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Three Maintenance Tips to Save Money on Your AC Costs

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Every homeowner should know to change their AC filter, but you can do more than that to keep your AC unit running as efficiently as possible. You don't need to have specialized training to complete some simple maintenance tasks and improve the efficiency of your AC unit. In fact, all you need is a little time and a little know-how. 

Coil Cleaning

Your condenser coils are located on the outside of your home, typically at ground level. In this position, they can get hit by your sprinklers and dust can then settle onto the wet coils and make muck. The wind can also plaster falling leaves and dandelion fluff onto your coils. As you mow your lawn, some of your lawn trimmings can get stuck to your condenser unit. The bottom line is that your coils will get dirty over time, and when they do they can increase your AC costs by up to 30%. Thus, you should inspect your coils from time to time and clean them with these steps when necessary:

1. Remove the protective grid that covers your coils.

2. Remove big, loose debris by gently running a wet/dry vac with a brush attachment over your coils. 

3. To remove stuck-on grime, apply a commercially available coil cleaner and wait for five minutes or so to allow the cleaner time to break down the grime on your unit.

4. Scrub your coils with a stiff bristle brush. 

5. Replace the protective grid. 

Fin Protection

If you have grass growing up right next to your coils, using a weed-eater to cut the grass can bend or even rupture them. Furthermore, grass, weeds, flowers, shrubs, or trees growing right next to your fins can block airflow through them, which will decrease their efficiency and increase your cooling costs. Thus, you should clear away all plants within a couple of feet of your condenser unit and put down weed mat to keep them from growing back. You can then cover the weed mat with bark or mulch to add a decorative accent. If your fins do get bent despite your efforts to protect them, buy a fin comb and run it gently through the fins to straighten them. 

Turn Your Thermostat up

This might not sound like a maintenance tip, but in that it can save wear and tear on your system, it should be considered as such. By turning your thermostat up one degree, you can decrease your cooling bill by 1 to 3%. The reason for this is that your AC does not have to run as much or as hard to maintain the higher setting. If you are out of your home for much of the day, you can program your AC to run higher while you are out of the home and then maintain your preferred setting to get much the same results. In either case, running your AC less will help it to last longer. 

Cooling your home through the summer can absorb a huge portion of your budget. Don't just throw up your hands and accept the high cost. Take control and maintain your AC unit to keep your cooling costs as low as possible. If you run across a problem with your AC that you can't solve on your own, get in touch with a professional from a business like Tropic Air Conditioning INC.