Illustration for article titled How to Make Your Air Conditioner More Effective and Efficient When Temperatures RisePhoto: JDS (Shutterstock)

As temperatures continue to rise across the country – along with the humidity and our electricity bills – our air conditioners are being trained. However, if your home has central air, there are a few things you can do to get the most out of your device, according to Dave Radziej of the Association of Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Companies, the spoke to WKMSP Fox 9 Minnesota. Here’s what to do.

Make sure the fan is on

Before doing anything else, according to Radziej, you should check your thermostat to make sure the blower fan is on as it helps circulate the cool air and gives your AC device a little break. “Just remember, air is constantly circulating from the basement up to the second floor and back down again.” he told Fox 9. “It’s the most efficient way of using it.”

Check your vents

Next, check your vents to make sure they are pumping air. You can do this by holding a tissue to each inlet and return port.

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Close all vents in the basement

In many cases, you don’t need air conditioning to keep your basement cool, says Radziej, so close all the vents down there. “That gives you more air pressure to get up to the upper floors,” he adds.

Adjust damper

While you’re at it, Radziej recommends adjusting the flaps in the basement to divert the cool air upwards. “If you can’t get enough air upstairs, you can adjust these dampers,” he explains. “This will push air into different areas of your home.”

Check the filters on your air conditioner

On the one hand, if your AC device’s filter is full of dirt, it means that it is doing its job. But leaving it that way will force it to work harder to keep your place cool. “If you let this filter clog, it’s like wrapping a blanket around this coil and the air can’t get through to cool off,” explains Radziej. “So you will be using more energy and more electricity than you need.”

Clean your outdoor unit

Not only should you clean your filter regularly, Radziej says you also need to clean your outdoor air conditioner. That’s because while you’re driving, a lot of dirt and grime is sucked in to draw in air – something else that has to work harder and use more energy.

He recommends cleaning the outdoor units by first turning them off and then hosing them down. “You have to do that a couple of times a year,” he says. “Just spray it out, clean everything as well as possible.”