10 Things to Do to Keep Cool Inside This Summer

You've made it through heat wave after heat wave. Here are tips for making sure your air conditioning's ready for the next one.

You can save yourself money and headaches with your air conditioning by doing a few simple things. | Image: Olivier Le Moal / iStock photo

Hotter than July? Maybe not; this month isn’t on track to break the record for hottest July ever, but those once-a-week heat waves sure make it feel like it is. And the summer’s not over yet. While July is traditionally the hottest month of the year, it can get plenty hot in August too.

Which is why you should make sure your air conditioning system can keep on handling the heat. If you’re experiencing trouble with your air conditioning, Joseph Giannone of Joseph Giannone Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning recommends you take these ten steps first before calling a pro:

1. Check the batteries in your thermostat. “One of the most common things is that people don’t check their batteries in their thermostats. So what happens is their thermostat doesn’t work. And I can’t tell you how many times we go out to homes and the batteries are bad inside the thermostat,” says Giannone. If you’re trying to save money, definitely check your thermostat batteries before getting professional help.

2. Make sure the switch that controls your unit’s fan is set to “auto.” You don’t want your fan running all the time; the white noise gets annoying after a few hours. So setting it on auto will make sure that it’s on when it needs to be, but not all the time.

3. Check the main power switches. If there isn’t any power to the unit, “check the power switches by the indoor unit, and also check the circuit breaker to see if it’s tripped,” says Giannone.

4. If you see ice, turn it off! Any ice forming around pipes means that you should turn off the unit for at least eight hours and call a service technician.

5. Make sure you change the filter when scheduled, and also save that old filter just in case a technician asks for it later.

6. Make sure your unit’s safety switch didn’t trip. “Check the door panels on the indoor unit; there’s a safety switch on it. The safety switch will actually cut the whole system off.” Sometimes the panels are installed poorly or just fall off easily, so always make sure that the safety switch hasn’t been triggered.

7. Make sure the unit is uncovered and check for debris on a regular basis.

8. If the unit is dirty, get your hose out! Now this is another fun way to cool off. You can play with the hose while you wash down your outside unit. If your AC unit is unusually dirty, make sure to take some time (usually 30 minutes) to run a hose through it unit the water is clear.

And if all else fails…

9. If something is leaking, or

10. If there are loud noises that aren’t going away (after you already checked everything else)

Then call a professional.

Armed with these tips, you can now become an expert at fixing some of your own AC problems. Remember to stay safe and cool this summer as the heat waves continue to flow in.