13 Air Conditioning Efficiency Tips for Homeowners

You might not think twice about cranking 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 yearly energy expenses and up to 70% of your utility spending during the summer. If you’re tired of paying too much for air conditioning, follow these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly expenses.

    1. Prioritize routine service: Dirt and debris accumulate in your air conditioner over time, lowering efficiency. Plan annual maintenance to have a technician clean your unit’s coils, exchange the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving elements and more. A yearly inspection also allows your tech to discover and fix any potential issues before they become significant problems.
    1. Keep the outdoor unit free of obstructions: Loose dirt and nearby weeds growing around your air conditioner can reduce airflow and make the system work harder. Check the unit throughout the summer, clipping back vegetation and sweeping up debris as needed to keep your cooling system operating properly.
    1. Put in a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat permits you to set automatic temperatures based on your lifestyle. In the summertime, program a higher temperature when you’re away from home 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 manually change 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 adjust the temperature, do so by merely a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature will never cool your home any faster and only serves to needlessly consume electricity.
    1. Make use of the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode spreads air to keep 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 unwanted power waste.
    1. Prevent solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, putting in exterior 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 right inside.
    1. Install the outdoor components in the shade: Direct sunlight can force your system to work harder and reduces efficiency. So if possible, 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. Unfortunately, this throws off the supply and return air symmetry, making your AC much less efficient. As a rule, keep at least 80% of your registers open at all times and make sure no vents are blocked by rugs, curtains or furniture.
    1. Use ceiling fans along with your air conditioner: Ceiling fans circulate 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 uncomfortable, lowering your dependence on the air conditioner and lowering your bills.
    1. Use a dehumidifier: High humidity induces a “cool but clammy” feeling, which is an uncomfortable sensation that may influence you to repeatedly 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 getting out. If you live in somewhere with cool summer evenings, open the windows and doors during the night to cool off the house naturally, reducing the load on your air conditioner.
    1. Seal air leaks: Leaky windows and doors allow hot summer air indoors even when closed, making it more challenging and more expensive to keep things cool. Seal leaks with caulk and weatherstripping to keep conditioned air inside of your home where it should be.
    1. Seal duct leaks: A standard home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air flowing through it to leaks, holes and badly connected ducts. Reach out to a professional to seal your ductwork and put a stop to this energy waste.

If you still have comfort issues or big 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 new, high-efficiency model. For your security, we back 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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