13 Air Conditioning Efficiency Tips for Homeowners

You may not think twice about turning up the air conditioning when it’s sweltering outside—until you see your electricity bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the typical U.S. home’s 12-month energy expenditures and up to 70% of your utility spending during the summer. If you’re sick of paying too much for air conditioning, follow these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly expenditures. 

  1. Prioritize routine maintenance: Dirt and debris collect in your air conditioner over time, reducing efficiency. Make appointments for annual maintenance to have a technician clean your unit’s coils, switch out the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving parts and more. A yearly inspection also enables your technician to discover and fix any potential issues before they become major problems. 
  2. Keep the outdoor unit free of blockages: Loose dirt and nearby weeds growing around your air conditioner can reduce airflow and make the system work harder. Examine the unit throughout the summer, pruning back vegetation and removing debris as needed to keep your cooling system working properly. 
  3. Put in a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat enables you to set automatic temperatures based on your schedule. In the warm months, program a higher temperature when you’re away from home and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you return. This reduces energy consumption and saves money without sacrificing comfort. 
  4. 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 need 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 squander electricity. 
  5. Utilize the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode spreads air to keep 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. 
  6. Prevent solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, getting outside 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 right in. 
  7. Install the outdoor part of your system in the shade: Direct sunlight makes your system to work harder and decreases efficiency. So if possible, position the condensing unit so it’s out of the direct sunlight in the afternoon.  
  8. Keep your air vents open: It’s a often-held misconception that closing the vents in unused rooms saves energy. Unfortunately, this throws off the supply and return air equilibrium, making your AC much less efficient. As a rule, keep at least 80% of your registers open continuously and ensure that no vents are obstructed by rugs, curtains or furniture. 
  9. Use ceiling fans in conjunction with your air conditioner: Ceiling fans circulate air throughout the room, producing a wind chill effect that makes you feel about 4 degrees cooler. This could allow you to increase the temperature a few degrees without feeling uncomfortable, lowering your dependence on the air conditioner and bringing down your bills. 
  10. Use a dehumidifier: High humidity causes a “cool but clammy” feeling, which is an uncomfortable sensation that may compel you to frequently lower the temperature. In fact, you need less humidity, not necessarily cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier takes away extra moisture, making your home feel more comfortable for a fraction of the cost of air conditioning. 
  11. 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 reside in in a place with cool summer evenings, open the windows and doors at night to cool off the house naturally, reducing the strain on your air conditioner. 
  12. Seal air leaks: Leaky windows and doors give access to hot summer air inside of the house 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 should be.  
  13. Seal duct leaks: An average home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air inside of it to leaks, holes and poorly connected ducts. Call a professional to seal your ductwork and halt this energy waste. 

If you still have comfort troubles or high energy costs after trying out these tips, turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for help. We can diagnose and repair air conditioning concerns, 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! 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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