How to Beat the Summer Heat

Welcome to the dog days of summer – a term that dates back to the ancient Romans who associated hot weather with the appearance of Sirius (the “dog star”) in the morning sky just before sunrise.

Over the next couple of months, temperatures will likely linger around the century mark here in North Texas, and your air conditioner will work harder than at any other time during the year.  Your monthly utility bills may also soar along with the temperatures.

Here at Metro Energy Savers, we’re committed to helping homeowners keep cool and control their energy costs, no matter how high the mercury climbs.  Here are a few things you can do to help you survive the dog days.

Check your air filter every 30 – 90 days and clean or replace it to ensure proper air flow to your air conditioning system.  If you have indoor pets, it’s a good idea to inspect your air filter monthly.

Set your system fan to the “on” position instead of the “auto” setting. Doing this will make the indoor fan run continuously. The continually moving air will help keep you cooler, and your outside unit (the condenser) will still switch on and off as needed. It will also help you maintain a more even temperature throughout your home, especially if you live in a multi-level structure. It will also keep your condenser from cycling as much, which will reduce your energy usage and save you money.

Inspect the outside condenser coil annually and, if necessary, wash it down with a garden hose and remove any vegetation that might be impeding air flow to the unit.  This can cause your condenser to heat up which will cause it to be less effective and efficient.

Locate the small (usually 3/8” O/D) copper tubing running from your home to the condenser and carefully check to see if it feels hot.  If so, the unit could be low on refrigerant or the condenser coil could need cleaning.

If your home has certain rooms that get warmer than others, partially close the vent registers in the cooler rooms, but do not close them all the way as this can interfere with the static air pressure of your system, causing it to be less efficient.

Make sure that all interior doors in your home have at least a 3/4” gap between the bottom of the door and the floor when the doors are closed.  This gap allows your air conditioning system’s air return duct to draw warm air from closed rooms and helps to keep your entire home more comfortable.

Never turn your air conditioning system off when leaving your home for extended periods of time. Instead, raise the thermostat by five to ten degrees while you’re away and lower it when you return. The amount of energy used will be less than would be used to make your home comfortable after going completely without air conditioning for an extended period of time.

If your air conditioning system is leaking Freon, you should never have to add it.  If continually having to add Freon to your system, contact a heating and air conditioning repair company and have your system professionally inspected and repaired. If left unattended, a Freon leak can cause serious damage to your air conditioning system, not to mention the environmental hazard it presents.

If you turn you’re A/C system off, wait at least three to five minutes before turning it back on. Not waiting can cause the compressor to short-cycle, which can result in blown fuses, tripped breakers and even serious damage to the compressor itself. Most programmable thermostats are equipped with built-in time delay to prevent these problems from occurring.

We hope you found this information helpful.  If so, please share it.

Do you have additional tips on keeping your home cool while controlling your utility costs?  If so, we’d love to hear them. Please leave a comment below.

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How to Survive the Dog Days of Summer by Metro Energy Savers is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://www.metroenergysavers.com/blog/.