Don't Stress Out Your AC This Summer

The dog days of summer mean it's peak cooling season. Unfortunately, this is also often the time when an air conditioner breaks down and leaves you sweating. Fortunately, there are ways you can stay cool without stressing out your AC system. The following tips will help.

Tip #1: Cut down on incoming heat

Heat from the sun can quickly warm up your home's interior, forcing the AC to work overtime. Close your drapes on any windows that receive direct sunlight, and you won't have this issue. Even better, invest in curtains or shades with a light-reflecting liner. You can also install awnings over sun-exposed windows to cut down on direct sun and heat while still allowing you to have the curtains open.

Tip #2: Improve your insulation

Insulation isn't just for keeping heat in during the winter. It also helps keep your home cooler in the summer. This is because insulation limits air exchange between the inside of your home and the great outdoors. Where attic insulation helps the most during winter, your wall insulation is key for summer. This is because hot air rises, leaving cool air to pool lower in your home. If you have poor insulation in the walls, this cool air can then leak outside. Also, if you have a basement or crawlspace, consider insulating your floors so you don't get heat from below while losing your cool air to the basement.

Tip #3: Shade the outdoor unit

Direct sunlight on the outdoor AC unit also stresses it out because it can increase the likelihood of its overheating. Some homeowners plant a screen of plants around the AC to provide shade, while others build an actual screen from fencing materials. Both methods work well, just make sure they are set a few feet from the unit so air can circulate freely. You can even rig up a temporary shade screen with a patio umbrella, if necessary.

Tip #4: Set a realistic temp

Trying to keep your home too cool just overworks your AC. Instead, invest in a programmable thermostat and maintain a constant realistic temperature, generally between 72 and 76 F, in the home. You can't use your AC to emulate polar conditions without shortening its service life.

Tip #5: Cut out the cooking

Using an oven or cooking on the stove top heats up your home, causing the AC to work harder. If grilling outside isn't your thing, opt for foods you can cook quickly on a stovetop or in the microwave to avoid heating up your home. Some people set a crockpot or use an electric pressure cooker on their patio to avoid heating up the house. Any of these options can help get you and your AC through a heat wave without stress.

For more help, talk to an AC service in your area, such as Master Service Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration.