13 Air Conditioning Efficiency Tips for Homeowners

You may not think twice about cranking up the air conditioning when it’s warm outside—until you see your electricity bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the everyday U.S. home’s annual energy expenses and up to 70% of your utility costs during the summer. If you’re frustrated by overpaying for air conditioning, follow these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly bills.

    1. Prioritize routine service: Dirt and debris accumulate in your air conditioner over time, reducing efficiency. Plan annual maintenance to have a professional clean your unit’s coils, exchange the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving pieces and more. A yearly inspection also enables your tech to discover and fix any potential issues before they become major problems.
    1. Keep the outdoor unit free of obstructions: Loose dirt and nearby trees growing around your air conditioner can reduce airflow and make the system work harder. Check the unit throughout the summer, pruning back vegetation and cleaning up debris as needed to keep your cooling system operating effectively.
    1. Put in a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat enables you to set automatic temperatures based on your schedule. 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 return. This reduces energy consumption and saves money without sacrificing comfort.
    1. Try to avoid overriding programmed settings: While you can always override the temperature on your programmable thermostat, try turning on a fan or shedding a layer of clothes before you change the setting. When you have to change the temperature, do so by just a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature will not cool your home any faster and only serves to needlessly consume electricity.
    1. Utilize the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode moves 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, avoiding unnecessary electricity waste.
    1. Stop solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, putting in outdoor awnings and applying window film helps block the sun’s heat to keep your house cooler. These techniques are most useful on south- and west-facing windows where the sun shines straight inside the house.
    1. Install the outdoor part of your system in the shade: Direct sunlight makes your system to work harder and reduces efficiency. So if you can, position the condensing unit so it’s in the shade in the afternoon.
    1. Keep your air vents open: It’s a common misconception that closing the vents in unused rooms saves energy. The truth is, this throws off the supply and return air equilibrium, making your AC less efficient. As a rule, keep at least 80% of your registers open continuously and ensure that no vents are blocked by rugs, curtains or furniture.
    1. Use ceiling fans in conjunction with your air conditioner: Ceiling fans distribute air throughout the room, producing 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 hot, lowering your dependence on the air conditioner and minimizing your bills.
    1. Use a dehumidifier: High humidity causes a “cool but clammy” feeling, which is an uncomfortable sensation that may compel you to routinely lower the temperature. Actually, you need less humidity, not cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier removes 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 restrict cool air from leaking out. If you are living in somewhere 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 allow hot summer air indoors even when closed, making it much harder and more expensive to keep things cool. Seal leaks with caulk and weatherstripping to keep conditioned air inside of your home where it needs to be.
    1. Seal duct leaks: A standard home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air inside of it to leaks, holes and shoddily connected ducts. Call a professional to seal your ductwork and put an end to this energy waste.

If you still have comfort issues or large energy costs after trying out these tips, turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for help. We will diagnose and repair air conditioning issues, provide preventative maintenance, or replace your outdated, poorly performing system with a brand-new, high-efficiency model. For your ease of mind, we stand behind every single thing 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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