GOOD QUESTION: How do I keep my A/C unit running properly during this heat wave?


CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) Record-setting heat has been smothering the Lowcountry over the past several days, and that means our air conditioners are working overtime to keep us cool.

In this week’s Good Question, Anne asked: “How do I keep my AC unit running properly and make sure it doesn’t break down during this heat wave?”

We talked to an expert to find out.

This is the time of year our units are going to get stressed the most. Joel Hefner, who has been an expert in the HVAC business for over two decades, said there are many ways to ensure your unit continues to crank out the cooler temperatures.

The most important: professional care.

“A regular maintenance agreement will definitely help not only extend the life, but it will lower the electrical costs that you are paying to have your air conditioning run on a regular basis,” he said.

Chances are your unit is constantly running right now to cool your home to the desired temperature.

Putting it at 78 degrees may be the most cost-effective. The lower you go, the more expensive it gets.

“Having your air conditioner thermostat set at a lower temperature really doesn’t make any difference because it is going to run until its satisfied,” said Hefner. If you set it at 60 and want to get it down to 60 at night, well, it’s going to run constantly. You will pay for it.

The easiest thing you can do to make sure your ac unit is running its best: change the air filters and change them often.

“My rule of thumb is whenever I get my electric bill, you change the air filter,” he said. “That way you never forget.”

Hefner doesn’t recommend spraying the unit down with water to cool it down. He says having it in the shade is good, but make sure it has room to breathe.

“You want to make sure your air conditioner has adequate airflow, both for your indoor unit and outdoor unit.”

Regular maintenance on a regular basis—twice a year is the best way to ensure your ac unit won’t fail you when you need it most.

If you have a question you want to be answered, click here to submit it on the Good Question page.

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