How to Get Your Home Ready for a Phoenix Summer
Is your home ready for another sweltering Arizona summer? We’re just weeks away from excessive heat warnings and hurricane watches. Make sure you and your home are prepared before summer hits full force.
How to Prepare Your Home for Summer
1. Air Conditioning Maintenance
The main thing keeping Phoenicians and other Arizonians alive and comfortable during the summer is a working air conditioning system. Instead of waiting until the A/C breaks down, schedule your annual tune-up NOW!
It is important to catch minor problems before they turn into major breakdowns (which normally happens on the hottest days of the year). Watch Penguin Air & Plumbing GM Jay Kline show you everything you need to know.
Here are a few things homeowners can do to ensure their HVAC system is running smoothly:
- Change air filters every 30-60 days. A clean air filter improves airflow, prevents dirt and debris from clogging up the system, and improves indoor air quality. Make sure you have plenty of filter replacements on hand so you don’t have to run to Home Depot every month.
- Clear away debris from vents, exhausts, and the outdoor heat pump unit. Often leaves, grass clippings, twigs, and other outdoor debris can clog vents and condenser coils. Go outside and make sure there is nothing getting in the way of safe and smooth operation.
- Make sure no vents or registers are obstructed. Go around your home and open all vents and registers. Remove any rugs or furniture that make be blocking them. Clean the registers and grills and call a professional if you notice any health problems, such as mold and excessive dust. Learn more about professional air duct cleaning and sealing.
Routine air conditioning maintenance is essential for keeping cool and comfortable this summer. Your certified professional technician will inspect and clean the entire system, including electrical components, motors, coils, capacitors, contactors, duct system, thermostat, and much more.
Neglecting annual A/C maintenance could mean an unfortunate breakdown on a dangerously hot day. We highly recommend scheduling air conditioning maintenance in the spring and heating maintenance in the fall. This ensures your manufacturer warranties remain in effect and your HVAC system runs reliably all year long.
Sign up for The Penguin Protection Plan for 3 annual tune-up (heating, air conditioning, and plumbing), plus discounts, priority service, and more!
Plants will beautify your home and provide natural air filtration. If you don’t have a green thumb, start out with succulents, cacti, aloe and other low-maintenance plants. Once you have graduated from the basics, you can move on to leafier plants.
Plants aren’t just beautiful, they’re also practical. Since plants can absorb particulates from the air while taking in carbon dioxide, they also act as natural air purifiers. In addition to their air-cleaning benefits, plants have been proven to make people feel better—lower blood pressure and stress levels.
10 Best Air Cleaning Houseplants, According to NASA:
1. English Ivy (Hedera Helix)
2. Golden Pothos (Epipremnum Aureum)
3. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis Exalta Bostoniensis)
4. Dracaena (Dracaena Deremensis)
5. Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)
6. Dragon Tree (Dracaena Marginata)
7. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
8. Lady Palm (Rhapis Excelsa)
9. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum)
10. Snake Plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata)
NASA recommends at least one plant per 100 square feet of home for efficient air cleaning (NASA Clean Air Study).
Before you bring any of these plants into your home, make sure they are non-toxic to children and pets.
Consider planting trees and large bushes around your home for natural shade and wind blockage. Properly placed trees “can reduce summer air conditioning costs by up to 35%” (Arbor Day Foundation).
Bare windows aren’t just ugly and reminiscent of a dorm room, they are also big energy wasters. If you want to add a touch of elegance and energy-savings to your home, consider purchasing drapes, curtains, and other window outfits.
Windows are the #1 source of solar heat gain in your home.
- Close the drapes during the day to keep sunlight out and open them in the winter to allow heat in.
- Stick with neutrals and whites to reflect more of the sunlight and to help lighten up the room.
- Check the caulking and weatherstripping around the windows before installing new drapery. You could be leaking a lot of air out of your windows and it will be a lot easier to make the repairs or replacements before the drapes are installed.
- Good insulation also helps keep energy bills low.
- Use trees, awnings, blinds, overhangs, louvers, and solar window film to help shade your windows from the sun.
Learn how to plant trees around the home for summer shade and winter windbreak.
4. Thermostat Efficiency
The more efficient your thermostat, the better your A/C will perform. A programmable or smart thermostat can help simplify this process.
While the Department of Energy recommends setting the thermostat to 78°F (26°C) when home and in need of cooling, we think that’s a little high.
- We recommend setting the thermostat to around 76°F (+/- 2°F) when you are home.
- Set it to around 80°F (+/- 2°F) when you are away from the home.
- Experiment with the right setting for when you are asleep. Overnight hours might actually be significantly cheaper. Check with your utility company.
Here are a few tips:
- Avoid “oversteering” your thermostat—turning it to a colder setting than normal to speed up the process. Cranking your thermostat way up or way down will not heat or cool your home any faster. It will likely lead to excessive cooling and high energy bills.
- Your thermostat should be far away from sun rays, heat-producing appliances, and lamps. The thermostat senses the heat and can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
Keep Cool Without Blasting the A/C
If you are looking to limit your air conditioning use this summer, here are some tips for keeping the heat out and the air conditioned air in:
- Cook cold meals. Think salads, antipasto, spreads, and sandwiches. Use your barbecue instead of the oven/stove.
- Run ceiling and floor fans, but only when you are in the room. Remember ceiling fans cool people, not rooms.
- Increase insulation and seal air leaks.
- Wear comfortable clothing. Think natural fibers, loose clothing, sandals, and hats. Use a handkerchief to wipe away sweat.
- Keep blinds closed and consider opening windows at night to create a cross-breeze.
- Do chores and use heat-producing appliances at night.
- Keep doors inside the home open to maximize airflow.
- Consider turning on the HVAC fan when the A/C is not in use to facilitate the flow of air.
- Create an ice fan. Place a bowl of ice under a box fan and enjoy the chilled breeze.
- Consider adding ceiling and/or attic fans. Attic fans will help you feel around 5 degrees cooler, while attic fans help push hot air out of your attic, which reduces the demand on your HVAC unit.
- Take cold showers! Besides keeping cool and saving money, they are also known for their destressing and energy-enhancing benefits.
- If you take a hot shower or bath, make sure to turn on the bathroom fan to remove heat and humidity.
Keep your home in tip-top shape with 3 annual tune-ups every year (heating, air conditioning, and plumbing) by signing up for The Penguin Protection Plan.
- How to Improve Indoor Air Quality
- Mold Prevention Strategies
- How to Survive a Phoenix Summer | Keep Cool & Beat the Heat!
- Outdoor Projects for Savings & Comfort
- Home Cooling Cheat Sheet
- How to Tell if You Have a Gas Leak
- Why Does My Air Conditioner Keep Running?
- Leaking Air Conditioner Problems & Solutions
At Penguin Air and Plumbing, we want to help make your home a safe and beautiful space for you and your loved ones to enjoy for many years to come.
For more information indoor air pollution, visit our indoor air quality page.