13 Air Conditioning Efficiency Tips for Homeowners

You may not think twice about turning up the air conditioning when it’s hot outside—until you see your energy bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the average U.S. home’s annual 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 expenditures.

    1. Prioritize routine service: Dirt and debris accumulate in your air conditioner over time, lowering efficiency. Schedule annual maintenance to have a technician clean your unit’s coils, switch out the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving pieces and more. An annual inspection also enables your technician to identify and fix any potential issues before they become significant problems.
    1. Keep the outdoor unit free of obstructions: Loose dirt and nearby flowers growing around your air conditioner can restrict airflow and make the system work harder. Look at the unit throughout the summer, pruning back vegetation and removing debris as needed to keep your cooling system functioning effectively.
    1. Install a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat permits you to set automatic temperatures based on your routine. In the warm months, program a higher temperature when you’re away from home 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 bypass the temperature on your programmable thermostat, try turning on a fan or shedding a layer of clothes before you change the setting. When you need to change the temperature, do so by merely a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature will not cool your home any faster and only serves to squander electricity.
    1. Make use of the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode spreads air to prevent rooms from becoming stuffy, HVAC professionals advocate using this setting sparingly. “Auto fan” is the more efficient setting because the blower only runs when the rest of the AC does, reducing unwanted power waste.
    1. Block solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, putting in outside awnings and applying window film helps block the sun’s heat to keep your residence cooler. These methods are most useful on south- and west-facing windows where the sun shines right inside.
    1. Install the outdoor unit in the shade: Direct sunlight makes 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.
    1. Keep your air vents open: It’s a frequent misconception that closing the vents in unused rooms saves energy. The truth is, this throws off the supply and return air equilibrium, making your AC not as efficient. As a rule, keep at least 80% of your registers open continuously and make certain no vents are blocked by rugs, curtains or furniture.
    1. Use ceiling fans in conjunction with your air conditioner: Ceiling fans move air throughout the room, creating a wind chill effect that makes you feel about 4 degrees cooler. This could allow you to raise the temperature a few degrees without feeling uncomfortable, dropping your dependence on the air conditioner and bringing down your bills.
    1. Use a dehumidifier: High humidity creates a “cool but clammy” feeling, which is an uncomfortable sensation that may influence you to repeatedly lower the temperature. In fact, you need less humidity, not cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier removes excessive moisture, making your home feel more comfortable for a fraction of the cost of air conditioning.
    1. Use natural ventilation sensibly: When it’s hot and humid outside, keep your windows and doors closed to stop cool air from getting out. If you live in in a place with cool summer evenings, open the windows and doors overnight to cool off the house naturally, reducing the burden on your air conditioner.
    1. Seal air leaks: Leaky windows and doors give access to 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 belongs.
    1. Seal duct leaks: A standard home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air flowing 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 problems or big energy costs after trying out 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 newer, high-efficiency model. For your peace of mind, we support all the work that we do with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! Get in touch with a Service Experts office near you today to learn more or request air conditioning services in North America.

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