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RISMEDIA, August 11, 2010—As the summer sun continues to heat up the country, homeowners are taking full advantage of their central air conditioner units. Charles Furlough, vice president, Pillar To Post Home Inspections offers the following tips to keep your air conditioner running smoothly this summer.

Keep It Clear:
The big AC unit outside your house is called the condenser. This equipment actually cools the liquid in the coils of your AC. Cooler coils mean cooler air in your house.

You’ll want to keep the area around the condenser clear of grass, bushes, leaves and just about everything else so that the fan gets the maximum amount of airflow. Ensure there is nothing blocking the vents or around the unit for one or two feet in every direction.

Keep It Clean:
Turn off the power to the unit before cleaning. Check that the interior is free of debris on the inside and outside. Most units can be cleaned with a hose sprayed from the top down, washing any dirt or debris from the inside. Remove one side panel of the outside unit and then take a broom or rake and remove any leftover debris or leaves that have been washed down to the bottom.

Coils can be damaged fairly easily, so spraying them down with water usually is sufficient.

Keep It Cool:
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends shading your central AC unit so that it doesn’t have to work as hard to cool the coils inside the unit. Planting a shade tree near (but not too close) the unit can help keep the unit cool and running efficiently. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, this one action could save you up to 10% on your cooling bill.

Keep It Consistent:
Turning the AC unit on and off can wear down interior switches and potentially damage the thermostat. Instead, set the thermostat temperature and let the air conditioning catch up and do its job without interference.

An automatic thermostat can be programmed to change the temperature when the home is typically empty during the day. This money-saving idea also saves energy, since the house won’t be as cool when no one is at home.

Keep the central air conditioner fan on AUTO and not ON all the time. These systems are meant to cycle on their own terms and keeping the furnace fan ON all the time could actually blow warm air back into the home.

Keep It Maintained:
Check the air filter and replace it a little more often than usual. In addition to the filter, look around for any leaks in the hoses or air ducts. Loose ducts with small gaps and tiny air leaks around older duct work can severely diminish the AC’s efficiency.

Keep It Charged and Serviced:
A professional technician can tell if the refrigerant should be recharged or if other system elements need replacing. Consider having a full service on your AC unit every year or two. The money recovered in energy savings and peace of mind during those hot summer days will easily compensate for the incremental cost.

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