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Summer’s Coming: 5 Tips to Prepare Your AC System

Things in Phoenix are already heating up, and summer will be in full swing before you know it. It’s no secret that several months of triple-digit temperatures can be hard on your air conditioner, but with some careful preparation, you can keep your system running smoothly all summer long. Here are the top five things you can do to prepare your air conditioner for summer.

1. Schedule AC maintenance

Annual maintenance is one of the best things you can do to get your air conditioner, and your home, ready for the long summer ahead. During a maintenance visit, the technician will inspect your system inside and out, noting any small red flags that could turn into major problems and leave you with an air conditioning emergency. No one wants to get caught in the middle of summer with a broken air conditioner—so have your system inspected for extra peace of mind.

At Hays, our AC maintenance program includes a 33-point inspection followed by any applicable adjustments or tweaks needed for the system. Some of the individual services included in our bi-annual maintenance program include:

  • Replace or clean air filters
  • Check thermostat operation
  • Check ductwork and static pressure
  • Inspect disconnect and fuses
  • Tighten electrical connections
  • Oil and check blower motor
  • Inspect indoor coil for buildup
  • Check access valves for leaks
  • Check refrigerant
  • Oil and check outdoor fan motor
  • And several other individual inspections

 

2. Shade your AC unit

You can get very creative when it comes to shading an air conditioning unit in Arizona. In fact, one of the easiest ways to lower your energy bill during the summer is to make sure your cooling unit is not in direct sunlight during the late morning or mid-afternoon hours. Typically, homeowners will use the following methods to keep their AC systems covered from direct sunlight:

Foliage

Large trees or bushes can create a natural shade solution for your AC unit. Just make sure and regularly clean the unit to keep it free from leaves, branches, and other debris.

Location

Typically, your AC unit will be installed on the side of your house which receives the most shade and least direct sunlight. This is usually the north or south facing exterior wall.

Covers and housing

Pre-fabricated AC housing and covers are available to provide shade, but you’ll need to ensure that whichever one you choose fits your outdoor unit while allowing enough room for it to expel heat.

3. Change your filters

When filters become clogged with debris, they won’t be able to effectively filter the air. This not only worsens indoor air quality, but also decreases the overall efficiency of your air conditioner. Dirty filters mean that your air conditioner will have to work harder to cool your home, and this increased wear and tear can lead to all sorts of problems, including system breakdowns.

If your home is feeling stuffy and warmer than usual, start by replacing your filters. Try and aim to replace your filters at least every 30 days for the best results.

4. Use your thermostat to your advantage

Your thermostat is the command center that sends important signals to your air conditioner. You can use this powerful tool to your advantage to save money and energy all summer long, and to keep your air conditioner running at its best. Here’s how:

Thermostat calibration

Another simple thing you can do to keep your home’s internal temperature cool while also saving money on utilities is to ensure your thermostat is calibrated before the sweltering heat arrives. Traditionally, the thermostat is the first thing that air conditioning pros in Phoenix go to when trying to diagnose a problem with an AC system. The reason for this is that it’s not uncommon for them to fall out of calibration or even be reset by accident. Some causes of thermostat failure are simple and common household issues, including:

  • Loss of power for an extended period
  • Family members changing or lowering temperature settings
  • People bumping into the thermostat on accident

An improperly set thermostat is the root cause behind a high volume of summertime AC repair calls. If you think your thermostat isn’t calibrated properly, have it checked by a professional to save yourself from potential problems down the line.

Programmable thermostats

Programmable thermostats can help you save time, money, and energy. If you have one currently installed, chances are you’re not using it to its full potential. With a programmable thermostat, you can set different temperatures according to the time of day, or the day of the week. For example, if you’re home all day on weekends, but only home in the evenings during the week, you can set your thermostat to automatically keep your home cooler while you’re home. When you’re not home, the temperature will raise in order to give your air conditioner a break. Some programmable thermostats will even remind you when it’s time to change your filter or perform other basic AC maintenance tasks.

The Department of Energy estimates that programmable thermostats can save you 10 percent a year on heating and cooling your home by giving you the power to set your home’s temperature at different times of the day. They recommended setting thermostats between 75-80 degrees to conserve energy. When you are away from home, set the thermostat to an energy-saving level — 5°F higher in the summer.

Smart thermostats

Want to maximize comfort in your home this summer while staying up to date with the latest in home automation technologies? You might want to consider installing a smart thermostat. These Wi-Fi-enabled devices learn your usage patterns and allow you to control the temperature in your home from anywhere. Whether at home or on the go, you can turn the system on or off from anywhere.

Through self-learning, smart thermostats will realize when you are not around and adjust themselves accordingly. If you leave for work around 8am and don’t return until the evening, it will raise or lower the temperature in your home to ensure that your system doesn’t have to work hard to cool the home when no one’s there. This helps to reduce energy waste and can save a significant amount on your monthly bills.

5. Call Hays for all your AC needs

From repairs and maintenance to new installations, it pays to call Hays. Let us help get your system ready for summer and answer any questions you may have along the way. Contact us to get started.

About the Author

Chris Hays

Founder of Hays Cooling, Heating & Plumbing

Chris and Stacia Hays, are the founders of Hays Cooling, Heating & Plumbing; a family operated HVAC company in Phoenix founded in 2001 that services both commercial and residential customers. Chris leads a team of certified technicians who have over 45 years of combined experience and has earned and A+ rating with the BBB and a strong five star rating online. Hays Cooling, Heating & Plumbing focuses on providing support to their customers every step of the way, with exceptional service and competitive prices. If you are looking for top-notch air conditioning and heating service, contact Hays today.