The cost of air conditioners can be high, but it doesn’t have to be. Too many households simply run their AC units which out giving them much thought, and that can lead to higher energy bills. There are actually a number of money-saving strategies you can employ to keep your house cool and your costs down this summer.
Here are some tips that will help you have a more energy efficient air conditioner.
The best thing you can do to improve efficiency is to keep up with your air conditioning maintenance.
To start, it’s a good idea to have your AC unit serviced every spring after it’s been sitting unused all winter. An air conditioning repair technician will examine your entire system to ensure everything is working properly. This will also help identify any issues that might cause problems or reduce efficiency over the summer. If anything is wrong, the repair tech can fix it before summer so everything is ready to go when the heat arrives.
There are also a number of maintenance tasks you can perform yourself to make sure you have an efficient air conditioner.
First, you’ll want to keep your AC unit clean at all times. Any excess debris can hurt the air conditioner’s performance and even cause it to overheat. Check your outdoor unit for any leaves, dirt, or excessive vegetation that’s growing nearby and clear away anything that’s blocking the vents. Dust your indoor unit regularly to keep it clean and free of debris.
Next, you’ll want to check the evaporator coils and condenser coils and clean them as needed. These coils are responsible for absorbing heat inside your house and then dumping it outside. If these coils get covered in dirt then they aren’t able to do their job as effectively. Your air conditioner will have to work longer and harder to cool your house, leading to a higher energy bill. Use coil cleaner (available at your local hardware store) to keep the coils clean.
Every 1-3 months you should check the filter. This filter is designed to catch dust and debris in order to stop it from circulating in your house. If the filter gets clogged your AC unit’s performance will start to suffer. Remove the filter and have a look. If there’s excessive dust and dirt you’ll either need to clean it or change it, depending on what kind of filter your air conditioner uses. Some filters can be cleaned, while others must be replaced, so check your owner’s manual if you don’t know which one you have. To clean the filter, you can either vacuum it or wash it in warm water. Make sure it’s completely dry before putting it back.
Finally, monitor your air conditioner’s performance throughout the summer. If you notice the air coming out of your AC unit isn’t as cold as it used to be, or it’s taking longer to cool your house, you may need to recharge the coolant. Low coolant levels can greatly hinder your air conditioners ability to cool the air, which drastically decreases efficiency. If you suspect your air conditioner is low on coolant call a licensed HVAC repair technician.
Another way to make sure you have an energy saving air conditioner is to pick the right sized AC unit for your home.
Some say bigger is better, but that’s not the case when it comes to air conditioning. Using an air conditioner that’s too large may provide you with a cool house, but it will also mean higher energy bills. Larger units use more energy, so there’s no need to purchase an air conditioner that’s too big when a smaller one will do just as good a job.
Likewise, purchasing an AC unit that’s too small will mean your air conditioner is overworked. It will constantly be trying cool your home and will likely never be able to cool all areas of your home down to your desired temperature. You’ll also probably end up with uneven cooling, with some areas of your home being cool, while other areas are still hot.
When deciding how big your air conditioner needs to be, start by determining the square footage of your home. It takes approximately 25 BTUs to cool one square foot, so multiply your total square footage by 25. If your ceilings are higher than 8 feet multiply the total by 1.25. Once you have the total BTUs you should be able to determine how large your AC unit should be.
To make sure you’re purchasing the right sized air conditioner, it’s a good idea to get a consultation from an HVAC specialist. They’ll be able to survey your house and design a system that’s both efficient and the perfect size for your home.
If your air conditioner is more than 10 years old, you may want to consider upgrading it. Older technology is less efficient than newer models, and general wear and tear over time will start to decrease the efficiency of your unit. A new AC unit may seem like an unneeded expense, but in the long run it could actually save you money by decreasing your energy bills.
Besides age, here are a few other signs that your unit should be replaced with a more energy efficient air conditioner:
Even an energy efficient air conditioner can become inefficient if you use it in an irresponsible way. Here are a few tips to ensure you save as much money as possible while you run your AC unit.
First, decide on a temperature and stick to it. Constantly adjusting the thermostat and turning the air conditioner on and off is taxing on the system. It also uses an unnecessary amount of energy.
Second, make sure you keep the cold air inside. Close all doors and windows when you’re running your air conditioner. You may also want to go outside and check door and window seals to see if any cold air is leaking out. Caulk around leaky windows and add additional insulation to doors to ensure you’re not losing any cold air.
Third, raise the temperature when you’re not at home. There’s a common misconception that you should always keep your house the same temperature even when your not there so your AC unit doesn’t have to work hard to re-cool the house. This isn’t true. Test have shown that you’ll save money if you raise the temperature when you’re away and then turn it back down when you get home.
Finally, always set your thermostat to the highest temperature you can stand to help cut down on energy costs. Even setting the temperature a couple of degrees higher can make a big difference on your energy bill.
Don’t let your air conditioner run up your electricity usage. As you can see, there are a number of ways to save on energy while you continue to keep your house cool. By following the steps above you can always make sure your AC unit is running at peak efficiency.
If you have any questions or concerns for the professionals here at Romaniuk don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re always happy to help.