HOW TO PROTECT YOUR AIR CONDITIONER FROM BLISTERING SUMMER HEAT

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It’s summertime in Olathe, and the heat is on! Even though it’s early in the summer, we’ve already experienced 100-degree heat, and more is probably on the way. As such, folks across the Greater Kansas City Area are cranking up the air conditioning. Here at Davenport Heating and Cooling in Olathe, we’re already getting more and more phone calls from people who are experiencing trouble with their HVAC systems.

Fortunately, we have a great crew of air conditioner repair professionals. While we can solve problems for you quickly, it’s even better if your air conditioning unit doesn’t break down in the first place. As it happens, we can help with that, too.

One of the questions we get most often when we’re working on air conditioner repairs is, “How do I protect my air conditioner from the summer heat?” It’s a good question, and it’s one that we might not always think about. After all, we kind of rely on our air conditioners to protect us from the summer heat. But with the temperature rising, your air conditioner getting overworked is a real concern. We decided to put together an informative article on how to take care of your air conditioner so it can keep taking care of you.

For starters, we thought we should point out that outside air conditioner units are actually pretty sturdy. They’re designed to withstand even the kinds of extreme weather we experience here in Olathe. Nonetheless, protecting your air conditioner from the summer heat is both an inside-of-the-house and outside-of-the-house effort.

Get your air conditioner serviced early (and regularly). Like any other mechanical system, your HVAC system—which includes your air conditioner—needs regular service in order to run at optimal efficiency. Regular service will prevent costly breakdowns that could leave you without air conditioning right in the middle of a summer heat wave. In fact, most service calls that heating and cooling professionals receive in the summer could have been prevented had maintenance been performed in the spring. Still, it’s never too late, so schedule your HVAC system maintenance today!

Have any problems checked out immediately. Got trouble with your air conditioner? Is the outside unit making a strange sound? Does the house not get cool enough or not stay cool? Are your energy bills extremely high? Do you detect a strange odor? All these are signs that your air conditioner may be suffering and headed for a major breakdown. Don’t wait until things get worse. If you have concerns, get your unit checked out by an air conditioner repair professional immediately!

Check air filters monthly. One of the most important things you can do to take care of your heating and cooling system is to check your air filters every month. If your filter is dirty or even if you just think it’s dirty, it probably needs to be changed. It’s often a good idea to change air filters every month, regardless. Changing filters will not only increase the quality of your air, it’ll help keep your air conditioner from working harder than it needs to.

Keep the area around your air conditioner clear. We said that exterior air conditioning units are sturdy, and it’s true, but they still need certain conditions to work properly. One of these is unobstructed air flow. The air that comes out of your vents in the house has to come from somewhere, after all, and the air conditioner unit pulls that air in from outside before cooling it and sending it through your home. If the area around your air conditioner is clogged up with plants, bushes, or debris, it will have to work a lot harder to pull that air in. The unit itself needs to be clean too. If it’s covered with a layer of grass clippings, weeds, pet hair, dry leaves, or anything else, it won’t get good airflow. You can even wash your exterior unit down carefully with a garden hose. If you’re not comfortable doing all that, you can always contact an air conditioner repair professional.

Should you shade the air conditioning unit? Okay, we just told you to keep the air conditioner clear of obstructions, and now we’re telling you to put it in the shade? The answer is that both can be good, but if you shade your unit, you’ll want to make sure you prioritize doing so in a way that keeps the air flowing smoothly. You’ll need to keep your actual air conditioner unit at least two feet away from trees, shrubs, or anything else that’s casting shade on the unit. In that case, is shading your air conditioning unit even worth it? A study performed by the EPA in 1992 showed that shading could reduce air temperature around the unit by 6 or 7 degrees, which can increase the efficiency of an air conditioner by as much as 10% during peak periods. While it may be worth it on the hottest days, it’s probably not something you should spend a lot of time or money on.

Don’t block supply registers or returns. Sometimes, people make the mistake of closing off the airflow to rooms that they’re not using in the winter, but this actually makes your HVAC system less efficient, as it still tries to heat that area. The same goes for your air conditioner during the summer months. Blocked registers and returns mean more effort on the part of your unit to cool your entire house, and also less consistent and comfortable temperatures for you. Plenty of homes in Olathe already have registers and returns that are behind doors or in other areas where they’re out of sight, which can lead us to stack stuff in front of them or otherwise forget they’re there. Make sure all your vents, returns, and registers are clear and unobstructed.

DON’T crank the thermostat down. When the temperature starts to rise outside, turning the dial on your thermostat lower just means that your air conditioner is going to run longer in order to drop the internal temperature to your new setting. That’s hard on everything and expensive for you, to boot. Find a comfortable temperature, and leave your thermostat set on it. Better yet, invest in a programmable learning thermostat, like the NEST thermostats we install at Davenport Heating and Cooling in Olathe.

If you follow all of this advice, there’s still no guarantee that your air conditioner won’t run into some kind of problem as the weather heats up, but you’ll be in a better place to catch it and address it if it does. Your air conditioner will run more efficiently and effectively in the meantime. If you haven’t already done your seasonal tune-up, or if you have concerns about your air conditioner or any other aspect of your home HVAC system, just call Davenport Service Company at 913-441-2222 today!

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