When it comes to central air conditioning, you want to maximize the efficiency and performance of your system. Here are some tips that will help you to do that. Homeowner’s should make sure that they have preventative maintenance done on their system by a qualified and professional service company on an annual basis, preferably before the start of the actual air conditioning season. This will not only help to ensure that their system is running properly and efficiently, but it can also help to minimize the chance of a breakdown later in the season. Homeowner’s need to make sure that the air filter at their indoor unit (either an actual furnace or air handler) is cleaned or replaced on regular schedule. How often this needs to be done is dependent upon the type of filter they have. Your most basic filter needs to be replaced once a month, while other higher performance media type filters only require replacement once a year. More expensive electronic or photovoltaic type air cleaners require maintenance to be done once a year, which will be considerably more expensive to do when compared to a basic or media type filter. Homeowner’s need to make sure that their outdoor unit is kept clear of grass clipping, leaves, and other outdoor debris. Allowing grass clipping, leaves, and other outdoor debris to build up around the outdoor unit will cause the unit to work harder and minimize the overall efficiency of the system. Besides removing whatever debris they can by hand, the homeowner can also spray off the outside of the unit with a garden hose, which will help to remove pollen and other debris that may have built up in the condensing coil of the outdoor unit. Homeowner’s should turn their system on early in the day and let it run as needed vs. turning it on at the end of day after they come home. This allows the unit to maintain temperature and humidity levels vs. trying to remove humidity and lower temperatures which takes a lot more energy and time to do. On average it can take an air conditioner system up to an hour to lower the temperature up to 2 degrees if they turn it on late in the day after the temperature and humidity levels have risen in their home. If the homeowner is concerned with the amount of energy used when they are not home, they can raise the temperature a couple of degrees to help minimize run time while maintaining humidity levels. Most people don’t realize that an air conditioner’s primary objective is to dehumidify the air before actually cooling it. Homeowner’s can also open and close the supply registers within their home to make sure that they are cooling the areas of their home that they use the most. This is particular helpful if they have multiple levels in their home. If that is the case, closing the registers on the lower levels, will help push more air to the higher levels. As conditioned air is much heavier than heated air, it will naturally fall to some of the lower levels. Note that most registers cannot be closed all the way and therefore there will always be some air coming through them. It is also highly recommended that if a customer has a furnace or air handler with a variable speed ECM motor, that they set the fan to run continuously. This will keep the air moving throughout the home, minimizing the temperature rise and amount of humidity that builds up. ECM motors are highly efficient and can cost as much as 50% less to operate when allowed to run continuously. All of the above tips also apply to most commercial applications.