HVAC Tips for Summer: Keeping Things Efficient During Cincinnati’s Hottest Months

Man and woman standing in front of wall ac unit

As a responsible HVAC owner, you’re on top of the basic chores. You change your filters regularly and set up a maintenance schedule to keep things running smoothly. If you’re ready to take HVAC care to the next level, here are our favorite tips for getting the most out of your HVAC as the temperatures in Cincinnati start to rise.

Choose the Most Efficient HVAC Settings for Summer

If you’re looking to save a little money on your summer cooling bills while keeping the house comfortable, a smart thermostat is your best bet. You can set it to automatically raise the temperature while everyone’s out of the house, then lower it again so you arrive home to a comfortable, cool environment. You can even switch it to “away” mode while you’re on vacation.

If you don’t have a smart thermostat, you’ll have to redo your settings by hand. Write a reminder note beside your keys or the front door to turn the temperature up at least 5-7 degrees before everyone leaves for the day.

The most efficient temperature for summer cooling is 78 degrees Fahrenheit, but we know that’s on the warm side for some folks. If 78°F is comfortable for you, great! If it’s not, know that your bill will likely tick a little higher for every degree lower you set the thermostat.

As for your HVAC humidity setting in summer, 30–50% relative humidity is ideal all year round. If you struggle with humidity, a dehumidifier can help.

Summer HVAC Maintenance Tips: Hot-Weather Maintenance

In addition to regular maintenance chores, like changing your air filter at least every 90 days, maintain your HVAC in summer with these simple tips:

  • Unblock your outdoor AC unit or heat pump. Clear debris from around your outdoor unit and make sure no adventurous plants are growing into the grill. You may need to break out the weeding gloves to make sure your AC gets proper airflow. If you don’t use a bag on the lawn mower, make sure to clear away grass clippings after mowing the lawn.

  • Open your vents. Do a walkthrough of your home, checking on your vents. Make sure they’re open and unblocked by furniture or clutter, especially the return vents. You can also take this time to clean dust and other debris off your registers.

  • Empty your dehumidifier regularly. If you use a portable dehumidifier to combat muggy summer air, it needs care too! Empty the condensate bucket every other day to avoid spillover or mold.

  • Empty window AC condensate trays. All window ACs produce water as they run. Make sure that moisture doesn’t back up into your window AC unit by emptying the tray daily or every few days, depending on how large the condensation tray is.


What to Do if You Notice Your HVAC Freezing up in Summer

Your outdoor AC unit may ice over in the summer due to poor airflow, dirty condenser coils, or leaking refrigerant. Check that your air filter isn’t dirty (or replace it, just to be safe), and open all vents in your home to ensure airflow. Set your HVAC to “off” to allow the ice to melt.

If you smell a sweet chemical scent, leave your AC off and call for emergency HVAC service because you likely have a dangerous refrigerant leak. Otherwise, switch the air back on once the unit’s thawed, which takes about 24 hours (or less if the ice is light and the day is hot). If it ices again, turn it off and schedule professional AC maintenance to clean the coils.

Should I Get an HVAC Summer Tune-up?

Typically, we recommend scheduling regular HVAC tune-ups in the spring and fall, to prepare your system for the temperature extremes of summer and winter. If the spring AC or heat pump tune-up slipped your mind, schedule service right away to ensure your HVAC runs at its best for the rest of the summer.

Supplementing DIY Summer HVAC Tips with Professional Care

When things go sideways and your home is losing its cool, the good news is that the trained pros at One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning of Cincinnati are ready to help.

Is your AC not running? We can fix that. Need a new heat pump? We can install it. Are weird noises coming from the vents? We’ll take a look! When you need fast service, call us at (513) 815-3460: or book online.