Test Your AC Before It’s Too Hot

A man in a blue shirt touches a thermostat on a white wall of a home. He smiles at the camera.

Summers can be long and hot, and can seem a lot longer and hotter if your air conditioning system isn’t functioning properly. March and April are great months to test your air conditioning while the weather is mild.

If your system isn’t working correctly, or at all, here are some common issues and how to fix them.

If your system isn’t cooling properly, it could be a:

Dirty filter. A clogged filter restricts airflow, reducing the efficiency of your cooling system and even stopping its ability to effectively cool the air. Check your filter and replace it if it is dirty. Change it regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Thermostat setting. Check your thermostat to make sure it is set to the appropriate temperature. If you have a programmable unit, program it according to your schedule to save energy while maintaining comfort.

Benton REA pays members up to $175 for the purchase of a qualifying programmable smart thermostat. To apply, visit www.BentonREA.org/rebates.

Covered vent. Supply or return air vents covered with furniture or boxes can restrict or even stop airflow and throw the system out of balance. Keep all vents clear.

Ductwork problem. Your ducts could leak air or be constricted. You can seal leaks in exposed ductwork with mastic tape, but work with a professional to seal your entire duct system. Benton REA incentivizes duct testing and sealing—as well as commissioning and controls—up to $750.

Refrigerant leak. Your system refrigerant could be low or leaking. Contact a qualified professional to repair the leak and recharge the system.

If your system won’t turn on, the problem could be:

Electric control failure. Compressor or fan controls may be worn out due to the system cycling on and off too frequently. Contact a qualified professional for this fix.

Thermostat issues. Your thermostat may need new batteries or need to be replaced entirely. Consider upgrading to a Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat. You can optimize savings and comfort and get remote control.

Drainage problems. Your system’s condensate drain line can get clogged due to mold and mildew buildup. The system should shut down to prevent flooding, but may not.

To prevent water damage in your home, check the drain to ensure it is not clogged. You can clear a clog with a wire brush or wet/dry vacuum, or contact a qualified professional.

If your cooling system is older or in need of serious repair, upgrade to a high-efficiency heat pump. You’ll stay comfortable all year long, with lower energy bills.

Before purchasing a heat pump, talk to Benton REA’s energy experts to ensure the unit is sized correctly for your home and qualifies for a rebate. Benton REA pays up to $1,600 and offers low-interest loans on qualifying systems. Call 509-781-6751 for more information.

This article was provided by Touchstone Energy Cooperatives. www.TouchstoneEnergy.com



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