Tony Oakman, the owner of Lee’s Heating and Air, has a few tips to help ensure your system is operating efficiently.
Follow the 5-degree rule
An air conditioner or furnace that has to bring the temperature up or down by more than 5 degrees is receiving undue stress that could shorten its lifespan. “In either summer or winter, your thermostat’s highest and lowest settings should never be more than 5 degrees apart,” says Oakman. “So for example, if your thermostat has a low setting of 78 degrees in the summer, you should never raise it to more than 83 degrees. Likewise, if you set your thermostat at 70 degrees in the winter, you should never lower it to anything less than 65.”
Oakman suggests installing a programmable thermostat that automatically adjusts the temperature whether you’re home or away. Even if you take a trip, you should maintain the 5-degree rule. “If your home gets too cold in the winter, you risk having pipes freeze. And if it gets too hot in the summer, you could damage furniture, wooden floors, artwork and houseplants,” says Oakman. “In either case, that’s potentially thousands of dollars of damage.”
Have your AC and heating system checked routinely
Just as a car requires periodic tune-ups and maintenance to run well, AC and heating systems must be checked periodically in order to ensure peak performance. Oakman says, “A responsible car owner wouldn’t drive a car forever without, for example, changing the oil or getting a tune-up. Yet many people never have their heating and air conditioning systems checked.”
Oakman notes that heating and air conditioning systems checked less than once a year are likely not performing as well as they could, and may be working at as low as 65 percent of their peak efficiency. “Basically, if you don’t have regular maintenance on your furnace and AC, you’re shortening the life of these systems and risking the potential of having major, and expensive, problems down the road,” says Oakman.
Change your furnace filter at least once a month
Clean furnace filters directly affect the performance of an air conditioning system, and should be changed regularly. “Most people don’t know that the fan on their furnace also drives the cold air from their air conditioning system,” says Oakman. “So, when you have Lee’s Heating and Air come check your air conditioning system, we’re also checking a part of your furnace.”
To help ensure that your air conditioning is operating at its best, it’s important that you check your furnace filters on a regular basis. During the summer when air conditioning systems work the hardest, even changing your filter once a month may not be enough. When replacing a filter, it is important to make sure you install it correctly. Check the edges of your new filter for a printed arrow. That arrow should be facing toward the furnace, not away, when the filter is inserted. Some filters don’t have an arrow at all. What do you do then? You insert the filter so the side with the wires is facing the furnace.
Keep the outdoor AC unit area clean and plant-free
If your unit is excessively dirty or surrounded by weeds or plants, it can’t operate efficiently. Pull weeds and cut back plants that grow too close. You can also clean the exterior of your air conditioning yourself by following these simple steps:
1. Turn off the power to the system (Many systems have on/off levers).
2. Use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner to remove lint, cotton, grass and leaves.
3. Use water to wash off any remaining dust and debris caught between the metal fins of the system (Don’t use a high pressure nozzle, and spray the water from the top of the unit down by pointing your water source at an angle because the metal fins can be easily bent).
4. After spraying the unit with water, allow 15 minutes to dry before you turn the power back on.
“Most people don’t think about their air conditioner or furnace until they break down or need replacing,” says Oakman. “But with just a bit of attention and assistance from professionals like us at Lee’s Heating and Air, their system could easily run smoother, last longer and actually save money.”
If anyone has questions they’d like answered, go Lee’s website at leesheatac.com and click on the “Ask Betty” tab. Betty is Oakman’s wife. If you can’t find what you’re looking for there, you can submit a question online, and Lee’s will get right back to you. Of course, you can always call Lee’s Heating and Air at 801-747-LEES.
For more information on how to save money on utility bills or improve your air conditioning system, visit Lee’s Heating and Air online at www.leesheatac.com or call 801-747-LEES. And just for Studio 5 viewers, right now Oakman is offering a special $69 air conditioning system tune-up and a free Fat Boy ice cream gift certificate. The free Fat Boy ice cream gift certificate is only available today if you call for the $69 air conditioning system tune-up.