Ways to get the most from your air conditioner

While expensive to run, window air conditioners are the perfect cool down solution on how days. Here's how to get the most out of yours:

Ways to get the most from your air conditioner

Pick the perfect place

  • For best results, install the unit as close as possible to the area where it'll do the most good.
  • If you must choose one room to cool, your best choice might be a bedroom.
  • Most window air conditioners are designed to be installed in standard double-hung windows.
  • You can also find models that will fit in casement windows.

Pick the window or the wall

  • If no window is available where you want the air conditioner installed, look for a unit that can be installed in a wall.
  • The installation is considerably more complex because a carpenter must cut through the wall and frame a suitable opening.
  • This may be only a day's work on a frame house, but it'll be much more involved and expensive on a masonry house.
  • A wall installation gives you the chance to put the air conditioner on a less conspicuous side of the house, and it won't cut down on window views.

Maximize the chill factor

If your air conditioner runs continuously and you're still not comfortable, it may be too small for the room or needs replaced. But before you do, try some simple troubleshooting:

  • Make sure nothing is in front of the unit.
  • Check that the louvres are open and properly directed.
  • Seal any gaps around the air conditioner.
  • Clean or replace the filter and clean the coils.
  • Don't use an extension cord longer than recommended and make sure it's a heavy-duty, three-wire cord.
  • Block out any direct sunlight and, if necessary, better insulate the walls.
  • If, after 10 minutes of running, much of the upper evaporator coil is less cold than the bottom, try adding additional refrigerant. Call a certified air conditioning service specialist to see if this can be done for your model.
  • If the unit is only a few years old and has lost a significant amount of refrigerant, then it probably has a leak and should be repaired or replaced.
  • If the unit won't turn on, first check to see if the circuit breaker is tripped or the fuse is blown. Unplug and inspect the cord and plug for damage. If it still won't turn on, call for service.

Keep it clean

Your air conditioner will need a good cleaning every month to help it run at maximum efficiency. Here's how to clean it:

  1. To reach the filter, turn off the unit and remove the unit's front grill, usually held in place by spring clips or hidden tabs along its top edge.
  2. Wash a foam or metal filter in soapy water and let it dry.
  3. Replace a disposable filter with the same type.
  4. While the filter is removed, vacuum the evaporator coil and fins located just behind the filter.
  5. At the beginning of each cooling season, unplug the unit and, with a helper, carefully slide the air conditioner out of its casing onto a strong support such as a table.
  6. Vacuum the inside of the unit, paying special attention to the denser coil at the rear.

Air conditioners can make even the hottest days much more comfortable. With these tips, you can now find the right unit for your home, and keep it running at maximum efficiency.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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