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Knowing How to Keep Your Home Cool, Despite the Temperature

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By Bill Primavera

Have you been feeling as oppressed by the heat as I have during this exceptionally hot summer?

Whether you have central air or window units, the unusually high temperatures reached during a heat wave are often a challenge for many air conditioning systems. Your AC unit may never turn off on extremely hot days and the temperature inside your home can start to creep up beyond where you set your thermostat. This can be a normal occurrence.

But the air conditioner will eventually catch up overnight – or maybe toward the morning hours when it’s cooler outside.

Below are some tips to help cool a home more efficiently during a heat wave.

First, make sure your air conditioner is functioning properly. Certain issues or problems can often prevent your air conditioning unit from properly cooling your home on extremely hot days. These issues or problems may include:

  1. A dirty air filter (good maintenance is always key).
  2. A slow refrigerant leak (sometimes an easy fix).
  3. A blocked condensing unit (a frequent issue).
  4. Ducts leaking inside the home (efficiency loss is possible).
  5. An undersized or older air conditioning unit (time for replacement).

But there is also a possibility nothing is actually “wrong” with your air conditioning unit. Properly cooling a home starts with the outside temperature.

How cool should one expect a home to get during a heat wave?

The greatest air conditioner in the world is only going to cool a home about 20 degrees from the outside temperature. Maybe a little more if you take the time to implement a few of these helpful tips for cooling your space on extremely hot days like we’ve been experiencing with temperatures frequently exceeding 90 degrees.

Anything you can do to keep your home a little bit cooler on these very hot days will mean your air conditioning system does not need to be running as long for each cooling cycle, which will save you money as well as conserve energy.

Here are tips to cool your home better during a heat wave:

  1. Set the thermostat higher. In extreme temperatures it’s best not to turn “up” the AC to save a few dollars because it puts your AC unit in an uphill fight trying to cool down your home. Set your thermostat on 75 to 78 degrees (or higher) and learn to live with just a little heat. It won’t kill you.
  2. Turn the fan switch to the “on” position instead of leaving it on “auto,” which will help circulate the air in a home and also help rooms that are too hot or cool.
  3. Keep shades closed on extremely hot days.
  4. Close off unused rooms to conserve energy.
  5. Consider using ceiling fans to keep you cool.
  6. Don’t use some other appliances on extremely hot days. Not using the stove, dishwasher or dryer during a heat wave will help keep your home cooler by simply not introducing heat into an already warm environment.
  7. Properly maintain your air conditioning unit for maximum efficiency.
  8. Consider upgrading your air conditioning system.

If your AC unit is older than 10 years old, you should think about replacing it. Although an air conditioner can last up to 20 years in a normal environment, it loses about 40 percent of its efficiency after 10 years. The newer technology can also save you up to 20 percent on cooling costs when upgrading.

Consider these points and keep it cool!

Bill Primavera is a realtor associated with William Raveis Real Estate and founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc., the longest-running public relations agency in Westchester (www.PrimaveraPR.com). To engage the services of The Home Guru and his team to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.

 

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