When it’s hot outside, you want to be sure your air conditioner is working as well as it possibly can to keep you cool.
Before the summer heat sets in, now is a great time to perform some basic maintenance on your AC system.
Maybe the term “basic maintenance” make you balk because you’re not exactly the handiest person in the world…
Don’t worry. You don’t need to hire an HVAC company to do anything on this list!
Try these simple DIY tips to improve AC performance
Want to make sure your AC is working at peak capacity? Do the following…
Change your filter
Filter changing is the #1 thing the HVAC companies will tell you to do to help your system run better. You should aim to change your filter anywhere from every month to every three months, depending on whether or not you’re in peak season for air use.
If you’ve never changed your filter before, the first thing to do is locate your furnace. Look for the part with a handle that slides out — usually positioned on the side of the furnace. That’s where the old filter is contained.
Pull out the old filter and note the sizing (for example, mine is 14 x 25 x 1). Also note the way the filter is positioned (i.e. which side is facing which direction). There are arrows on the side of the filter itself to help you.
Then just get a replacement of the same size and pop it back in! With a clean filter, your system won’t have to work as hard to keep you cool.
Watch: How to change your HVAC filter
Get out your gardening gloves
Remove any weeds or shrubs growing around your outside condenser unit. Your system can’t work at peak capacity if it’s being choked by overgrowth!
Avoid the sun on your AC
If you have a window-installed unit, try to put it in a window that faces north. By doing that, it will receive the least amount of sunlight possible, which means it won’t have to work as hard to keep you cool.
Shade trees or awning can help protect your AC from the sun’s powerful rays. Those rays make it have to work harder during peak temperature times.
Move anything hot away from the window unit
Air conditioners have a built-in thermostat that tells them when to cycle on and off to maintain a constant temperature. Be certain that heat-generating items like TVs, computers and even lamps aren’t tripping up the internal thermostat.
Read more: Best window air conditioners for the summer
Check the window seals
Are your windows leaking cool air out of your home? A tube of caulk and a caulk gun can seal the leaks and save you a lot of money!
Use the temperature setting controls
Many newer window units can be controlled from your smartphone or otherwise have some kind of programmable function.
Energy Star recommends you keep the temperature at 78° F when you’re home, 85° F when you’re out and 82° F when you’re sleeping.
That may sound kind of high, but the general rule is that you’ll save 3% on your energy bill for every degree of comfort you sacrifice.
Another great option to save big bucks on your home energy costs — particularly if you have central air — is to get a programmable thermostat like the Nest.