Angie's List: Air Conditioning

The summer heat has arrived. Is your air conditioning unit ready?

And with the warmth in March, a lot of us had our A/C cranking early.

Whether you had it on in March or May, a well maintained unit is important.

So, now is the time to get it serviced, because if you wait until the dog days of summer, you may end up feeling like a cat on a hot tin roof.

Air conditioning units frequently break down when the weather is the hottest, requiring expensive repairs and costly emergency calls.

You can avoid that and see savings year round if you play it smart.

"Your heating and cooling system uses over 50 percent of your energy costs in your home so any improvements you can make to maintain your system will make a difference in your monthly bills," says Angie Hicks founder of Angie’s List.

First things first, have you’re A/C unit serviced now.

"For a typical tune up on your air conditioner it's probably going to cost around $70 and $100. But also keep in mind, many companies do offer maintenance plans that might offer it at a little lower price by signing up for a whole year," explains Angie.

“The way a customer can tell that their A/C needs to be tuned up is it needs to be tuned up once a year every year,” explains Darren Scaggs a Service Technician. “Also, if the outdoor coils are dirty, if the cooling capacity is not up to par and they are not getting air flow out things like that can show that the Air conditioner needs to be tuned up."

After that, clean and replace the air conditioner filter frequently. This is especially important during the summer when dust and allergens circulate. If the filter becomes clogged, your system will have to work harder to supply the same amount of cool air.

"Changing the filter on your furnace or air conditioner is one of the simplest things you can do,” explains Angie. “Just remember to check it every month when you pay your utility bill. It's something that anyone can do themselves and it can save you up to 15 percent on your energy bills if you get them well maintained."

Air conditioners with proper shading can be more efficient. Air in a shaded space is cooler than the surrounding air, meaning the A/C will have an easier time cooling the air.

But keep plants, shrubs, and other landscaping about two to four feet away from your outdoor unit to ensure adequate airflow.

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