Get ready, it’s almost that time of year – that time when your HVAC system begins to be pushed to its limit on an almost daily basis.
Yes, we all welcome the warmth and sunshine of the summer months, but those soaring temperatures, combined with high humidity, means that your air conditioner may be working overtime to ensure your around-the-clock comfort.
And if there is a time of year that you can expect your AC to give out, it will be over the three-month stretch that encompasses June-August. Why? Just look at the numbers.
In May temperatures begin warming nicely throughout north Georgia and Atlanta. In fact, we average 80 degrees for a high in May (60 for a low), and while that is guaranteed to kick on your air conditioner at some points during the day, it will not have to work long or hard to keep you cool. Once we hit June, however, heat begins to accelerate, averaging 87 for a high and 67 for a low. And once July and August come into view, your HVAC will be tested almost every day, as averages raise to almost 90 degrees (89/71 for high/low in July and 88/70 in August). In July alone, you can expect 13 days above 90-degree temperatures (on average) and 11 more in August – even June averages nine days above 90 degrees.
If your air conditioner is not in great working shape, those summer months will push it to the limit each day, beginning about 2 p.m., as temperatures hit their peak and stay sweltering (on average) till 8 p.m.
And that’s not even talking the humidity into account. Let’s not forget that your HVAC system is also working to remove excess moisture from the air, and that moisture increases throughout the summer days, topping out (again) in July.
It is important to understand just what your HVAC is up against in the coming months. And it is also important to understand that, if your air conditioner is not up to the challenge and gives out, you could be fighting to get in a long waiting line for the first available repair technician.
HVAC contractors in our region always note that the summer months are their busiest, with winter coming in second – as your heating is taxed almost as much as your air conditioner is during the summer months. And if your air conditioner is more than 15 years old, the hotter weather could begin to give it fits. Most AC units will last 20 years, but older units require a little more attention as they age. And you should be hyper-aware of their condition prior to hotter days kicking off.
So, how do you avoid that awful sensation of needing an AC repairman, knowing that the forecast is calling for 93 degrees and 90 percent humidity? There are several answers that can help shield you and prepare your system for the coming trials.
- When was the last time your AC was fully serviced? Ideally, you should fully service your air conditioner every spring as it prepares to be used heavily. That includes a full checklist, such as freon levels, condition of belts and fan motors, as well as electrical wiring all in good condition. Ideally, you should have a professional HVAC technician accomplish this task. However, there are also several simple steps you can take to help increase the efficiency of your HVAC system and give it a helping hand during the heat of summer. If you have not had your unit serviced yet this spring, please call a professional and get on the schedule to have it done now. Or, if you will do it yourself, do not wait, go ahead and get it done.
- Change your air conditioner filter. Optimally, you should replace your air conditioner filter every 4-6 weeks, especially during the months of heaviest use. A dirty filter reduces air quality and drains the efficiency of airflow. It also forces your AC to work harder.
- Keep the furnace fan on. Remember, keeping the air flowing, keeps you cooler. With that in mind, your thermostats likely allows you to manually turn the fan on that blows air through your home. This will continually circulate and more evenly distribute the cooler air from your basement or ground floor and may allow your unit to not have to work as hard in colling your home.
- Set your thermostat wisely. If you have a programmable thermostat, we suggest you maintain 75 degrees (perhaps 1-2 degrees difference in either direction) for the hours when you will be inside your home. The warmer the setting, the less energy you’ll be using and thus being more efficient – and the less it will have to work. When you’re not home, however, set it for 80 degrees (perhaps 1-2 degrees difference in either direction). At night, when you’re sleeping, set it for cooler temperatures than 75. You will sleep better, and the air conditioner will not have to work as hard overnight. Experiment with the temperature that works best for you. Understand that, even if these temperatures feel warmer than what you’re used to, your body will adjust, allowing you to be comfortable after a week or two.
- Do you have a smart thermostat?. If you do not have a newer “smart” thermostat, perhaps it is time for you to look into having one installed. These marvels of modern technology allow you to more efficiently and effectively cool your home – and you can do so from anywhere, so long as you have your phone or a tablet handy. These tools of home comfort can extend the life of your air conditioner by keeping it from working when it does not need to.
- Do you have a service contract? Many HVAC contractors offer service contracts that allow for you to receive priority service (sometimes for free or at reduced rates), no matter the time of day or situation. And these can be worth their weight in gold (or cold) if your air conditioner conks out on a Friday afternoon or during a holiday weekend.
If you follow these steps, you will give yourself more than a fighting chance of getting through countless north Georgia summers without fear of suffering through our blistering heat waves.
However, if you are unsure of the answers to all or some of these questions, the best thing you can do to is to go ahead and call a professional technician to come out and have a look at your air conditioner. And do it now before the real heat gets here.
Conditioned Air Systems has been keeping north Georgians cool for over four decades, handling homes and businesses of all sizes. Our highly trained and experienced technicians are prepared to tackle any challenge and ensure that you are set for a comfortable summer. And, should the worst happen, we also offer 24-hour emergency repair services, in order to get you back to full comfort as soon as possible.
Do not get left sweating and swearing your way through the summer and a broken air conditioner, contact Conditioned Air Systems today, and let us make sure you are set for whatever temperatures are in our near future. Call Conditioned Air at 770-536-7509.