Summer is here, and the blazing heat will be arriving soon. Your air conditioner works hard during the summer months. Here are a few tips and tricks to lower your bills, save energy, keep cool and comfortable, and maximize your air conditioner’s efficiency.
1. Schedule a Tune-Up
Call an HVAC professional to inspect your unit. A full check and tune-up of your unit can help to avoid unexpected repairs. A tune-up consists of a full check of the unit and HVAC system, a cleaning, a check you have enough refrigerant, and more. A tune-up will keep your unit in tip-top shape.
2. Change the Filter
It is recommended the air filter be changed out once a month and replaced. If the filter is dirty or clogged the AC system will have to work harder to get the cool air out into your home. Replacing the filter is one of the least expensive and easiest ways to save money and ensure efficiency. It is also a crucial part of keeping your entire HVAC system in good condition.
3. Throw Some Shade
In this case throwing shade is recommended and welcomed. Consider planting a few bushes or trees around the outside AC unit. If planting is not an option, consider a small fence (many home improvement stores sell fencing specifically for placing around AC units.) Air conditioners in the shade can run more efficiently as the shaded area has cooler air surrounding the unit, thus the unit will have an easier time cooling the interior air.
4. Keep it Clear
Make sure the area around the outdoor unit is clear from debris and plan the trees/shrubs about 2 to 4 feet from the unit. Blocking airflow to the unit can pose a problem. Ensure adequate air flow an make sure the unit is clear of leaves, grass clippings, etc.
5. Consider Landscaping Plans
Avoid landscaping with a lot of rocks, asphalt, or cement pavement on the south and southwest sides of your home, especially if these areas are not shaded. These areas get the most sun and with the rocks, cement, etc. it can generate heat and increase the temperature around your home, which, in turn, increases the heat inside the home. If you have cement or pavement on the south/southwest side of your home, consider planting a few trees to create some shade.
6. Install a Programmable Thermostat
Adjusting the temperature settings in your home is just one more thing you must remember. Instead of adding another chore to your list consider installing a programmable or smart thermostat and set the temperatures appropriately based on when the home is empty, when you are sleeping, etc.
7. Turn it Up
Each degree you place your thermostat below 78 degrees increases your energy consumption by about 8%. Every degree above 78 saves you 8%.
8. Keep it Cool
The thermostat senses the surrounding temperature, if you have heat-generating appliances (lamp, refrigerator, etc.) placed close to your home’s thermostat location it can affect the temperature of the area and cause the air conditioner to run longer and more than it needs to. Additionally, if the sun shines directly on the thermostat it can cause the temperature to increase, and in turn cause the AC to run longer and more. Get some curtains and move the lamps!
9. Create a Breeze
If your home has ceiling fans, make sure they run counterclockwise in the summer. This will push the cool air down. Running a ceiling fan for a half day is about $1.50 a month versus $25 a month to run the AC a half day.
10. Weatherize Your Windows
Keep the cold air in and keep the hot air out. Seal air leaks around your windows and doors with caulking or weather-stripping. Add some insulation around the AC ducts.
Additionally, consider installing tinted window film to keep the sun from cooking the inside of your home.
Keep calm and keep cool this summer!