How to Help Your Air Conditioner Run More Efficiently

As the warmer months approach, you may wonder how to keep your home cool and comfortable without skyrocking your utility bills. The secret lies in using your air conditioning unit more effectively. Follow these 12 simple tips and strategies to keep your air conditioning unit in optimal condition, reduce energy consumption and save money.

1. Leave the Thermostat Alone

Repeatedly adjusting the thermostat makes your AC work harder, elevating energy consumption and causing excessive wear and tear. To optimize efficiency, set the temperature at a comfortable level—preferably around 78 degrees F (25 degrees C)—when you’re home. After that, refrain from touching it. If you get too warm, peel away} a layer of clothing, spray water on your skin or turn on a fan to cool off without turning down the temperature.

2. Set the Temperature Back When You’re Away

For maximum savings, set the temperature 7-10 degrees higher than your usual setting for at least eight hours per day. To help you “set it and forget it,” it might be a good idea to consider installing a programmable thermostat. This simple upgrade allows you to schedule temperatures based on your day-to-day routines, automatically changing the temperature to create a comfortable home when you’re there and conserving energy when you’re out.

3. Keep the Curtains Closed

Solar heat gain from direct sunlight forces your cooling system to work more than it has to. To minimize heat gain, close the curtains over your south- and west-facing windows during the hottest part of the day. Window coverings with light-colored backings work the best at reflecting the sun’s rays.

4. Keep the Vents Open

Covered or closed air vents throw off your air conditioning system’s supply/return air balance, decreasing efficiency and increasing operating costs. To avoid this, always keep at least 80 percent of your supply registers open and make certain no return vents are hindered by curtains, furniture or rugs.

5. Create Airflow with Fans

Running fans in combination with your air conditioning system circulates cool air more, making your home feel more comfortable while barely increasing energy consumption. Ceiling fans, in particular, create a wind chill effect that makes the room feel about 4 degrees cooler, enabling you to set the temperature higher without sacrificing comfort.

6. Get Rid of Hot and Humid Air

Cooking and showering produce heat and moisture. Turn on your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans during these activities to decrease your home’s cooling burden. Also, make sure your clothes dryer vents to the outdoors to deter hot, humid air from releasing into your house.

7. Use a Dehumidifier

Elevated humidity levels cause your home to feel cool but clammy, tempting you to decrease the temperature. A dehumidifier takes away unwanted moisture, making your home feel cooler and more comfortable while consuming much less electricity than running the air conditioner.

8. Install Your Outdoor AC Unit in the Shade

The outdoor unit’s location affects its operation dramatically. Installing it on your home’s north or east side shelters it in the afternoon for more effective heat transfer. If the unit gets direct sunlight at the hottest part of the day, consider planting a tree or using a screen to shade it. Just make sure that any plant or structure you add doesn’t impede airflow.

9. Save Your Chores for the Evening

Cooking, laundry and dishwashing cause indoor heat gain, making your HVAC system work harder. Completing these tasks at night when temperatures aren’t as high reduces the cooling load during the hottest part of the day and saves energy.

10. Replace the Air Filter

A clogged filter limits airflow and increases energy consumption, so switch it out on a regular basis to promote optimal performance. Many basic filters should be replaced every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the correct replacement schedule for your product.

11. Seal and Insulate the Ductwork

Leaky, uninsulated ducts waste significant amounts of energy, especially if they run through unconditioned areas such as the attic, crawl space or garage. Sealing and insulating your ductwork increases system efficiency and reduces energy costs.

12. Schedule Preventative AC Maintenance

Scheduled tune-ups are crucial to keep your AC running efficiently. Hire a licensed technician to inspect, clean and service your system every spring. This proactive measure extends your air conditioner’s life span, reduces energy consumption, and allows the technician to uncover and address potential issues before they become expensive problems.

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At Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing we pride ourselves on offering comprehensive AC services, such as installation, maintenance, repair and replacement in the U.S.. Our customers choose us again and again for our unrivaled expertise and commitment to customer satisfaction. In fact, we offer a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee on every service we provide! Let our team help keep your home cool, comfortable and energy efficient this summer.

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