As we ready ourselves for another Texas summer, it’s important to consider whether your HVAC system will be operating at top performance and keeping you and those you love comfortable. Now’s a good time to contact a professional heating and air company and have them inspect your system. A professional inspection should include flushing the drain pipes of water, since a clogged drain can mean your unit is working harder and less efficiently. In addition, they should clean the fan blades on the outdoor unit and remove dust and other buildup from the indoor evaporator coil to ensure you’re getting the most out of your unit and paying the least to operate it.
There are a few things you can do, too. Schedule a time once a month to change disposable air filters. The first day of each month is a good time. A clean air filter can reduce your energy consumption by up to 15 percent. Keep leaves, branches, and vegetation at least two feet away from your outdoor unit to allow the unit to pull in air freely. And routinely remove debris that falls into and around the unit.
You might also invest in a programmable thermostat which allows decreased use of the HVAC system when you’re not home. For warm months, it’s recommended to set the thermostat around 78 degrees. Keep in mind that every degree you lower your thermostat during the summer costs about one percent more on your energy bill. If you notice your monthly bill is higher than usual during a given month, contact your heating and air company and have them inspect the system to ensure it’s operating at top performance levels.
What can you do yourself?
MAXIMIZE AIR FLOW WITH FANS
Ceiling fans set to rotate clockwise can make a huge difference in the comfort and feel of your home during summer. The clockwise movement causes air to flow downward, preventing excess heat from rising into the higher levels of your home and making your air conditioner pick up the slack. (When the weather cools off again, reverse blades to spin counterclockwise.)
UTILIZE WINDOW TREATMENTS
Sun penetrating through glass can cause indoor temps to rise and kick your AC into overdrive. Investing in high-quality window treatments for sun-exposed areas can help prevent the afternoon buildup of heat in the summer months.
REDUCE HEAT FROM OTHER APPLIANCES
Consider using heat-generating appliance less during summer. Cook dinner outdoors on the grill, instead of in the oven. Hang clothes outside to dry instead of running the dryer. (A bonus is that glorious sun-dried smell.)