Sustainable Tips for Extending Your Air Conditioner’s Lifespan

air conditioner on wall with street art - mistakes that shorten the life of your air conditioner

There’s nothing like the feeling of stepping into an air-conditioned home on a sweltering hot day. While it’s tempting to turn the AC on full blast during the hot months, doing so is terrible for the environment and the unit itself. The less stress you put on an air conditioner, the longer it will last. 

Here are some sustainable tips for extending your air conditioner’s lifespan, protecting the environment and your budget.

Schedule Seasonal Maintenance


Scheduling seasonal AC services is the best way to extend your air conditioner’s lifespan. During a maintenance visit, the technician will check to ensure everything is running smoothly. This check-up may include tightening loose connections, making adjustments and cleaning out dust and debris.

Servicing the air conditioning unit reduces its lifetime wear and tear, putting off a system replacement for as long as possible. Meanwhile, since the unit will be operating more efficiently, it will use an appropriate amount of energy.

Air conditioners that have to work harder to accomplish the bare minimum draw substantially more power. Scheduling an annual maintenance visit will save you money on utility bills and repairs over time.

Use Thermal Curtains


Thermal curtains are a wise investment for both the summer and winter months. These curtains are internally lined to help block window drafts and reflect the heat. They maintain the appearance of regular curtains, so you won’t have to sacrifice style for the sake of function.

While you might love the idea of throwing open the windows and letting the sunshine in when it’s bright outside, doing so will cause your air conditioning unit to work harder. Instead, close the curtains when the sun is shining directly through windows, opening them only during periods when the sun has moved on. 

Try Energy-Efficient Landscaping


cat on table with chairs under trees in garden - 6 things to consider while building a garden seating area

The way you organize your yard and garden will also have an impact on your air conditioning needs. Planting large trees to create shade around your home—especially around the air conditioning unit itself—will help the system work more efficiently. The shade will also limit the sun shining through your windows. 

By planting deciduous trees or other plants and shrubbery that shed their leaves in the fall, you will effectively allow the winter sun to shine in and provide heat during the colder months.

Be mindful of your tree placement, however, as leaves and debris could cause issues with your air conditioner during the fall. Experts recommend using a cover during the fall months if you have trees around your yard.

Adjust the Temperature


Adjusting the temperature by a few degrees can make a significant impact on your consumption and on the lifespan of your air conditioner. Rather than cranking the air conditioner full blast, allow your home to be a couple of degrees warmer. Your body will adjust, and it will still feel far cooler than the outdoors.

You can use the same approach in the winter by letting the temperature be slightly cooler. Use some of the other heat-saving strategies mentioned here and dress accordingly. If you’re wearing a sweater inside with the air conditioning on, it’s turned up too high.

Clean the Ducts and Filters


During an annual service call, an HVAC specialist will clean the ducts and filters. However, you should also complete this task about once a month when the unit is in use regularly. When filters and ducts are dirty, the HVAC system has to work harder, consuming more energy and driving up your utility bills.

Use a damp cloth or vacuum to clean dust and dirt away from the vents and filters of your air conditioning unit. You can also ask the technician how to keep the filters clean, as the types vary based on the unit model.

Improve Your Airflow


Finally, improve the airflow around your home with some well-placed fans. This strategy will help with cold air distribution, ensuring you don’t experience hot spots in the house. Ceiling fans should be turned counterclockwise for the summer months to push warm air down for better cooling.

With these simple tips, you can extend your air conditioner’s lifespan while minimizing your carbon footprint.

Feature image: Mostafa Meraji; Image 1: Robin Wersich

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