A summer heat wave can send your air conditioner unit into overdrive, especially during record-breaking temperatures. The extra stress on your unit as it struggles to keep your house cool can lead to a breakdown at the most inopportune time. This guide will help you avoid the most common causes of a breakdown during a heat wave.
#1: Change Filters Frequently
Dirty filters can cause your unit to overwork, especially if it's running more often due to high temperatures. It's usually recommended to check the filters monthly during the summer cooling season, but you may want to check them every two weeks during heat waves. Hot weather often leads to a more frequently cycling unit, plus high temperatures often mean more dust in the air. These two things together can lead to the need for more frequent filter changes.
#2: Avoid Overworking the Unit
Higher outdoor temperatures naturally means your AC will need to run more frequently to keep your house cool. You don't need to add to the load, though. This means making sure doors and windows are closed promptly. Don't forget to check bedrooms--it's not unheard of for a kid to open up a window and forget about it! You may also want to set the temperature a bit higher on your AC, especially if you notice the unit is running almost continuously. You likely won't notice a few degrees, but your energy bill will be lower and your air conditioner won't be working as hard to cool to a slightly higher temperature.
#3: Keep the Coils Clean
The outdoor coils in your main AC unit can become a magnet for leaves, dirt, and dust. Your AC will not cool as well if the coils are dirty or clogged with this debris. Dirty coils interfere with airflow, so they can also cause your AC to freeze up or break down during a heat wave. To clean the coils, turn off the unit. Then, remove the outer cover of the main unit and vacuum out any debris. You can straighten the metal fins on the coil with a fin comb, too, which will aid airflow. Then reassemble everything and turn the unit back on.
If you are still experiencing AC problems, contact a local AC contractor such as Streamline Services, Inc. for help. You may also want to consider scheduling a preventative maintenance visit each spring so you won't be caught without cool air when the heat hits.