Your air conditioner is one of the most useful appliances in your home. When temperatures rise, your A/C comes to your rescue. It works round the clock to maintain a comfortable house temperature and indoor air quality.
Air conditioners consume more electricity than fans. While a slight rise in cooling costs can be expected during summer, a steep rise in energy bills is something to worry about.
Follow these simple yet effective tips to lower your air conditioning bill this summer.
Stay On Top of Maintenance
The importance of routine maintenance cannot be emphasized enough. Have your system inspected and maintained by a certified and experienced technician once a year (bi-annually if you have pets, kids or senior citizens at home, or your A/C runs for extended periods).
During a maintenance session, your technician will clean filters, fins, A/C drain, and evaporator coil and condenser. The professional will look for and address current and potential issues that can drag down the efficiency of your air conditioner or cut short its service life.
Reduce Heat Gain in Your Home
The more heat your house gains, the harder your A/C will have to work. To prevent heat gain, keep curtains, blinds, and shades drawn during the hottest times of the day. Use light-colored treatments and reflective shades.
When operating your air conditioner, do not use your laptop, TV, oven, or other heat-emitting devices. Consider using your microwave instead of the oven to cook food.
Having heat-producing appliances such as lamps or ovens near your thermostat will tell your thermostat that your home needs more cooling. This will cause the A/C to work harder.
To steer clear of this issue, keep lamps, ovens, and other heat-producing appliances as far away from your thermostat as possible.
Switch to a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat is designed to adjust home heating and cooling requirements according to a pre-set schedule. To save energy, set your home temperature 7-10 degrees more than the recommended base temperature when no one is home.
Do not set your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when using your A/C. If used correctly, a programmable thermostat can help you save on your cooling bills.
An average home can lose up to 30 percent of its heating and cooling energy through leaks around windows. To prevent cool air from escaping through gaps, weatherstrip your windows. Replace old windows and the ones that are beyond repair with new, energy-efficient windows.
Keep Your Supply Vents and Registers Clean
Unclean vents and registers can drag down the efficiency of your air conditioner. To prevent this from happening, regularly vacuum them. Get rid of unused vents. To ensure your A/C does not have to work harder to move conditioned air, keep every register open.
If you think there are areas in your home that do not require constant cooling, ask your technician to create zones within your HVAC system. A zoned HVAC system will give you greater control over temperature and airflow without compromising efficiency.
Use Ceiling Fans
Though ceiling fans cannot lower the temperature, they generate a cooling effect. When the temperature drops, you can turn up your thermostat.
Make Changing Filters a Priority, Not an Afterthought
Every air conditioner has at least one filter. An A/C filter is designed to trap contaminants such as dander, pollen, dust, and dirt particles in the air. Clogged filters are unable to perform this critical task.
Air conditioners with clogged filters are unable to cool properly. They also fail to eliminate common contaminants in indoor air before recirculating it and contribute to unhealthy air. A/Cs with unclean filters draw more energy to meet the cooling demands in homes.
Turning a blind eye to the problem will only make things worse, and you may end up spending a ton of money on expensive repairs. To protect your pocket and HVAC system, check and replace your filters once every three months.
If you have pets or senior citizens at home, consider replacing your filters more frequently (once a month). Use high-efficiency pleated filters with a considerable amount of dust-holding capacity.
Invest in an Energy Recovery Ventilator
An energy recovery ventilator or ERV is designed to improve airflow by flushing out stale air and drawing in the fresh air. ERVs also help lower humidity and trap energy from the outgoing air. This energy is used to pre-condition the incoming air.
Check and Insulate Ductwork
Exposed ductwork can leak conditioned air, forcing your A/C to work harder. To prevent this from happening, look for and fix visible leaks with a specialized UL181-rated duct-sealing tape. When selecting insulating material for your ductwork, the most important thing to consider is its thickness.
Some leaks may go unnoticed. Make sure to have your ductwork checked by your technician during every scheduled maintenance visit.
Clean Around Your A/C’s Outdoor Condenser Unit
The importance of maintaining an air conditioner’s condenser unit cannot be emphasized enough. Keep at least three feet area around your condenser free. Trim vegetation. Regularly remove debris, leaves, and twigs. Clean condenser with a commercial coil cleaner. Straighten or replace bent fins.
Make an Upgrade
An air conditioner system can last for 10-15 years. If your A/C is beyond repair or approaching the end of its service life, consider replacing it. If you are concerned about the high upfront cost of a new A/C, let us tell you that a new air conditioner will need fewer repairs and operate more efficiently than an old system, meaning you will save more in the long run.
Is your A/C not cooling properly? Let the experts at Connolly Heating and Air Conditioning take a look. We specialize in air conditioning repair in Walnut Creek. Whatever the make, model, and size of your A/C, we will come up with a cost-effective and sustainable solution. To schedule an inspection, call us at (925) 288-1408.