Your AC works its hardest during hot summer days, so is it running as it should be? A quick check and a couple of tips are all you need to save money on energy, and ensure your home is as comfortable as possible on a sweltering afternoon. Here’s a quick guide to performing your own mini-inspection.

Check the Temperature Differential
The first thing you should do to make sure your AC is running is to check the temperature differential. When the temperatures rise outside, your thermostat should be set below room temperature. Allow your thermostat to run for a significant amount of time to reach the desired temperature.

Use a refrigerator thermostat and place it in one of your AC’s air ducts. Leave it there for 10 minutes and check its temperature. Test the temperature inside your AC’s return air duct as well. Subtract the first reading from the second. If the difference is less than 14 degrees, then your AC is running at optimum performance.

Check Your House Insulation
Your AC performance could be just fine, but that doesn’t mean it’s working efficiently. If you don’t have great insulation in your walls and ceiling, your AC could be working overtime to keep your home cool and comfortable. Poor insulation can lead to further problems such as air leakage and higher energy costs. You don’t spend money to air condition the outdoors.

Keep Your Home Shady
During the summer months, you want to keep your home as cool and shady as possible. Letting too much sun and heat into your home can be lead to an overworked AC system. Keep your energy costs and the heat low by considering some of the following options:

• Installing awnings on the exterior of your home.

• Planting trees around your home.

• Installing blinds or solar shade screens on your windows.

• Buying blackout curtains and closing them during warm afternoons.

Maintain the Air Conditioner’s Filters
Every time you replace or clean the filters, you increase your AC performance by 5 to 15 percent. Your filters should be cleaned or replaced regularly, as followed by your manufacturer’s instructions. This will prevent any issues with your HVAC system.

When dirt and debris clog your filter, air doesn’t flow through easily. This makes your AC unit work even harder. When air flows through a dirty filter, it can cause your evaporator coils inability to absorb heat. Plus, it can release that dirt and debris into your home, around your pets and children.

Inspect the Duct Work
If your AC is not running at peak performance, it will need maintenance. A normal AC blows cool air through all of the air ducts in your home. But if one of those ducts has a leak, it will cool the parts of your home where it’s not needed which is why maintenance is crucial every three to five years. Have a professional inspect your ductwork regularly to ensure the quality of your air conditioner. Not inspecting your ductwork can cause serious problems with your HVAC system.
Weatherize Your Home

You don’t want the cool air to escape your home to the inside of your walls or to your backyard. You also don’t want that cool air to escape through wall cracks, electrical outlets, and wall panes. Hire a professional to perform a complete home energy audit to learn about how you can keep the cool air in the right places.

Use a programmable thermostat to cool your home at the right time of the day. Adjust your fan settings to auto to save energy and allow the fan run during cooling cycles only.

Keeping your home cool and comfortable is easy. If you have questions about the performance of your central air conditioner or about buying a new cooling system, contact a professional today for more information. A qualified professional can help you with your AC woes and HVAC system, if necessary.