This summer is already turning out to be a hot one! Air conditioning can provide great relief from the heat, but it also costs a lot to run. The best way to save money on air conditioning costs is to make your units as efficient as possible. More efficient units run less, using less electricity, and also cost less to maintain.
We want you to stay cool and healthy this summer, so we want to share some easy, no- or low-cost ways to improve your efficiency and save some expense on air conditioning. Even if you use window A/C units, most of these tips will help you as well!
Your outdoor equipment can get crowded with leaves and debris, clogging the air intake. You unit will work more efficiently if you clean all the debris around it regularly, and don’t plant things next to it.
Make vacuuming dust from indoor cooling vents to help the unit maintain a steady airflow. Make sure nothing is blocking the vents as well such as window treatments, furniture or other décor.
Any heat producing appliance such as the dishwasher, oven or clothes dryer will create heat and cause your system to run longer and work harder than it needs to.
Dust and dirt can build up on the indoor coil of your air conditioner. If dirt is allowed to build up, it can’t cool the air the properly.
Remember to keep your filters clean to allow your unit to run as efficiently as possible. If you have replaceable filters, replace them every month during the hottest months, and every 2-3 months during transitional seasons.
Make sure any ductwork that runs through any of your unfinished or unconditioned spaces is properly sealed. Valuable cooled air can leak though the slightest seam, wasting cooled air and causing your unit to run more. You can fix visual leaks with a specialized duct-sealing tape that is UL 181-rated. You should also have a professional check the ductwork during routine maintenance visits.
Remember your grandmother closing all the blinds and curtains on hot, sunny days? Well, she was onto something! Make sure you close window and door shades on sunny days to limit the amount of solar gain (heat) entering your house. Keep doors closed tightly, and don’t go in and out unnecessarily. Also, make sure any air leaks around doors, windows and vents are sealed.
Turning up your thermostat by just 5 degrees can save a lot of money and energy (and we promise, you won’t notice). Also, run your unit at a fairly consistent temperature. Many people think they can turn their units off during the day when they are not home, but that causes the unit to work much harder and longer to get the temperature back down to a comfortable level later, defeating the purpose of energy (cost) savings.
If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, install one for significant energy savings. Most of these thermostats are pretty easy to install yourself and require only a couple of tools and a little time to get working.
An HVAC professional can accomplish things that homeowners can’t. We clean and clear the condensate drain line, check refrigerant levels. check all connections and electrical components for safety, and lubricate moving parts. Regular air conditioning tune-ups reduce breakdowns, improve your indoor air quality and comfort level, validate manufacturer warranties, and lower energy bills.