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 electric bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the typical U.S. home’s 12-month energy costs and up to 70% of your utility costs during the summer. If you’re frustrated by paying too much for air conditioning, practice these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly bills.

    1. Prioritize routine maintenance: Dirt and debris build up in your air conditioner over time, reducing efficiency. Schedule annual maintenance to have a specialist clean your unit’s coils, switch out the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving elements and more. A yearly inspection also allows your technician to identify and fix any potential issues before they become major problems.
    1. Keep the outdoor unit free of obstructions: Loose trash 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 correctly.
    1. Put in a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat permits you to set automatic temperatures based on your schedule. In the summer, program a higher temperature when you’re away from home and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you come back. This reduces energy consumption and saves money without sacrificing comfort.
    1. Avoid overriding programmed settings: While you can always 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 have to modify the temperature, do so by merely a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature will never cool your home any more rapidly and only serves to needlessly consume power.
    1. Use the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode circulates air to stop 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, avoiding unwanted energy waste.
    1. Prevent solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, installing 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 right inside.
    1. Install the outdoor part of your system in the shade: Direct sunlight can force your system to work harder and lowers efficiency. So if feasible, 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 unused rooms conserves energy. However, this throws off the supply and return air balance, making your AC less efficient. As a rule, keep at least 80% of your registers open continuously and make sure no vents are obstructed by rugs, curtains or furniture.
    1. Use ceiling fans in conjunction with your air conditioner: Ceiling fans distribute air throughout the room, creating 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 uncomfortable, lowering 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 compel you to repeatedly lower the temperature. In fact, you need less humidity, not cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier takes away excess 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 escaping. If you live 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 in the house where it needs to be.
    1. Seal duct leaks: A standard home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air moving through it to leaks, holes and poorly connected ducts. Call a professional to seal your ductwork and put a stop to this energy waste.

If you still have comfort problems or high energy costs after employing 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 ease of mind, we support every single thing 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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