Quick Tips To Improve Summer Air Conditioning Efficiency—Other Than Changing Your Filters

If the summer months are fast approaching, you will soon rely on your home's central air conditioner to make your indoor life more comfortable. But it's important to make sure your unit will run efficiently when the first heat wave strikes so that you can have the temperature you desire without running up the electric bill.

Here are a few quick air conditioning repair and maintenance tips that will have your unit working to its best potential.

Clean the Condensing Unit

The condensing unit is the large part of your system that sits outside your home. It's important to make sure the exterior of the unit is free of dirt and debris before you start running the unit regularly. You will also want to clean off the condenser fan blades.

Start this process by first switching off the power to your unit. There is usually a disconnect box near the unit—check the exterior wall of your house—and that box should have a shutoff switch or fuses you can pull out. If you're not positive that the power is off, head inside and flip off the breaker switch. It's better to be safe than sorry.

Now you can unscrew the top lid of the condensing unit and set it aside somewhere safe. If you look inside, you should see coils lining the interior walls of the unit. Turn a garden hose on a low but steady setting and clean the condensing unit by spraying through those coils from the inside. Meaning, you want to stick your hose inside the unit and point the water out towards you. Note that you do not want that water to shoot into the inside of the unit so spray as carefully as possible. 

Put up the hose and take out a small vacuum with a brush attachment. Use that brush attachment, on a low power setting, to gently clean off the blades of the fan. The blades are fragile so use a gentle hand to not bend the blades.

Change the Blower Fan Motor Speed

The blower fan motor is located inside your home in either the furnace or the air handler, depending on what kind of system you have. The blower motor plays a pivotal roll in cycling the cool and warm air into and out of your home.

The speed setting on the motor determines both whether the motor is working as a furnace or air conditioner and how efficiently the motor is working. Lower speeds correspond to furnace services and higher to air conditioning. 

Here's the trick: you don't want to change this speed yourself unless you have proper HVAC training. Setting the wrong speed could not only make your house warm—it could ruin your entire heating and air conditioning system. Call in a professional once a year to do a general service check and ask the air conditioning repair person to look at the speed during the call.