It’s that time of year again! In Arizona the need for an air conditioner comes early, and the need is not to be taken lightly. Extreme heat is definitely uncomfortable, but it can also be deadly. Last year in Arizona, the first heat related death of 2012 happened in April. Every year, over 1400 people end up in Arizona emergency rooms with heat related illnesses, and many require costly hospital admission. Heat kills more people every year than hurricanes, floods, tornados, and wildfires combined.
Of all the things you can do to protect yourself and your family from the elements, staying cool is the most important. When possible avoid the mid-day heat. If you have to be outside, it is important to have an air conditioned place to cool off periodically.
1. To keep your air conditioner running efficiently it is important to change the filter regularly.
Most people do not realize that their filter should be changed every month. Some units have washable filters which should also be cleaned once a month. A dirty filter can greatly reduce the efficiency of your air conditioner. A dirty filter can also allow more pollen, dust, and other irritants into your home.
Another way to help maintain proper air flow is to leave interior doors open as much as possible.
2. Some money saving tips for the air conditioning season are; check for leaky duct work.
Leaky ducts can allow dust, humidity, mold, and other toxins into your home. You can also lose up to one third of your air flow through these leaks. Look for air leaks around joints where two pieces of duct pipe are joined together, and also where it enters the house. Often duct work is not easily accessible, so you may want to call in a professional air conditioning contractor.
All ducts in attics or crawl spaces should be insulated to keep the air within them cool. The job of duct work that goes outside your house is to absorb hot indoor air and release it outside, so it must be insulated so as not to absorb the hot outdoor air.
Window air conditioning units are notorious for air leaks. Try foam strips to fill in gaps between the unit and the window.
3. You may also benefit from a timer.
Many people turn their thermostat to a higher temperature when they go to work, but since mornings are often hectic, it is easy to forget. It is fairly simple to have a programmable thermostat installed to do the job for you. Unless you are going to be gone for several days, it is not a good idea to turn the air conditioning unit off entirely. When you return it will require more energy to cool your home and can be hard on your compressor.
You may wish to look into replacing your old air conditioner. Federal laws now require air conditioning units to be much more efficient than they were just a few years ago. The higher the energy efficiency ratio the less energy required to run the unit. Lower utility costs can help recoup the cost of the new unit.
4. Maintain Your Compressor.
How to maintain your compressor; your system’s compressor and condenser are usually located outside the home near the foundation. There should be at least 24 inches of clear space in all directions around the unit. Remove nearby shrubs, grass, and leaves that are any closer.
It is best to place your condenser or window unit on the north side of your home where it will receive less sun. If they are in direct sunlight it will reduce their efficiency. It is suggested that you should have a reputable air conditioning contractor perform a check up on your unit before the start of each cooling season. Keeping your air conditioning unit operating efficiently will reduce energy costs.
5. Do I Need A Heat Pump?
A heat pumps offer an energy-efficient alternative to furnaces and air conditioners. During the cooling season, a heat pump will move heat from inside your house into the warm outdoors. Because they only move heat and do not generate heat, heat pumps can save many times over the amount of energy they consume. A high efficiency heat pump can also dehumidify better than a standard central air conditioning unit can, resulting in less energy usage, while less humidity in the air means greater comfort for you and your family.
Stay cool and enjoy your summer!
Guest Blog Written By: Bob Jenkins
Categorized in: Phoenix