The weather in Central Texas is excellent right now but it won’t be long until we’re all saying “I can’t believe it is so HOT”. Cooling homes in Texas account for nearly half of a home’s energy usage so making sure your system is in good working order can save you a lot of money. So get ready for the heat with these simple DIY tips.
1. Change the Filters
This is probably the easiest thing to do. With the mild Texas winter, you may not have needed to run your furnace much but odds are your filter still could stand to be replaced. For most central air systems, the filter is usually located behind a metal panel on the face of the blower unit. Unscrew the metal panel, remove the old filter, and install the new one. Regularly swapping out filters will make sure that your AC isn’t working harder than it needs to.
2. Clean the Condensation Lines
Your AC system has a pipe leading from the indoor unit outside to remove condensation created during the cooling process. If this pipe gets blocked up your system may start to “leak” into your home as the water builds up. To check if your condensation line needs clearing run the system for a minute and make sure that the exterior pipe has water dripping from it. To clean this pipe you can use an algaecide (found at Swimming pool supply stores) to break down build up or use a long, sturdy, serrated strip of plastic to pull out any clogs
3. Install a Programmable Thermostat
If you don’t already have one, you can gain significant energy savings by installing a programmable thermostat and setting it to reduce the use of air conditioning or heat at times when you don’t need it, like when you’re away for work. Fortunately, they’re pretty easy to install yourself and require only a couple of tools.
4. Clean the Coils, Fins, and Evaporator on the Outside Unit
The unit outside gathers dust, pollen, and other debris when exposed to the elements. To operate at maximum efficiency take a garden hose and use it to spray down the exterior of the unit. If your system is very dirty you can also find commercial AC cleaner at most hardware stores.
5. Check the Ductwork For Leaks
Most of the inefficiency in an AC unit happens in the pipes and tubes that deliver cool air throughout your home. Before the attic gets to hot head up into the attic with your system running and checks for leaks. If you find leaks, seal them with tape carrying an Underwriters Laboratories logo since rubber and cloth backed tapes break down over time.
6. Consider Adding Insulation to Attic
While you are in the Attic checking for leaks measure the depth of your insulation. In Central Texas attics should have an insulation level between R30 – R60, roughly 12″-15″ depending on the type of insulation. If you find that you are lacking in any area you can easily install more directly on top of the existing insulation. Insulation is a great investment for more than just energy savings, it is also one of the top return on investment improvements you can make to a home.