7 Ways to Help Your Air Conditioner Survive the Summer

Our valley summers are known for their relentless heat, which can take a tremendous toll on our air conditioners. We need to give our A/C units all the help we can to ensure they’ll keep running smoothly throughout the hottest days of the year, or we may find ourselves with no air conditioning when we need it the most.

According to the SRP, air conditioning can account for 50% or more of our total summer electric bills. However, there are things we can do to keep our A/C systems from working harder than they need to keep our homes cool.

Here are seven ways you can help your air conditioner survive the summer:

  1. Keep your air conditioner well-maintained.

A poorly maintained air conditioner won’t run as efficiently as one that’s well-maintained, and your energy bills will be higher. There’s no better way to extend the life of your A/C system than to have it regularly maintained.

Regular maintenance is more cost-effective than purchasing new components or a whole new system.

Chas Roberts has a 26-point maintenance plan to keep your air conditioner running smoothly. It includes:

  • Check refrigerant levels
  • Lubricate all moving parts
  • Adjust thermostat calibration
  • Clean condenser coil
  • Check airflow
  • And more

A well-maintained A/C system is also far less likely to fail on a 100-plus degree day.

  1. Change your air filters often.

Dirty air filters force your A/C system to work harder, leading to more wear and tear on the equipment and higher energy bills. Air filters should be changed as often as once a month in the summer.

Dirty filters also worsen the air quality in your home, which is especially harmful to those with respiratory problems. Dust, pollen, and pet dander can circulate throughout your home through unclean filters.

Air filters have different ratings, and some capture more airborne particles than others.

An air filter’s ability to capture larger particles between 0.3 and 10.0 microns is measured by a MERV rating. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values.

The higher the MERV rating, the better the filter can capture particles such as dust.  MERV ratings range from 1-20.

Although a higher MERV-rated filter captures more particles, it’s best to check with an HVAC pro to ensure your system can handle a higher-rated filter before upgrading.

When you change your filters, write the replacement date on each to know when you last replaced them.

  1. Install a programmable thermostat.

Programmable thermostats give you the option of precise temperature control in your home throughout the day. You can schedule when your air conditioner turns on, so you’re not needlessly running the system when no one is home.

You won’t have to remember to adjust the thermostat before you leave your house because a programmable thermostat lets you preset different temperatures for various times throughout the day.

A programmable thermostat will save wear and tear on your HVAC system and help keep your summer energy bills under control.

Your programmable thermostat should be on an interior wall, away from direct sunlight.  Be sure that nothing that generates heat is near the thermostat.

If your home lacks a programmable thermostat, Chas Roberts can install one for you in an appropriate location in your home.

  1. Seal any air leaks around windows and doors.

Hot air leaking into your home in summer will force your air conditioner to work harder to keep rooms cool. Door and window frames are common areas for air leaks.

If you feel hot air coming inside, or you can see daylight around the door and window frames, you have an air leak that needs repair.

Check the caulking and weatherstripping for damage and repair or replace it as needed.

A well-sealed home is easier to keep cool than one with air leaks.

  1. Leave the vents in your home open.

Air conditioning systems are designed to circulate air with all the vents in your home open. If too many vents are closed, air can’t circulate properly, reducing your air conditioner’s effectiveness.

Closed vents also create a pressure imbalance that can force leaks in the ductwork.

No more than 10% of the vents should be closed when your air conditioner is on.

Wipe down your vents regularly so dust doesn’t circulate throughout your home when the air conditioner runs.

  1. Use your window treatments to block direct sunlight.

Sunlight streaming into rooms on hot days makes your air conditioner work harder to keep your home cool. Use your window treatments to allow less sunlight and heat to penetrate indoor spaces.

Insulating window treatments can provide even more protection from direct sunlight.

Installing sunscreens on your home’s south and west-facing windows also helps block sun and heat on the hottest days.

Be sure all doors and windows are tightly closed whenever you run your air conditioner.

  1. Use ceiling fans to help keep rooms cool.

The air movement a ceiling fan generates can make you feel about 4 degrees cooler, and fans use about one-tenth the electricity of an air conditioner.

The gentle breeze ceiling fans provide means your air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard to keep rooms cool.

Position your fan blades to go counterclockwise to blow air downward. Turn off your fan when you leave the room to save energy.

Aging Air Conditioners

The time will eventually come when your older air conditioner needs replacement. If your current air conditioner is over ten years old and breaks down frequently, or doesn’t seem to get your home cool enough, your air conditioner may need replacement.

Air conditioners lose efficiency as they age, and it’s usually more cost-effective to replace an aging unit than continuously repair it.

When you’re ready for a new air conditioner, Chas Roberts can help you make the best choice for your home.


Our air conditioners work hard for us during the hottest days of summer, but we don’t need them to work any harder than necessary to keep us cool.

Keeping our A/C systems well-maintained and changing the air filters often will help our air conditioners perform at peak efficiency all summer long.

Chas Roberts is the oldest and largest residential HVAC company in Arizona and has been family-owned and operated for over 75 years.  Contact us for affordable, reliable service.