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Safety in High Temperatures: Why Your Air Conditioning is Necessary for More Than Just Comfort

August 16, 2017

 Living in a climate where there’s a constant high is more than uncomfortable, it’s dangerous. High heat or heat waves can cause a variety of health problems such as heat exhaustion, heat stroke, muscle cramps, and fainting. Excessive heat is the leading weather related killer in the United States, with at least 94 reported cases of heat-related fatalities in 2016.

 

Your air conditioner is not only designed for comfortable living temperatures, it’s designed to keep your home from overheating at dangerous temperatures. We know it can be tempting to turn off the air conditioner or overlook some maintenance from time to time. However, your air conditioner needs routine care and maintenance to run efficiently and effectively. Leaving your air conditioner untreated over time will result in costly repairs, or even worse, a home without functioning air conditioning.

 

Replacing Your AC – Comfort Doesn’t Stop There 

 

It’s not just a matter of higher utility bills or some discomfort- there are a lot of other potential hazards that come from neglected air conditioners. Problems such as a broken electric connection, can not only destroy the entire air conditioning unit, a damaged electrical system can result in a house fire or explosion. Dangerous gas leaks are another potential hazard, leaking gasses such as carbon monoxide. There’s also the issue of mold growing inside the air conditioning unit or air ducts from too much condensation.

 

Long story short, there are plenty of dangers associated with high heat and malfunctioning air conditioners. To avoid both, it’s best to keep with maintenance. Luckily, there are several ways you can maintain your air conditioner and home, so you can live comfortable and safe. Here’s what you can do.

 

  • Clean your air conditioner thoroughly. First and foremost, it’s important to keep plants and debris at least two to four feet away from the unit, but you’ll need to clean the parts inside as well. Using a garden hose, you can clean all the dirt and grit collected between the fins (the grid casing) of the air conditioner. It’s also important to clean the evaporator coil found inside your home’s blower/furnace unit. Warm humid air is blown through the evaporator coil, and overtime mold and algae can form in the evaporator drain. A clogged evaporator drain can result in either a flood in your basement or your air conditioner will cease to work in order to avoid flooding.
  • Change your filters. The filter to your air conditioner should be changed on a monthly basis. In a high heat climate, your air conditioner is constantly running, which means the filter is collecting dust, dirt, and other debris faster than normal. Dirty filters left unchanged can clog up, which can hinder the performance of your air conditioner.
  • Invest in a digital thermostat. An easy way to monitor how efficiently your air conditioner runs is by installing a digital, programmable thermostat. By setting different temperatures throughout the day, you can establish the most effective temperature setting to keep your house cool and prevent your air conditioner from overworking itself. Dialing the temperature down a few degrees at night can also help your house keep cool.
  • Determining if your air conditioner is the right size. Finding the right size is another important factor. If you find your air conditioner is constantly struggling to keep your home cool, it might be too small. It’s crucial, however, to avoid investing in an air conditioner that’s too large as it cools your house too fast, turning itself off more frequently and failing to remove humidity.
  • Insulate your home. The purpose of your air conditioner is to circulate cold air throughout your home, but it can’t do that effectively if there are air leaks throughout your home. Sealing and caulking leaky doors and windows, as well as installing foam gaskets behind outlets, all help to prevent cool air from leaking outside your home. Leaky air ducts can also be another culprit as it means less cool air is pushed to where it needs to be.
  • Use fans. Keeping a constant air flow can significantly help keep your house cool. Plug-in and ceiling fans both help to circulate the air. Moving air can helps cool your skin, but it does little to nothing to actually cool the room. It’s important to turn fans off when you’re not home, otherwise you’re wasting electricity.

 

Don’t Jeopardize Your Safety

 

Living in a high heat climate can result in some dangerous health hazards without the right precautions and maintenance. No one’s health should be at stake, especially within the comfort of your own home. Routine maintenance is crucial to keep your air conditioner running correctly. If you suspect something is wrong with your air conditioner, it’s important to contact a HVAC technician immediately, as they can properly diagnose the problem and suggest the best solution.

 
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