How to keep your AC humming during a hot South Texas summer

Simple maintenance can lower your bills

By Marilyn Moritz - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - The heat is on, and so are the air conditioners. 

Angie Calbillo has the summer bills to prove it.

"It's like $300 and something for just one month," she said.

To help your AC run efficiently and keep your wallet from overheating, there are some simple maintenance steps you can do  yourself.

"The most important thing a homeowner can do is change your filter," said Rodney Smith, AC technician with Shafer Services. "A dirty filter can actually freeze your system up and do damage."

Even though the instructions say change it every three months, Smith says that's not often enough in San Antonio when the AC runs so much.

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"In South Texas summers, you want to do it on a monthly basis," he said. 

And, if you have pets that shed, you may want to check it more often than that.

It's also important to keep your drain line clear.  If you have access, Smith suggests pouring a cup of bleach down the line every month to prevent slime, mold or blockages.

Outside, grab the garden hose to get rid of dust and debris in your condenser coils.

"A soft rinse on the coils will keep them clean and keep the fan running smoothly," he said.

Also, make sure your landscaping isn't crowding the condenser and impeding airflow.

To help chill your bill, make sure you have adequate weatherstripping around your windows and doors.

Using ceiling fans can make your feel cooler and cost only pennies to operate.

And, although it's obvious, bumping up the temperature just 1 degree can cut your bill by about 3 percent.

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