After a harsh, cold winter here in Rochester, Minnesota, we’re always excited when spring comes. Yet, it isn’t long before it heats up and we’re glad to escape the summer sun in the comfort of our homes. Central air conditioning will help keep indoor air liveable, but there are some other things you can do to keep your AC system working at peak performance — so your family stays cool.
Here are a few tips to consider:
- Keep the blinds closed. When you block direct sunlight from entering your home through the windows, you’re keeping additional heat to a minimum. Blackout curtains can be helpful in preventing the full force of the sun’s rays from bringing added heat into your home.
- Keep the lights low. Incandescent bulbs create heat and while bulbs are small, the heat can add up, making your home’s air warmer and you less comfortable.
- Cook outdoors (when possible). A lot of people like to barbecue outdoors. Cooking on the grill outdoors instead of heating up the oven during the warmest days, your air conditioning won’t have to work extra hard to remove the heat and humidity from your home.
- Run Appliances during the evening. Although appliances such as dishwashers and clothes dryers may not seem like they add a lot of heat, running them during the day can cause your AC to run more often and add to the humidity to your home.
- Circulate air with a fan. Whether the air in your home is 72F or 68F, moving that air will feel cooler on your body.
- Turn on and set ceiling fans to rotate clockwise. During the winter months, we rotate ceiling fans clockwise to force heat down the outside walls. In the summer, have the fan blow down on you which will allow for a cooling effect for you.
- Add awnings over the west and south-facing windows or plant trees for shade for long-term relief from the summer heat.
- To keep your home comfortable and less humid, don’t change the temperature when you’re not home. When leaving the house to go to work or school for the day, raising the temperature by a few degrees will allow your home to warm up and humidity levels to rise. When you get home after a hot day, your air conditioner may struggle to get you back into a comfortable combination of temperature and low humidity.
- Invest in a “smart” thermostat. Instead of having to manually change the settings on your thermostat, a smart version allows you to program when you keep the air coolest and when you let the temperature climb. Installing a thermostat with Wi-Fi capabilities will allow you to change the settings in your home from work or even across the globe.
- Set your thermostat between 73 and 79 degrees for AC. Setting the temperature lower may overwork your air conditioner for no reason. According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, this is the ideal range for the warmest days of summer.
Be sure to have your HVAC system, including your air conditioning unit, serviced in the spring before you need it. A professional will inspect the outdoor unit and check the switches and moving parts to ensure it’s working at peak efficiency – saving you money and the frustration of a breakdown during a heatwave!