Handy hints to help your AC keep up in heatwaves. The weather forecasters say it’s going to be hot this week – extremely hot. So, how can you help your air conditioning unit keep up with the heat to keep you comfortable in your home? 1. Be reasonable in your expectations: In this region, the summer design temperature for cooling equipment is about 32°. That means when it hits that temperature outside, your AC unit will run full tilt to keep your house cool. Higher outside temps may cause your house to be a little bit warmer than what you’d really prefer. 2. Do NOT crank the thermostat down: Leave it set where you normally have it. Moving the dial from 24° to 22° will not change the temperature of the air coming out of the registers; it just makes the unit run longer to reach the desired temperature. Keep your unit running full time to maintain the house at 24°, moving the dial down will not make the house any cooler. Running a higher fan speed, turn off all zones to areas not being occupied and close the doors to those rooms. 3. It may not be the equipment’s fault: Poor insulation levels and air leaks in the home’s envelope all contribute to comfort issues. We tend to notice these issues more during extreme summer heat. Be sure to note areas in your home that are particularly uncomfortable this week so that you can do some further investigation to close off, shade and improve these areas when things cool down. 4. Is the return air filter clean: Take a look and clean it if you even THINK it’s only partially dirty. A dirty filter will slow air flow and make your AC unit work harder than it needs to. That costs you extra money AND you won’t be as cool. 5. Close your curtains, shades or blinds: Keeping the sunshine out will help keep the rooms as cool as possible. If you don’t like feeling like you are in a cave, then just close them on the east side in the morning and the west side in the afternoon. If you have north facing windows, you may want to keep them closed all day to keep the heat down in those rooms too. 6. Do not block supply registers OR return air paths: The key to comfort is to keep the air flowing. Move furniture around so that you are not blocking any supply or return air registers. 7. Use ceiling fans and/or pedestal fans: Even warmer air feels cooler if it’s moving and it will assist in comfort for the more populated areas your family occupy. 8. Check the outdoor unit: Be sure there is nothing obstructing the front fans and it is free of grass clippings, leaves, pet hair and other things. If the fins are plugged up, carefully brush them off. You can also carefully wash them with your garden hose. Having the fins clear allows the air to flow better and the unit to dissipate the heat it is pulling from your house. And probably the best advice is the hardest: be patient. Getting upset just makes you warmer! So put on cool, light-coloured clothes, drink lots of water and take it easy.
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