13 Air Conditioning Efficiency Tips for Homeowners
You may very well not think twice about cranking up the air conditioning when it’s hot outside—until you see your power bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the typical U.S. home’s 12-month energy expenses and up to 70% of your utility costs during the summer. If you’re sick of spending too much for air conditioning, follow these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly expenditures.
- Prioritize routine service: Dirt and debris collect in your air conditioner over time, lowering efficiency. Schedule annual maintenance to have a specialist clean your unit’s coils, exchange the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving parts and more. A once-per-year inspection also enables your technician to discover and fix any potential issues before they become significant problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of blockages: Loose dirt and nearby weeds growing around your air conditioner can reduce airflow and make the system work harder. Check the unit throughout the summer, clipping back vegetation and cleaning up debris as needed to keep your cooling system operating correctly.
- Install a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat permits you to set automatic temperatures based on your schedule. In the summertime, program a higher temperature when you’re away from home and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you get back. This reduces energy consumption and saves money without sacrificing comfort.
- Avoid overriding programmed settings: While you are able to bypass the temperature on your programmable thermostat, try turning on a fan or removing a layer of clothes before you change the setting. When you have to change the temperature, do so by merely a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature will not cool your home any more rapidly and only serves to squander energy.
- Use the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode circulates air to keep rooms from becoming stuffy, HVAC professionals advocate using this setting sparingly. “Auto fan” is the more efficient setting because the blower only runs when the rest of the AC does, avoiding needless energy waste.
- Block solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, putting in outdoor awnings and applying window film helps block the sun’s heat to keep your home cooler. These methods are most useful on south- and west-facing windows where the sun shines right in.
- Install the outdoor components in the shade: Direct sunlight causes your system to work harder and decreases efficiency. So if possible, position the condensing unit so it’s in the shade in the afternoon.
- Keep your air vents open: It’s a frequent misconception that closing the vents in empty rooms conserves energy. However, this throws off the supply and return air equilibrium, making your AC much less efficient. Generally speaking, keep at least 80% of your registers open all the time and make certain no vents are hindered by rugs, curtains or furniture.
- Use ceiling fans in tandem with your air conditioner: Ceiling fans circulate air throughout the room, producing a wind chill effect that makes you feel about 4 degrees cooler. This may allow you to raise the temperature a few degrees without feeling unpleasant, dropping your dependence on the air conditioner and minimizing your bills.
- Use a dehumidifier: High humidity causes a “cool but clammy” feeling, which is an uncomfortable sensation that may force you to frequently lower the temperature. Actually, you need less humidity, rather than cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier removes unwanted moisture, making your home feel more comfortable for a fraction of the cost of air conditioning.
- Use natural ventilation wisely: When it’s hot and humid outside, keep your windows and doors closed to restrict cool air from escaping. If you reside in in an area with cool summer evenings, open the windows and doors overnight to cool off the house naturally, reducing the strain on your air conditioner.
- Seal air leaks: Leaky windows and doors allow hot summer air inside of the house even when closed, making it harder and more expensive to keep things cool. Seal leaks with caulk and weatherstripping to keep conditioned air inside of your home where it is supposed to be.
- Seal duct leaks: An average home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air flowing through it to leaks, holes and poorly connected ducts. Hire a professional to seal your ductwork and put a stop to this energy waste.
If you still have comfort issues or high energy expenses after trying out these tips, turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for help. We are able to diagnose and repair air conditioning concerns, provide preventative maintenance, or replace your outdated, poorly performing system with a brand-new, high-efficiency model. For your peace of mind, we support all the work that we do with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! Contact a Service Experts office near you today to learn more or request air conditioning services in North America.