Regularly replacing air filters and ensuring the condenser coil is clean and free of debris will help keep your system running efficiently, but there are additional steps you can take to prepare your home for the warm weather so the AC doesn’t have to run as often.
• Keep the cool air in. Check doors and windows for gaps that allow air to escape. Caulk, putty or weather-stripping can be used to seal the openings. Make sure to close your fireplace damper so the cool air doesn’t escape up the chimney.
• Keep the hot air out. Close blinds, curtains and shutters that cover windows that face the sun.
• Use ceiling fans. Make sure your fans are going in the correct direction. In the summer, the fan blades should rotate counter-clockwise, creating a downward breeze.
• Turn off the appliances. Computers, televisions and lighting are major sources of internal heat gain. Turn them off when not in use and consider replacing standard light bulbs with compact florescent bulbs to save energy and money.
• Check the ducts. Leaky ductwork means cool air is escaping into the attic instead of making its way into the living spaces of your home. Check for loose connections and joints that have come apart as well as rips or tears.
If you can’t access the ductwork in your attic or have questions about energy efficiency, consult a professional.
Jim Anderberg is general manager of Beutler Air Conditioning Service in Sacramento. For more information, visit www.beutler.com.