With record-breaking temperatures around the country, we all want to know how to cool a room- fast. These nine tips won't set you back a dime, but will make your air conditioner, central air system or fan do its job better.
Yes, it's hot outside. And inside, for that matter. But if your preferred cooling system-whether it's an a/c or a fan-doesn't seem to cool a room
as good as it should, try these nine fixes.
Window or Portable Air Conditioner
- Clean The Air Filters.
Trapped dirt will most definitely reduce air flow through the unit, leaving you with disappointingly weak breezes from the vents. So, give the air filter a good scrubbing with soap and water at least once a month (more if you live in a city, or if there's been lots of humid weather). While you're there, clean the evaporator coil. Dirt there will just insulate the coil, reducing its ability to absorb heat.
- Move It.
Your air conditioner will work overtime if it's near a heat source, which can be anything from somebody else's a/c to a cable box. Or, if it's surrounded by junk. These all reduce airflow, which means less cooling power.
Central Air/Split System
- Clean The Condensing Unit.
This can get filled with leaves, grass clippings and dirt. Clean this loveliness away with a soft brush. Also, remember: The condenser should have 24 inches of breathing room in order to run properly and keep from overheating.
- Add Duct Tape.
Go to the attic to check for gaps in ceiling ducts. A good way to test this? Light incense, then see if the smoke gets pulled towards or away from the ducts. If it does, this indicates a leak. Patch it up with duct tape.
- Clean The Blades.
Yes, we're cleaning again. Caked-on dirt can slow the blades down (and it doesn't look very nice, either). Turn off the fan, then clean each blade.
- Make It Run Counterclockwise.
Did you know that your ceiling fan has a "summer" setting? Me neither. But it's simply flipping a switch on the side of the motor housing. Trust me, you'll notice a difference.
- Balance It.
If your ceiling fan gets wobbly when you run it, the alignment is out of whack. Turn off the fan, then make sure the blade holders are firmly attached to the flywheel. Tighten any loose screws.
Plug-In (Box or Stand-Up) Fan
- One more time: Clean It.
This is easier on a box fan, where all you have to do is unscrew the front and back grates (and dip them in a bath, or hose them down). If you have a stand-up model, check out this tutorial for how to clean an oscillating fan
- Open The Top Window.
This is if you have casement windows, of course. But opening the top half of the window will create cross-circulation, giving a place for hot air (which rises) an escape hatch.
Want more cool cures? Check out:
Energy Savings: Central Air Conditioning
How to Clean and Maintain Air Conditioning Systems
The Daily Fix: How to Balance a Ceiling Fan
And to see how to change out the air filter in your central air, watch this...