Bad Habits That are Ruining Your AC

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The air conditioning system is one of the most expensive parts of the home to repair and replace. That said, you definitely don’t want to say goodbye to your AC prematurely, much less have it break down in the middle of summer when you need it the most.

To keep your air conditioner in good working order for as long as possible (and avoid sudden breakdowns in the hottest times of the year), here are the bad AC habits that you should break ASAP:

1. Turning off the AC completely when you leave

It makes sense to turn off the air conditioner when you leave the house, but in some cases, it’s better to leave it on unless if you’re leaving for more than a day. Otherwise, if you’re only leaving for an appointment or errands, leaving the air conditioner on prevents the home from heating up while you’re gone. When you turn off the AC before leaving and the house heats up, it will take a longer time for your system to cool down the house again, which means it has to work harder and consume more energy.

Instead of turning off your AC, raise the temperature by 5-10F before leaving the house. Better yet, use a programmable thermostat to do this for you automatically.

2. Neglecting regular preventive maintenance

At the very least, have an experienced HVAC technician inspect your unit once a year, ideally before the summer months roll in. Regular inspections and preventive maintenance are imperative to making small repairs so that they don’t become bigger problems, which helps to keep your AC running smoothly for as long as possible.

3. Not changing the air filters

Air filters gather dust and all sorts of debris over time. Neglecting to change them regularly will not only reduce the efficiency of your unit, but it’s also an easy way to decrease the indoor air quality of your home.

Make it a point to change your air filters at least once every 90 days. If you have a dog or cat, you may have to change your filters every 30 to 60 days, depending on your unit and the amount of fur that your pet sheds.

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4. Obstructing airflo

This is another easy way to ruin the efficiency of your air conditioner, which may increase wear and tear over time and shorten the lifespan of your unit. That said, avoid closing your vents/registers or blocking them with an object.

5. “Blasting the AC”

Most people have a habit of turning down the AC all the way at once, thinking that it’s going to make their house cool faster. However, what this does is make your AC run even longer to cool the air, which not only consumes more energy but also wears down your unit faster.

In the hot summer months, it can be tempting to “blast the AC” to fight off the sweltering heat. But if you don’t want to inadvertently ruin your air conditioning, program the thermostat to turn on the AC before you arrive home so that your house is at a comfortable temperature when you walk through the door. If you have a smart thermostat, that’s even better, since you can adjust the temperature to your liking while on the way home.

6. Constantly running your air conditioner

Air conditioners, like many other appliances, are not made to run 24/7. Running your air conditioner to the ground is a surefire way to have it die on you prematurely. Hence, it is crucial to give your unit regular breaks. When you’re leaving home for the whole day, turn off the AC to let it rest while you’re at work or school. Better yet, use a programmable thermostat to turn your AC off when you’re usually out of the house.

7. Changing the temperature over and over again

Changing the temperature constantly forces your air conditioner to work harder than it needs to, increasing wear and tear on the system as well as its energy consumption. That said, avoid adjusting the thermostat over and over again. If you’ve already lowered the temperature and it is still too warm, wait half an hour or so before changing the temperature again. Better yet, just don’t touch the thermostat and find other ways to cool yourself off.

Are you guilty of these bad AC habits? If you do just one of these things on a regular basis, you could unknowingly be damaging your air conditioner, and thus increasing the chances of an AC repair down the road. Don’t wait for your unit to fail on you; kick these habits before they bury your air conditioner in the ground.

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