of the day if your family members are at work or school — so turn the temperature up. When everyone’s asleep, additionally, you can opt to shut your AC off completely and open a window for a cool breeze.

5. Not Checking Your Drain

Many HVAC systems use drains to remove condensation by channeling water outside of your home. These drains can be easy to miss, but if one gets clogged, you’ll definitely notice! You may observe your air conditioner malfunctioning, or even worse, damage to your walls and floors from the increased moisture. Keep your drain line clean, and don’t be afraid to do some preventative snaking with a wire to make sure nothing is accumulating.

6. Positioning Your AC Incorrectly

The location of your air conditioner can have a big impact on its efficiency. You may want to hide your unit away in an unseen area of the house, but this placement will force yourHVAC to work harder to cool your home. The best spot for your air conditioner is in a shady area where it can use less energy to cool your home. Just as you want to avoid putting your AC in direct sunlight, place any heat-emitting appliances away from your thermostat. If your thermostat picks up on the heat being emitted from lamps, for example, it may misread the temperature in your home and begin to overcool.

If you utilize window units, they should be titled back to allow for proper drainage. Don’t hide them in bushes and shrubbery, either! Your AC needs room to ventilate.

7. Avoiding Maintenance and Replacement

Most air conditioner systems use refrigerant, which absorbs heat from the house and disperses it outdoors. Small amounts of this very important compound can leak over time and result in falling efficiency or the need for repair.

Additionally, the initial cost of replacing your AC may seem high, but that doesn’t mean you should put it off. Don’t keep your broken air conditioner longer than you should — this will just result in more money spent on repairs, high utility bills, and replacements.

How do you know if your unit needs refrigerant or repair? Call the professionals of AirCon! Our team will help diagnose any problems you may be experiencing, which will help you keep your system in peak operating conditions, and repair, replace, or get your system running better with basic maintenance. We can work with you to spot problems early, so they won't develop into more costly issues down the road.