13 Air Conditioning Efficiency Tips for Homeowners

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

    1. Prioritize routine servicing: Dirt and debris build up in your air conditioner over time, reducing efficiency. Schedule annual maintenance to have a technician clean your unit’s coils, switch out the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving elements and more. An annual inspection also makes it possible for your serviceman to identify and fix any potential issues before they become major problems.
    1. Keep the outdoor unit free of blockages: Loose dirt and nearby vegetation 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 cleaning up debris as needed to keep your cooling system functioning effectively.
    1. Put in a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat permits you to set automatic temperatures based on your routine. In the summer, program a higher temperature when you’re away from your residence and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you get back. This reduces energy consumption and saves money without sacrificing comfort.
    1. Stay away from overriding programmed settings: While you could 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 have to adjust the temperature, do so by merely a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature will not cool your home any more rapidly and only serves to waste energy.
    1. Make use of the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode circulates air to stop rooms from becoming stuffy, HVAC professionals suggest using this setting sparingly. “Auto fan” is the more efficient setting because the blower only runs when the rest of the AC does, reducing needless electricity waste.
    1. Block solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, getting outside awnings and applying window film helps block the sun’s heat to keep your home cooler. These techniques are most useful on south- and west-facing windows where the sun shines straight in.
    1. Install the outdoor part of your system in the shade: Direct sunlight can force your system to work harder and reduces efficiency. So if feasible, position the condensing unit so it’s shaded in the afternoon.
    1. Keep your air vents open: It’s a common 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 symmetry, making your AC less efficient. Generally speaking, keep at least 80% of your registers open at all times and make certain no vents are hindered by rugs, curtains or furniture.
    1. Use ceiling fans in conjunction 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 might allow you to raise the temperature a few degrees without feeling unpleasant, reducing 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 force you to frequently lower the temperature. Actually, you need less humidity, not necessarily cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier removes unwanted 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 restrict cool air from leaking out. If you live in in a place with cool summer evenings, open the windows and doors at night to cool off the house naturally, reducing the strain on your air conditioner.
    1. Seal air leaks: Leaky windows and doors let hot summer air indoors even when closed, making it much harder and more expensive to keep things cool. Seal leaks with caulk and weatherstripping to keep conditioned air in the house where it is supposed to be.
    1. Seal duct leaks: A standard home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air inside of it to leaks, holes and shoddily connected ducts. Hire a professional to seal your ductwork and stop this energy waste.

If you still have comfort troubles or large energy expenses after trying out these tips, turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for help. We can 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 stand behind everything 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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