Having a new air conditioner installed is so exciting. After years of suffering through sky-high energy bills and uneven cooling with an old and outdated air conditioner, now you get to enjoy the energy-efficiency and comfort everyone else has been talking about. But installing a new air conditioner is really just the beginning. There are still some best practices you should follow in order to get the most out of your new AC unit.
Sign a repairs contract.
Your new air conditioner should not need repairs any time soon, but it is likely to need repairs at some point in the future. Contact the HVAC company that installed the unit, and ask whether they offer repairs contract. Under such a contract, you will pay a small monthly fee, and if you ever need air conditioning repair, they will then either be free or very cheap. Signing up for such a contract helps ensure that you make repairs early on rather than waiting for the problem to get worse, which will ultimately extend the life of your new air conditioner.
Keep an eye on the operation.
A brand new air conditioner should work just fine. But occasionally, mistakes are made during installation or manufacturing that cause the unit to begin malfunctioning within weeks of installation. If you notice any weird noises or smells, do not assume they are normal. Have your HVAC installer come back and look the unit over. If there are issues, rest assured that they will be covered under warranty.
Keep the thermostat setting within reason.
The temptation to turn the temperature way down and see what your new air conditioner is capable of might be overwhelming, but doing so will just drive up your energy bills. Even though your new AC is efficient, cooling a home to 68, 66, or some other unreasonably cold temperature will force it to work hard and consume a lot of electricity. The Department of Energy recommends keeping your thermostat at 78 degrees for the perfect balance between efficiency and comfort in the summer. If this is a bit too warm, you can go down to 76 or 74, but any lower than that is just a waste. Use your programmable thermostat to bring the temperature up another 10 degrees when you are not home; this saves boundless energy, even with a new air conditioner.
Change your air filters.
Even your new air conditioner won't operate efficiently if you do not keep changing the air filter every one to three months. A blocked air filter is tough for the fan to blow air through. Plus, once the air filter gets dirty, dirt starts accumulating in the ducts and on the air conditioner itself. It's harder for the air conditioner to exchange heat across a layer of dust, so it will utilize more energy to do so. Buy a stack of filters and remember to change them. This is a good chore to assign to a teenage son or daughter, if you have one!
Keep doors between upstairs and downstairs closed.
Hot air rises. That principle rings true in any home, regardless of how old the AC unit is or how the ducts are laid out. To minimize the burden on your air conditioner and ensure it lasts, try closing any doors between the upstairs and downstairs of your home. This will keep more of the cool air trapped upstairs, so your air conditioner does not have to kick on as often to keep the upstairs a decent temperature. If you have a basement, keep the door to the basement closed, too.
Clear space in front of the vents.
Take a few minutes to check that all furniture and other items have been moved away from your air vents and air returns. This will allow for maximum airflow through the ducts, which reduces pressure on your new air conditioner's fan, which in turn allows the air conditioner to work more efficiently.
Having a new air conditioner is really exciting, but what's even more exciting is taking care of it so it lasts you for years. With the tips above in hand, you're set for success.