13 Air Conditioning Efficiency Tips for Homeowners

You might not think twice about turning up the air conditioning when it’s sweltering outside—until you see your electric bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the everyday U.S. home’s annual energy expenditures and up to 70% of your utility spending during the summer. If you’re frustrated by spending too much for air conditioning, try these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly expenditures.

    1. Prioritize routine servicing: Dirt and debris accumulate in your air conditioner over time, reducing efficiency. Make appointments for annual maintenance to have a technician clean your unit’s coils, exchange the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving elements and more. A once-per-year inspection also allows your technician to discover and fix any potential issues before they become significant problems.
    1. Keep the outdoor unit free of obstructions: Loose debris and nearby plants growing around your air conditioner can reduce airflow and make the system work harder. Look at the unit throughout the summer, trimming back vegetation and removing debris as needed to keep your cooling system functioning correctly.
    1. Set up 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 your house or apartment and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you get back. This reduces energy consumption and saves money without sacrificing comfort.
    1. Try to avoid overriding programmed settings: While you can always override the temperature on your programmable thermostat, try turning on a fan or taking off a layer of clothes before you change the setting. When you want to change the temperature, do so by merely a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature won’t cool your home any more rapidly and only serves to needlessly consume power.
    1. Utilize the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode circulates air to prevent 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 needless power waste.
    1. Stop solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, putting in outdoor awnings and applying window film helps block the sun’s heat to keep your home cooler. These methods are most useful on south- and west-facing windows where the sun shines directly inside the house.
    1. Install the outdoor unit in the shade: Direct sunlight can force your system to work harder and reduces efficiency. So if you can, position the condensing unit so it’s shaded in the afternoon.
    1. Keep your air vents open: It’s a often-held misconception that closing the vents in rarely used rooms helps you to save energy. The truth is, this throws off the supply and return air balance, making your AC much less efficient. Generally speaking, keep at least 80% of your registers open all the time and ensure that no vents are hindered by rugs, curtains or furniture.
    1. Use ceiling fans along with your air conditioner: Ceiling fans circulate air throughout the room, creating a wind chill effect that makes you feel about 4 degrees cooler. This could allow you to turn up the temperature a few degrees without feeling uncomfortable, reducing your dependence on the air conditioner and minimizing your bills.
    1. Use a dehumidifier: High humidity creates a “cool but clammy” feeling, which is an uncomfortable sensation that may force you to routinely lower the temperature. Actually, you need less humidity, rather than cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier eliminates excessive moisture, making your home feel more comfortable for a fraction of the cost of air conditioning.
    1. Use natural ventilation carefully: When it’s hot and humid outside, keep your windows and doors closed to prevent cool air from leaking out. If you are living in in a place with cool summer evenings, open the windows and doors at night to cool off the house naturally, reducing the load on your air conditioner.
    1. Seal air leaks: Leaky windows and doors let hot summer air inside of the house even when closed, making it more difficult 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 inside of it to leaks, holes and shoddily connected ducts. Reach out to a professional to seal your ductwork and put an end to this energy waste.

If you still have comfort problems or large energy costs after trying out these tips, turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for help. We can diagnose and repair air conditioning issues, provide preventative maintenance, or replace your outdated, poorly performing system with a new, high-efficiency model. For your ease of mind, we stand behind everything we do with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! Reach out to a Service Experts office near you today to learn more or request air conditioning services in North America.

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