If you’ve lived in our area for even just a year, then you know how variable our weather is. With summer here, our air conditioners are in for a lot of work. But in reality, our air conditioners get the spotlight quite a few times of the year. So, don’t you want yours to work as efficiently as possible?
Your AC can work as efficiently as possible when it’s cared for as it should be. When it’s not, you can find yourself paying a lot more for energy than you think you should have to. Some good news is that there are five very easy ways to boost cooling efficiency this summer and keep those energy bills at a reasonable level.
1. Schedule Preventive Maintenance
If you haven’t already scheduled an air conditioner tune-up, it’s not too late! The only time it is ever too late for air conditioning maintenance is if your system has broken down completely and has no chance of being repaired. We hope you don’t reach that point!
Maintenance allows our technicians to thoroughly clean your system inside and out, make appropriate adjustments, and alert you to repair needs that might need to happen soon. (Managing these repair needs sooner than later will also help improve efficiency!)
2. Raise the Temp!
No, no—we aren’t asking you to turn up the heat! That would be counterintuitive. But here’s the thing—many homeowners make the mistake of lowering their thermostats much lower than they actually need to be, in an attempt to cool their homes down faster.
The thing is, this won’t help your system cool your home faster. All it will do is tell the compressor to run longer than it would at a higher temperature, leaving you paying for wasted energy. Most people are comfortable at 78°F, and this is the temperature setting widely recommended by Energy.gov and other sources.
3. Check for Obstructions Outside
The outdoor unit of your air conditioner is responsible for exhausting the heat that it removes from your home. But it cannot do this effectively if the cabinet grill is dirty, or if anything is obstructing the unit—like tree branches, brush, lawn mulch, or leaves.
You should make sure that the outdoor unit is cleared by about a foot on all sides, which will allow for proper airflow. We also recommend cleaning off any dirt or grime with a low-pressured hose.
4. Check for Obstructions Indoors
Your outdoor unit isn’t the only part of your cooling system that is at risk of losing airflow due to buildup. Your indoor vents can get dusty, or get blocked with items like furniture, backpacks, toys, etc. Clearing obstructions from the vents will help air move freely indoors, improving your comfort and AC efficiency.
5. Change Your Air Filter
The air filter that comes installed with your HVAC system is there to protect the system and the blower fan from dust and other debris that gets drawn in through the return air ducts. The filter gets congested after 1-3 months, and needs to be replaced, or cleaned if it’s a permanent filter. Otherwise, the blockage of airflow will, again, cause your system to run longer and harder—therefore inefficiently.