Preparing for the Cooling Season


by Scott Ranck

While we enjoy the last weeks of lower humidity and slightly cooler weather, it is time to make certain your cooling system is ready. Often, qualified air conditioning contractors offer an inexpensive service for your equipment. This is a service that they use to build their business, to gain your trust and to help your system function at its best. If you do not have a contractor ask your friends and neighbors, check at your place of worship and locate a quality company to help you.

One thing you can do is change your filters consistently throughout the season. Unless your air conditioner was designed to use a higher MERV filter, MERV 8 (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) is the best filter you want to use. The higher the number the more effective the filtering, but it also can reduce the air flow through your system.

Once your system is tuned and your filters are clean, set your thermostat to 78°. While in a room with a ceiling fan, use it. You can estimate your annual cooling costs will rise 5% for every degree cooler that you set your thermostat!

One last thing, make sure bushes, weeds and other things that block airflow are kept trimmed away from your outdoor unit. Never set anything right up against the outdoor unit, and definitely don’t pile things on top. The unit needs the air to flow through and out the top.

For more information or follow-up questions to any of these topics you may submit questions to me directly at

Banner_FPUScott Ranck is the Conservation Program Coordinator & Energy Specialist for Florida Public Utilities. Feel free to e-mail any energy-related questions or comments to Scott at
Now that you understand this concept, in my next article I will give you a prioritized list of improvements going from least expensive to most expensive and in the order of priority.

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