August is officially “Late Summer,” even though the season doesn’t official stop until the end of September and the heat in Southern California will continue for a bit after that. But as far as an air conditioner is concerned, it’s late in the season if it’s already built up quite a bit of wear and tear from a few months of steady work. In our desert climate, any home AC puts in a tremendous amount of labor starting in May, so by August the system might either face trouble with malfunctions or start to run inefficiently and raise electrical costs.
We have a few tips for helping your air conditioner during the dog days of summer. When you need the assistance of professionals for repairs or other air conditioning services in Cathedral City, CA, we are here 24 hours a day.
Keep up with air filter changes
Don’t get complacent about changing the air filter in your HVAC system on a regular basis simply because it’s the end of the summer. The air filter needs to be changed every 1 to 3 months (the stronger the filter, the less frequently it needs to be changed), and if you haven’t changed the filter yet this summer, it almost certainly needs to be done now. A clean filter means keeping bills under control and helping to prevent extra strain on motors that can lead to breakdowns and tripped circuit breakers.
Clean up the area around the exterior cabinet
Have you taken a look at the outside cabinet of the AC recently? If there are branches and leaves gathering around it, they can restrict the proper heat release from the unit, which will cause its efficiency to drop. Rocks and pebbles also create the potential for damage to components if they get inside the cabinet. Keep the area around the cabinet clear for at least a foot, and you may also want to wash down to the cabinet exterior.
Check on the thermostat
Proper thermostat control is a key part of controlling your air conditioning bills. (We recommend aiming for a setting of 78°F.) If the thermostat isn’t working properly, however, then it doesn’t matter how it’s set: the AC will operate at the wrong times and waste power. Make sure the thermostat has fresh batteries and check on the programming to see if the air conditioner is responding properly to it. If it isn’t, you may either need to repair/replace the thermostat or have the air conditioning system repaired. (It’s often difficult to tell when the thermostat or the AC is the source of a problem, so let HVAC technicians do the diagnosis.)
Never delay with repairs
Remember that the longer you wait to arrange to repair your AC when a problem crops up, the more expensive the eventual repair will be. You’ll also put the system at a higher risk of a major failure—usually when you need the air conditioner the most.
If you think your cooling costs are too high, we’ve also written up some tips for helping to lower them. Keep in mind that even though it’s late in the summer, you should never put off arranging for a complete air conditioning replacement if that’s the best way forward. After all, sudden heat waves can strike almost any time in the California deserts.
Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning offers air conditioning services throughout the Inland Empire and the Desert Communities.