13 Air Conditioning Efficiency Tips for Homeowners
You might not think twice about turning up the air conditioning when it’s sweltering outside—until you see your power bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the everyday U.S. home’s 12-month energy expenditures and up to 70% of your utility expenses during the summer. If you’re sick of paying too much for air conditioning, follow these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly bills.
- Prioritize routine servicing: Dirt and debris collect in your air conditioner over time, lowering efficiency. Schedule annual maintenance to have a professional clean your unit’s coils, replace the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving parts and more. A yearly inspection also makes it possible for your tech to identify and fix any potential issues before they become major problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of obstructions: Loose dirt and nearby flowers growing around your air conditioner can reduce airflow and make the system work harder. Examine the unit throughout the summer, trimming back vegetation and sweeping up debris as needed to keep your cooling system functioning correctly.
- Buy a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat allows you to set automatic temperatures based on your lifestyle. In the warm months, program a higher temperature when you’re away from your house or apartment and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you get back. This reduces energy consumption and saves money without sacrificing comfort.
- Try to avoid overriding programmed settings: While you can always bypass the temperature on your programmable thermostat, try turning on a fan or taking off a layer of clothes before you change the setting. When you need to change the temperature, do so by only a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature will not cool your home any quicker and only serves to waste energy.
- Make use of the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode spreads air to prevent rooms from becoming stuffy, HVAC professionals suggest using this setting sparingly. “Auto fan” is the more efficient setting because the blower only runs when the rest of the AC does, avoiding unnecessary energy waste.
- Block solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, installing outside awnings and applying window film helps block the sun’s heat to keep your home cooler. These techniques are most useful on south- and west-facing windows where the sun shines directly in.
- Install the outdoor part of your system in the shade: Direct sunlight causes your system to work harder and reduces efficiency. So if you can, position the condensing unit so it’s out of the direct sunlight in the afternoon.
- Keep your air vents open: It’s a often-held misconception that closing the vents in rarely used rooms conserves energy. The truth is, this throws off the supply and return air symmetry, making your AC less efficient. As a rule, keep at least 80% of your registers open all of the time and ensure that no vents are obstructed by rugs, curtains or furniture.
- Use ceiling fans in tandem with your air conditioner: Ceiling fans move air throughout the room, generating a wind chill effect that makes you feel about 4 degrees cooler. This might allow you to increase the temperature a few degrees without feeling hot, reducing your dependence on the air conditioner and lowering your bills.
- Use a dehumidifier: High humidity causes a “cool but clammy” feeling, which is an uncomfortable sensation that may force you to repeatedly lower the temperature. In reality, you need less humidity, not cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier removes excess moisture, making your home feel more comfortable for a fraction of the cost of air conditioning.
- Use natural ventilation carefully: When it’s hot and humid outside, keep your windows and doors closed to prevent cool air from getting out. If you reside in in an area with cool summer evenings, open the windows and doors at night to cool off the house naturally, reducing the load 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 in the house where it is supposed to be.
- Seal duct leaks: A typical home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air moving through it to leaks, holes and badly connected ducts. Hire a professional to seal your ductwork and put a stop to this energy waste.
If you still have comfort issues or big energy costs after implementing these tips, turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for help. We are able to diagnose and repair air conditioning problems, provide preventative maintenance, or replace your outdated, poorly performing system with a brand-new, high-efficiency model. For your security, we stand behind all the work that we do with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! Call a Service Experts office near you today to learn more or request air conditioning services in North America.
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