How to Help Your Air Conditioner during a Heat Wave

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Posted on 07/16/2012

After one of the hottest Junes on record since the 1930s, much of the US is bracing for another heat wave. The greatest demand for electricity is expected to be in the Midwest and Northeast. These soaring temperatures can put a strain on your air conditioner. To avoid overworking what is probably one of the most expensive pieces of equipment in your home, consider these tips for helping your air conditioner during a heat wave.

Only Use the AC While You’re Home
Experts say there’s no reason to cool your home if you’re not there. During a heat wave your air conditioning unit could use the break. And while you’re home, try to keep the thermostat set no cooler than 78 degrees.


Dress Light
Now is not the time for sweatshirts and cozy slippers. Keep your clothing choices light and breezy so you don’t have to set the thermostat quite as low.


Keep Your AC Unit Clean
Routine maintenance is ideal for your AC unit and some of this is simple enough that even non-DIY homeowners can handle it themselves. In fact DIYNetwork.com says you can clean the coils with your garden hose.


Slow Down
You may have been looking for a reason to get out of that workout anyway and the heat wave could be it. If you do need to take part in a strenuous activity, do it during the coolest hours of the day, which usually means before 7am.


Change the Filter
One of the key components to keeping your air conditioner running smoothly is changing or cleaning the air filter. Some experts say you’ll need to do this once a month, but check with a pro about your particular unit. If the filter is clogged, your air conditioner will have to work even harder to suck in air.


Lower Electricity Use
Some of the biggest power companies in the hottest regions are urging customers to cut back on energy consumption in other areas. Turn off unnecessary lights or equipment. And you may even want to consider putting your AC up a few notches so it doesn’t have to work as hard.


By Alison Storm


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