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Tips help get the most out of your air conditioner

Statement issued Monday:

Warsaw, Indiana – The weather forecasters say it’s going to be hot this week – extremely hot. So how can you help your air conditioning unit keep you cool? Here are some tips from Kosciusko REMC Energy Advisor Carol Ousley:

1. Be reasonable in your expectations. In Indiana, the summer design temperature for cooling equipment is about 90 degrees. That means when it’s that temperature outside, your air conditioning unit is going to be running full tilt to keep your house cool. At temperatures higher than 90 degrees, your house may get a little bit warmer than what you’d really like. Keep in mind that your unit is “giving it all she’s got,” and is working extra hard to keep your home cool.

2. Do NOT crank the thermostat down. Leave your thermostat set where you normally have it during the summer. Moving the dial from 76° to 72° will not change the temperature of the air coming out of the registers. It instead makes the unit run longer to reach the desired temperature. But, if your unit is already running full-time to keep the house at 76°, moving the dial down will not make the house any cooler.

3. It may not be the equipment’s fault. Leaky ductwork, poor insulation levels and air leaks in your home’s envelope all contribute to comfort issues. We tend to notice these issues more during times of extreme summer heat. Find the areas in your home that are particularly uncomfortable this week and determine if there are air leaks in that vicinity. There are ways these problem areas can be fixed when the weather cools down, and many of the improvements can be made at relatively low cost.

4. Is your air filter clean? Take a look at your air filter. Change it or clean it if you even THINK it’s dirty. A dirty filter will slow air flow and make your a/c unit work harder than it needs to. That costs you extra money and you won’t be as cool.

5. Close your curtains, shades or blinds. Keeping the sunshine out will help keep your rooms as cool as possible. If you like to have light in your rooms, then close the curtains on the east side of your home in the morning and on the west side in the afternoon. If you have south facing windows you may want to keep them closed all day to help keep the heat down in those rooms.

6. Do not block air supply registers or returns. The key to comfort in your home is to keep the air flowing. Move furniture around, if necessary, so that you are not blocking any supply or return registers.

7. Use ceiling fans and/or box fans. Even warm air feels cooler if it’s moving. Set ceiling fans so that they blow the air down on you, and use box fans or table fans in rooms to help keep the air moving. Be sure to turn off fans in rooms when you’re not in there. Fans don’t cool the air, they just move the air. If no one is in the room to feel the air movement, turn off the fan.

8. Check the outdoor unit. Be sure the exterior portion of your a/c unit is free of grass clippings, leaves, and pet hair. If the fins are plugged up, carefully brush them off. You can also carefully wash them with your garden hose. Having the fins clear allows the air to flow better and helps the a/c unit dissipate the heat it is pulling from your house.

And probably the best advice is the hardest – be patient. Getting upset just makes you warmer! Wear cool clothes, drink lots of water, and take it easy. Check on your senior neighbors to make sure they are safe, and remember – be sure to give outdoor pets LOTS of water and shade.

Kosciusko REMC is a Touchstone Energy® electric cooperative serving over 17,000 customers throughout Kosciusko County and into surrounding counties.

Check current conditions

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