Ideas for keeping home cool and bills low

Ideas for keeping home cool and bills low

A full two-thirds of the United States is expected to experience above-average summer temperatures this year, according to The Old Farmer's Almanac. With some areas of the country already well into seemingly endless runs of 100-degree weather this summer, it is important for homeowners to take steps to maintain their air conditioning systems now to avoid problems later in the summer. For most homes, heating and cooling consumes more energy dollars than any other system. Unfortunately, regardless of costs, air conditioning systems often serve as the best refuge from the high summer heat and humidity. All homeowners can take steps to ensure a longer life for their heating and cooling equipment, says Gary Stiles, who teaches HVAC training at the Everest Institute - Houston Bissonnet campus. "Basic air conditioning maintenance will provide better comfort, and a well-maintained unit runs more efficiently, lasts longer, and suffers from fewer breakdowns," says Stiles. "While there are no guarantees, consumers can greatly increase their chances of enjoying a cooler summer by following a few simple steps: * First, be sure to clean or replace filters on furnaces once a month or as needed. If you're not sure where to start, filters are often located in the return air duct of the air conditioner itself, directly in the furnace or in filter grilles located in ceilings and/or walls. Check the specifications of your model and buy a replacement, which can be found at most retail stores. * When it's hot outside, keep your window coverings closed during the day to keep solar heat from entering your home and making your air conditioner work harder. * Give your air vents room to breathe by keeping them clean and removing furniture, carpeting or drapes that could block air flow. * In addition to keeping things clean inside; your outdoor unit should also be cleaned twice a year with a water hose. Turn the unit off at the breaker and start washing at the top and work your way down. * Set your thermostat as high as is comfortable in the summer. * Turn off kitchen, bath and other exhaust fans within 20 minutes after you are finished cooking or bathing. * If you know where your unit's drain line is, confirm it is open by running water. Even better, pour bleach directly into the line to kill any algae in it. If you have an air compressor, you can also blow air into the hose from the outlet end to determine if the drain line is open." These tips are just a small part of what Stiles and other HVAC program instructors teach Everest students. For more information on Everest's HVAC program, visit (ARA)

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Phone: 704-957-0323
Dated: August 2nd 2011
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