Summer is here and you may already have noticed your energy bill rising right along with the temperature. You try to hold off on turning on your A/C, but you just can’t handle the heat anymore. There has to be a way to keep that energy bill low, though, without having to suffer through the heat, right?
This blog goes through eight of the most effective ways to improve your A/C’s efficiency and keep your energy bills low.
Before turning on the A/C for the first time this season, call in an HVAC professional. A professional should inspect your A/C unit on a yearly basis. The technician can take a look at the unit’s coolant levels, wipe down the coils, and check the airflow to eliminate common issues which affect unit efficiency.
Typically you should replace your air filters once a month, depending on how quickly they get dirty. You should at least check them monthly and replace them as needed. Dust and allergens that get filtered out can clog up the filters and force your A/C to work that much harder to keep things cool.
One of the simplest ways to keep your A/C unit’s efficiency high is by making sure the outdoor portion of the unit stays in the shade. When the air around the unit stays cooler, the unit doesn’t have to work so hard to achieve the desired temperature. Plant tall grasses by the unit or place it on the side of the house that gets the least sun.
Like keeping the unit itself in the shade, the thermostat should be placed in a cooler spot as well. If the thermostat sits right behind the television, next to the lamp, or in the kitchen, it will sense the heat coming from the appliances. The thermostat then believes the entire house is that temperature and keeps the air running longer than necessary.
When everyone’s gone at work or school, don’t keep the air running in an empty house. If needed, install a programmable thermostat so you can identify the hours your air needs to be running and the hours it should be off so you don’t have to remember on your way out the door.
If your house has ceiling fans, run them. Ceiling fans use significantly less energy than your air conditioner, and they keep the air moving so rooms don’t get too stuffy. You can even switch the ceiling fans to run counterclockwise which will push cool air down.
Far too often, there are little gaps in your house that let the cool air from the A/C outside. Check the seams around all the windows and outside doors and use caulking and weather stripping to seal up leaks. Insulate the ducts of the A/C system as well. Make sure your home is air tight.
If your A/C unit is older, it might be time to go ahead and replace it. Newer, more efficient models come out regularly and are all guaranteed to last you a good long while. Pay attention to the SEER rating (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) and remember that the Department of Energy sets the minimum rating at 13.
Set an appointment with an HVAC professional today to get your unit inspected. Ask this professional what he would recommend to make the unit more efficient and when you should replace it. Don’t spend all your savings on keeping your house comfortable this summer—simply follow these tips.