HOUSTON—With those dog days of summer just around the corner, air conditioners will be on full blast - and so will those energy bills. Air conditioners are a great luxury, but they can also cause a financial headache.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind so your air conditioning unit doesn't drain your bank account this summer.
With scorching temperatures outside, you want to keep your home nice and cool. But we all know how expensive that can be. Laurence Lareau and Tom Merrell, specialists with Katy-West Houston Air, are experts on keeping air conditioning costs low.
"People forget to change their filters, and that's one of the most important aspects," said Lareau. "Your filter size should be 200 square inches per ton. For example, if you have a three ton unit, then your filter should typically be a 20 X 30."
If you're not maintaining your AC unit, the efficiency levels go down, which can lead to those sky-high electric bills.
"You might end up with some permanent damage and even having your unit replaced, which is very, very costly," Merrell said.
Let's say you have your air conditioners on full blast, but still are not feeling the cool air?
"Sometimes there are problems with the ductwork and the insulation," said Merrell.
There are a few investments you can make to keep those AC bills down.
"Make sure that once a month, the filter is properly changed," said Merrell.
It's also wise to get your air conditioner checked out, too.
"I would also recommend to have the coils cleaned once a year, especially on the outside unit," said Lareau.
And rinsing off that outside condenser AC unit is key. According to Katy-West Houston Air, the efficiency of a window unit isn't the greatest investment but there could be some advantages.
"Most people are typically changing out the systems with the 16 efficiency rating," said Lareau, who has been in the heating and AC business for over 30 years. "That does qualify for a $1, 500 tax rebate."
So here's the bottom line to keep your AC bills from running your pocket dry:
"If you have good ductwork and good insulation, your bills will stay down because your units don't have to run as long," said Lareau.
And making sure your home or apartment doesn't have air leaks inside, or poor insulation, is the first step in getting the most out of your air conditioner this summer.
"Even if they do not change their air conditioning, and they change that furnace to a variable speed air drive, that will actually increase the overall efficiency of their air conditioning system," said Lareau.