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10 Ways to Improve Air Conditioning Efficiency = SAVE Money!

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.

84% of all homes in the United States have some kind of air conditioning.

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!

Here are 10 ways to improve the efficiency of your A/C unit:

1 – Clean around the outdoor condenser unit.

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.

2 – Clean indoor vents.

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.

3 – Don’t create unnecessary heat on hot days.

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.

TIP: Keep any heat producing appliances (even lamps and the TV!) away from your thermostat. They will create enough heat to trigger your thermostat to call for cooling when it’s not really needed.

4 – Don’t create unnecessary heat on hot days.

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.

5 – Keep filters clean.

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.

6 – Insulate any exposed ductwork. 

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.  

7 – Block out heat from entering your interior spaces.

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.

8 – Turn up the thermostat slightly, and leave it there.

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.

9 – Get a programmable thermostat.

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.

Programmable thermostats save homeowners up to $180 per year. Install one as soon as possible.

10 – Have your air conditioning unit professionally inspected and serviced annually.

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.

Air conditioners that go through regular maintenance last 40% longer.