TULSA - While Tulsa's still experiencing some chilly weather this Spring, experts say now's the time to take action and prepare your home's air conditioning system for the summer heat.
Mike Rampey, owner of Air Assurance, says the majority of service calls they get during heat waves come from people who don't take that precaution.
"They need to get their Freon levels checked, make sure their coils are clean, and just that all motors are running at peak capacity, and that way they can do the best they can to prevent some of the breakdowns we see when it's 100 degrees outside," he told KRMG.
He says a professional needs to do the work.
"He'll get it cleaned up and he'll check the Freon levels, and check to make sure that your air flow's proper inside the house, and the filters are changed."
He recommends letting a professional clean the coils as well.
"You're dealing with high voltage equipment out there, and so just spraying water, if you don't know what you're doing you could get electrocuted."
The Air Assurance website also offers these tips for maximizing energy efficiency when running your air conditioner:
- Raise your thermostat setting a few degrees. When used consistently, it is estimated that raising your thermostat up 5º F can save 15%-20% of your cooling energy and cost for the season.
- Consider replacing your thermostat with a programmable thermostat that can be programmed to raise the temperature slightly when the house is unoccupied or at night.
- Check the fireplace damper. An open damper will pull cooled air right up the chimney.
- Regularly replace your air conditioning filters as often as the manufacturer recommends – usually once each month. If you keep forgetting, ask your contractor about an extended surface whole-house filter that only needs to be replaced once a year.
- Have your duct system tested for air leaks. The typical duct system loses up to 40% of the energy used by a central heat pump or air conditioner. Older systems may require replacing dried out duct tape with a fiber-reinforced elastomeric sealant that is brushed onto joints.
- Have insulation levels checked. If deficient, add more insulation.
- Find out how “leaky” your house really is. Ask your contractor for an Infiltrometer test to pinpoint significant air leaks which may be duct leaks, but can also be hot air drawn from the attic through recessed can lights or seeping in from leaky windows or stairway. Having your house “weatherized” can save you big money.
- Have your AC unit cleaned and tuned – pre-season. This reduces the change of a mid-summer breakdown and pays for itself in energy savings. Make sure the contractor cleans the coils and checks the refrigerant charge.
- Discuss the possibility of “Zoning” your air conditioning system with your contractor. This will prevent cooling areas that are not in use and adjusting temperatures to meet needs.
- Consider replacing a unit that is 10-12 years old – before it breaks down. New systems are generally more energy efficient, which can save you money in the long run. Make sure the replacement system is properly sized for the area it will cool and that your duct system is free of leaks.