Buying a central air conditioner is just the first step in keeping your home cool. To get the most out of your central air there are a few tricks for maintaining your air conditioner and keeping your cool. Air conditioning maintenance isn't the sexiest of subjects, but fainting from the heat isn't sexy either.
I'm not at all impressed by how it looks but it makes up for its homeliness with its practicality. The house is cool. Not ice cold where you walk in and get brain freeze, but nice. It's relief from the 100 degree, 100% humidity outside.
But it took a bit of work to get it to this point. The guy who installed the air conditioning spent about an hour fiddling around with the ducts and the registers, balancing the system so the entire house would be the same temperature. If he noticed that it was really BLASTING out of the dining room, he closed the duct running to the dining room a bit, which in turn forced cold air into the living room, where it was needed.
After a few days I noticed that the bedroom was not what you'd call cold. It was what you'd call not cold. So I called my handy, dandy air conditioning installer and he came back once more to do a readjustment of some of my ducts and cold air returns. The bedroom is now the same temperature as the rest of the house, which ... in a story and a half house, is quite an accomplishment.
Just two weeks ago I was using my upstairs to incubate dinosaur eggs and fire the odd piece of pottery.
Just having air conditioning installed isn't enough to guarantee success. Here are a few tips I got out of my installer.
Get the Most Out of Your Central Air Conditioner.
- Wash your outdoor unit with high pressure hose water working from the top down. It's like cleaning out the lint trap on your dryer. If the air conditioning unit is clogged it can't work properly.
- Make sure none of your vents are blocked. Not blocked by a couch, dresser, sleeping goat. Nothin'.
- If you don't use your basement or it's getting too cold, close your basement vents. Since cold air drops, basements always get cold. Closing the vents will force cold air to other areas of the house where the cool is needed more.
- In the spring or fall when you don't need air conditioning but still want to cool the house a little, turn your furnace fan on. This will circulate the air throughout the house making it feel cooler.
- If one vent is blowing really strongly it's taking power away from vents elsewhere. Close the offending vent a little to allow airflow elsewhere. In older houses this can be done with the dampers in the basement.
- Don't ever turn your air conditioner off in the summer. Once it's cool enough outside, turn the temperature that your air is supposed to come on up a few degrees and open your windows. When your air comes on you know it's time to close your windows again. If you let your house overheat in the summer getting full of hot air and humidity before you turn the air on, it's harder on the air conditioner, more expensive and takes wayyyyy longer to cool the house down.
- Finally, if you can't seem to get your house consistently cold or your upstairs is still too hot, call in a professional. Having your system professionally balanced makes a huge difference and could mean the difference between a good night's sleep and punching your partner in the head because you woke up drowning in their puddle of sweat.