As we brace for the annual return of higher humidity, heavy rain and dust storms, the experts at Donley AC & Plumbing are sharing ways to protect your A/C during the monsoon.

During a storm

· To prevent dirt from being pulled into the system, consider turning off the A/C when a dust storm rolls over your home.

· To avoid compressor damage during a power outage, turn off the A/C and wait at least five minutes before turning back on after power is restored.

Change Filters

· Monthly changes are critical. Think about doing it each time you get your electric bill.

· A dirty filter can increase your bill 5-10%.

· A dirty filter allows more contaminants inside your house.

Clean Your Coil

· Storms can leave your outdoor unit covered in dirt, which can make the unit run hotter and use more electricity.

· Have your coil regularly washed by a professional, especially during the monsoon season.

Check Your Roof and Ductwork

· If you have a rooftop unit, be sure it’s properly secured to withstand high winds. Consider installing a hail guard.

· Make sure ductwork is sealed properly to prevent dust and dirt from entering your home.

Invest in a surge protector

· A power strip will only protect from minor fluctuations while an in-house surge protector can handle major surges caused by storms.

How to get the most out of your A/C:

· Keep blinds and drapes closed.

· Ceiling fans will help you feel cooler, but turn them off when no one’s in the room to save energy.

· Avoid using your stovetop or oven during the day.

· Thermostats can pick up the heat from lamps, TV’s and appliances.

· Planting shrubs or trees can provide shade to the a/c unit, which leads to less electricity being used. But not too close or you’ll restrict airflow. Make sure the area is free of leaves, weeds and debris.

· You won’t conserve energy by constantly changing the thermostat. Set it at the highest comfortable level and forget it. Or, try a programmable thermostat that will automatically adjust for times you are away and sleeping.

· For every degree you set your thermometer above 80, you can save about 2-3% on cooling costs, according to SRP.