13 Air Conditioning Efficiency Tips for Homeowners

You may very well not think twice about cranking up the air conditioning when it’s scorching hot outside—until you see your electric bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the everyday U.S. home’s yearly energy expenses and up to 70% of your utility costs during the summer. If you’re tired of paying too much for air conditioning, try these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly bills.

    1. Prioritize routine upkeep: Dirt and debris collect in your air conditioner over time, reducing efficiency. Schedule annual maintenance to have a technician 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 find and fix any potential issues before they become severe problems.
    1. Keep the outdoor unit free of blockages: 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 working properly.
    1. Install a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat permits you to set automatic temperatures based on your lifestyle. In the summer, program a higher temperature when you’re away from your house or apartment and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you return. This reduces energy consumption and saves money without sacrificing comfort.
    1. Avoid overriding programmed settings: While you could override the temperature on your programmable thermostat, try turning on a fan or removing a layer of clothes before you change the setting. When you need to adjust the temperature, do so by only a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature will not cool your home any faster and only serves to waste electricity.
    1. Use the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode moves air to keep rooms from becoming stuffy, HVAC professionals recommend using this setting sparingly. “Auto fan” is the more efficient setting because the blower only runs when the rest of the AC does, preventing unnecessary power waste.
    1. Stop solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, putting in exterior awnings and applying window film helps block the sun’s heat to keep your residence cooler. These strategies are most useful on south- and west-facing windows where the sun shines straight inside the house.
    1. Install the outdoor part of your system in the shade: Direct sunlight causes your system to work harder and lowers efficiency. So if feasible, position the condensing unit so it’s out of the direct sunlight in the afternoon.
    1. Keep your air vents open: It’s a frequent misconception that closing the vents in unused rooms conserves energy. The truth is, this throws off the supply and return air equilibrium, making your AC less efficient. As a rule, keep at least 80% of your registers open continuously and make sure no vents are hindered by rugs, curtains or furniture.
    1. Use ceiling fans along 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 may allow you to turn up the temperature a few degrees without feeling hot, lowering your dependence on the air conditioner and lowering your bills.
    1. Use a dehumidifier: High humidity causes a “cool but clammy” feeling, which is an uncomfortable sensation that may influence you to frequently lower the temperature. Actually, you need less humidity, rather than 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.
    1. Use natural ventilation wisely: When it’s hot and humid outside, keep your windows and doors closed to stop cool air from getting out. If you are living in in an area with cool summer evenings, open the windows and doors during the night to cool off the house naturally, reducing the burden on your air conditioner.
    1. Seal air leaks: Leaky windows and doors let hot summer air indoors even when closed, making it harder and more expensive to keep things cool. Seal leaks with caulk and weatherstripping to keep conditioned air inside where it needs to be.
    1. Seal duct leaks: A typical home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air moving 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 extreme energy expenses 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 new, high-efficiency model. For your confidence, we support 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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