The Costly Air Conditioner Mistakes You're Probably Making

Read up to get the most out of your AC this summer.

Air Conditioner Remote
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Ah, sweet summertime. The season when our very happiness seems to hinge on the performance of our air conditioner.

It's true that we've come to expect a lot from home cooling systems. In fact, in many Southern states, people's health relies on them. Considering how much we demand from our air conditioners, you'd think we'd do more to prioritize their maintenance. After all, a malfunctioning A/C unit is both physically and financially brutal.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make sure both you and your air conditioner are happy and healthy for as long as possible.

Not changing the air filter

It takes about six months for a filter to become so saturated with dirt and dust that it becomes difficult for air to flow through your unit. As Reader's Digest points out, that not only increases the dust in your home, it also decreases your AC unit's efficiency. The simple task of replacing a dirty filter can improve energy use for your AC by 5 to 15%.

Your fins and coils are dirty

Air conditioning evaporator coils and fins are essential to the process of absorbing the heat inside your house. But over time, they can become bogged by layers of dust and grime, costing you money and decreasing efficiency. Family Handyman recommends cleaning your air conditioner at the beginning of summer and checking it periodically to make sure the coils and fins stay clear.

WATCH: 50 Reasons We Love Summer in the South

The temperature is too low

Many people assume that turning their thermostats down very low will make the AC respond more quickly or work harder. Sadly, that's not how things work. According to RD, air conditioners work just as hard to lower the temperature one degree as they do to lower it by 20 degrees—it's just a matter of time. So, treat your unit right and program your thermostat to exactly where you want it.

You're avoiding check-ups

Most air conditioning systems use a refrigerant that absorbs heat from the house and disperses it outdoors. However, small amounts of refrigerant can escape over time, causing decreased efficiency. You'll likely need a professional to determine whether or not you're running low. Schedule an appointment with an HVAC professional who can test your AC system and adjust refrigerant levels to the proper amounts. Your pocket book and your sweat glands will thank you!

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