A recent survey revealed that heat waves have affected 48 out of 50 U.S. states in recent years. A heat wave is generally defined as a period of unusually high temperatures that exceed historical averages and last longer than 48 hours. To most people, it’s an uncomfortable episode we all wish would go away ASAP. As unpleasant as heat waves may be to those affected, it’s even tougher on your central air conditioner.
Air conditioners work harder and run longer cooling cycles during heat waves. In these conditions, certain critical AC components are exposed to extremely high operating temperatures and considerable wear and tear. Before a potential heat wave arrives, here are ways to prepare your central cooling system.
- Schedule AC annual professional preventative maintenance. An AC inspection and tuneup by a qualified HVAC contractor helps put your system in optimum condition as well as reveals any weak spots that could become big problems under severe conditions of unusually high temperatures.
- Maximize airflow. Ask your professional HVAC contractor about the system air filter, as well as the proper interval for replacement. A clean filter helps the system handle the cooling load and remove heat from the house.
- Keep current with DIY upkeep. Make sure the outdoor half of the central AC is clear of obstructions, such as encroaching weeds or other vegetation that blocks proper air circulation into and out of the unit. This helps your unit disperse extracted heat efficiently.
- Shut out infiltrating heat. Heat gain in the form of solar energy streaming through windows is a major contributor to the cooling load on your air conditioner. Draw curtains and close blinds during daylight hours to keep out the sunlight.
- Maintain realistic thermostat settings. A properly maintained residential central air conditioner can keep indoor temperatures about 20 degrees cooler than the outdoor temperature. Temperature settings that are unrealistically low cause the AC to run almost nonstop, risking severe wear and tear and not making the house any cooler.
Be prepared for heat waves this summer. For professional advice and service, contact the experts at Jackson & Sons.