Air Conditioner maintenance and energy-saving tips to help you stay cool this summer

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN)

This week in some North Carolina towns, the heat index topped 100 degrees, and everyone is looking for ways to cool off. With more people using their air conditioners, A/C repair companies are working overtime.

Consumer Investigator Steve Sbraccia breaks down the details you need to know to stay cool this summer.

Preventive maintenance will help keep your AC running like it just came out of the box..

Clay Ewing, of Allen Kelly & Co., says, “So many people are doing life and the next thing you know the A/C has stopped. And they check and see, it’s been 6 years since we had anyone look at the thing.”

One simple thing you can do is allow your unit to breath, inside and outside.

We spoke with homeowner Katie Andrews, who said she changes her home’s A/C filters once each month because she knows from past experience that clogged filters can cause your A/C unit to break.

Ewing says the outside part of your air conditioner also needs space around it to breathe outside.

“You need to keep 36 inches of clearance around the unit if you can so it can breath. That’ s manufactures’ specifications.”

The hotter it gets, the more people like to lower their thermostat, including Fred Rogers, who says he keeps his A/C at 68 degrees in the summer, because it keeps him cool and comfortable.

But lower temps can mean higher electric bills.

The U.S. Department Of Energy (USDE) says you’ll save 3 percent on your monthly energy bill for every degree you raise the temperature setting of your central air conditioning.

Katie Andrews is one of those who adjusts her A?C when she’s not home.

“I have a Nest system for my A/C, so during the day it will heat up when we’re not home, but in the evening it’s cold.”

The USDE recommends you use the following temperature settings for your A/C to save energy costs:

78 Degrees when you’re home
82 Degrees when you are sleeping
85 Degrees when you are at work or away

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