13 Air Conditioning Efficiency Tips for Homeowners

You might not think twice about cranking up the air conditioning when it’s scorching hot outside—until you see your power bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the average U.S. home’s 12-month energy expenditures and up to 70% of your utility expenses during the summer. If you’re tired of overpaying for air conditioning, try these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly bills.

    1. Prioritize routine upkeep: Dirt and debris collect in your air conditioner over time, reducing efficiency. Make appointments for annual maintenance to have a specialist clean your unit’s coils, switch out the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving elements and more. A once-per-year inspection also allows your tech to find and fix any potential issues before they become significant problems.
    1. Keep the outdoor unit free of blockages: Loose dirt and nearby flowers growing around your air conditioner can minimize airflow and make the system work harder. Check the unit throughout the summer, trimming back vegetation and removing debris as needed to keep your cooling system working effectively.
    1. Set up a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat enables you to set automatic temperatures based on your lifestyle. In the summer, 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. Stay away from overriding programmed settings: While you can always bypass 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 change the temperature, do so by only a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature will not cool your home any faster and only serves to waste electricity.
    1. Make use of the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode spreads 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, preventing unwanted power waste.
    1. Prevent solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, installing 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 straight inside.
    1. Install the outdoor unit 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 out of the direct sunlight in the afternoon.
    1. Keep your air vents open: It’s a often-held misconception that closing the vents in empty rooms conserves energy. The truth is, 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 all of the time and ensure that no vents are blocked by rugs, curtains or furniture.
    1. Use ceiling fans in tandem 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 may allow you to raise the temperature a few degrees without feeling unpleasant, 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 compel you to routinely lower the temperature. In reality, you need less humidity, not necessarily 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 sensibly: When it’s hot and humid outside, keep your windows and doors closed to stop cool air from leaking 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 let hot summer air inside of the house 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 where it is supposed to be.
    1. Seal duct leaks: An average home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air inside of 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 extreme energy bills after trying out these tips, turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for help. We are able to diagnose and repair air conditioning issues, provide preventative maintenance, or replace your outdated, poorly performing system with a new, high-efficiency model. For your peace of mind, we back all the work that 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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