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Using your air conditioner: what to do and what not to do

Last modified: 2021-06-01 | Approximate reading time 4 mins

Amanda Harvey

We all know that the yearly heatwave is imminent, as summer heat records continue to soar under the weight of our rising global temperature. For many homeowners, dealing with this means installing an air conditioning system, making sure family and friends have a place to feel calm, cool, and comfortable.

But, using your AC unit incorrectly can lead to a lack of efficiency, effectiveness, and potentially make it unsafe. How do you know what to do and what not to do when it comes to air conditioning?

A poorly installed or maintained system can end up with a whole world of problems and may even affect the health of your loved ones. This article will look at some of the most common mistakes when using an air conditioner, plus the correct ways to live with one of these units.

Using your air conditioner: what to do and what not to do

air conditioner

source: Pinterest (

The AC filter: forgetting to clean or change it

When it comes to a home air conditioner, forgetting to clean or change the filter is one of the most common mistakes. It is crucial to change the filter on your central AC unit at least once every 3 months. If your system is running all the time, we’d recommend somewhere closer to changing the filter once a month. 

Forgetting to change your filter may not seem like a big deal, but we’d argue otherwise. Neglecting this small step can lead to a world of problems, including poor airflow or even the freezing of the unit’s evaporator coil. Poor airflow or a frozen evaporator coil will cause your AC bill to go up as much as 5% to 15%. Not to mention, a dirty filter will also greatly affect the lifespan of the system itself. 

How can you remedy this? Replace or clean your filter. Most AC units will have a removable filter that can simply be washed or wiped off. When it comes to a ductless ''split'' unit, there will be a removable panel that allows you to wipe off the filter without removing it. Since this step is not so complicated, make sure you’re completing it in the timeframe we mentioned.

The system: having your AC unit annually serviced 

Another common mistake with air conditioning units is not having them serviced each year. Many homeowners believe this to be an unnecessary step, and we’d argue otherwise. The coil and fins inside your AC unit need to be cleaned each year so that it runs as smoothly as possible. Much like forgetting to change the filter, not servicing your AC until will lead to the system not running properly which can cause an eventual breakdown as well as higher utility bills.

So, what should you do? You can service your unit by looking up video tutorials online and carefully following instructions. If you don’t feel confident about your skills, we’d recommend getting in touch with a professional who can perform these maintenance tasks for you. Having a clean, properly functioning AC unit will assist in its longevity and keep these energy bills down.

air conditioner

source: Pinterest (

Programmable thermostat: do you have one?

Older air conditioning units may not come equipped with a programmable thermostat. For a small minority of homeowners, this could be fine as long as you’re able to remember to adjust your thermostat every time you leave the house.

For the rest of us, a programmable thermostat is essential for saving a large chunk of money on your annual utility bills. They work by automatically changing the temperature when necessary, raising it when you’re out or away, and lowering it when you and your loved ones are trying to cool off. Not to mention, within our current technological landscape, it shouldn’t be surprising that many contemporary models can be controlled by your smartphone.

So, do you have a programmable thermostat? If not, we’d suggest updating your unit to install one that does. Get in touch with a professional for the installation itself. It may cost a few dollars upfront, but we assure you it’ll lead to savings in the long run.

Your AC unit and thermostat: are you using them correctly?

The placement and settings on your thermostat make a huge difference when it comes to how your AC unit is functioning. Firstly, if your thermostat sits in a place inside your home that attracts the full sun, it could cause your AC unit to believe your home is hotter than it is and up its usage. Your system may be working harder than it needs to as a result of the placement. Also worth mentioning is that AC vents around your home need to be uncovered by furniture or other household items so cool air can flow freely. 

Examine the placement of these things and make sure to move them if necessary. Again, the job may be annoying initially but in the long run, it’ll pay off.

Another common mistake that homeowners make is setting their thermostats too low. Of course, after a long, hot day outdoors, who doesn’t enjoy coming inside to some freezing cold air? However, setting your thermostat too low is bad for both the human body as well as the environment. 

Instead, consider keeping your thermostat somewhere in the ’70s and buckle down through a period of adjustment. 

air conditioner

source: ac wholesalers

Blinds and curtains: do you have them?

Lastly, let’s discuss blinds and curtains and if you’re using them. Employing blinds and curtains to block out the bright sun will offer your air conditioning unit some relief, as these can help to dampen the heat that accumulates inside your home.

If you’re not already aware of this, and not yet using blinds and curtains, then we’d suggest taking a trip down to your local homeware or fabric store and picking some up or even making some yourself. This could be a fun weekend DIY project or an excuse to update your interior decor.

If you're looking for even more information about air conditioners, check out our in-depth article: Everything you need to know about air conditioning.

Get 3 renovation quotes for your air conditioner renovation project can help you get quotes for your air conditioning renovation project. If you submit your project to us, we’ll put you in contact with 3 qualified professionals. Fill in the form on our homepage (it only takes a few minutes), and you will receive quotes from trusted roofing specialists.

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