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Warm October: Treat Your AC So It Doesn’t Trick You

air-conditioner-on-leavesOctober is when most places start to experience the cool of fall, when the leaves begin to turn. By Halloween, the true autumn chill has set in.

We don’t live in “most places.” Southern California experience warm and sometimes hot Octobers, and we’re in the middle of one of those right now. Because of this, you want to make sure that the “trick” part of “trick or treat” isn’t your air conditioner tricking you and failing its job. The scariest things you want to encounter during Halloween are old horror movies on TV, not a busted AC that’s turning your home into a heated nightmare.

Are we exaggerating? Not really

Here’s the serious problem with air conditioners running during the fall: they’ve already seen an enormous amount of work that started in March. The heat stays steady for a long time, and it really isn’t until the Daylight Savings time change, when we have dark arriving earlier, that some relief sets in. Think of all the stress put on your AC already and how that can mean a breakdown. Maybe an overheating motor that burns out, or leaks in the refrigerant lines start up, or the compressor becomes tight and makes the systems start and stop repeatedly (a situation known as short-cycling). These are all stronger possibilities at this time of year than during others.

What Can You Do about It?

The best step when it comes to keeping an air conditioner operating effectively until it’s time to arrange for its annual fall maintenance is to reduce how often it works. This is a bit easier in fall because the day cools down sooner as night approaches. You want to monitor closely how you use the air conditioner so that you adapt your use for the season rather than continue to use it exactly the same way you did in summer. A programmable thermostat is helpful for this: you can alter the programming to raise the temperature on the thermostat by a few degrees earlier in the day. (We definitely recommend investing in a programmable thermostat if you don’t have one.)

In general, you don’t want the air conditioner running unless it’s hotter than 80°F inside your home. That’s why we recommend setting the temperature on the thermostat for 78°F during the day, giving you the right margin for maintaining comfort without extra AC stress. As soon as temperatures start to drop for the day, open up windows in the house to allow cooler air in and turn off the AC.

Keep in mind: you still need to change the HVAC air filter regularly. A clogged filter will make the air conditioner’s job far harder and increase the strain on it. If you haven’t changed the filter since August, we recommend you do it now.

You may very well need air conditioning repair in Granada Hills, CA or elsewhere in our wide service area this October or November, so make sure to have our contact information ready should something go wrong. We offer emergency support for when you have a serious air conditioning problem that needs a fast remedy.

Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical has served Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley since 1990.

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