Thanks to global warming, air conditioning is no longer considered a luxury, and has become a necessity. Your air conditioner is one of the most useful and the hardest working appliances in your home. When temperatures rise, your air conditioner works round the clock to maintain a comfortable home temperature.
Air conditioners consume more energy than fans. While you can expect your electricity bill to go up marginally in summer, a steep rise is worrisome. A report by Department of Energy estimates that heating and cooling bills can make up over 50 percent of an average household’s utility expenses.
It does not take much to lower your electricity costs. Don’t let the summer heat burn a hole in your pocket. Follow these tips to reduce your electricity consumption.
Reduce Heat Gain in Your Home
The hotter your home, the harder your air conditioning system will have to work to cool it. An overworked AC will cause your energy bill to skyrocket. To prevent this from happening, take steps to keep the sun and heat out.
Keep windows closed when the sun is shining. Use light-colored blinds. Replace traditional lighting with energy-efficient lighting. Use ENERGY STAR appliances. Install awnings on west and south-facing windows to reduce heat gain by up to 77 percent. Opt for high-reflectivity window films.
To prevent solar heat gain and cool your home naturally, plant trees and climbing vines around your home. Plant shrubs as they block the heat by cooling the air through photosynthesis.
Do not use your laptop, dryer, television, oven and other appliances that produce heat when your air conditioner is in operation. Consider cooking outdoors on your BBQ in the afternoon. If this is not possible, use your microwave instead of the oven.
To ventilate spaces, open up windows and doors during the cooler times of the day (early morning, that is before sunrise; and late evening, that is after sunset).
Placing lamps and other heat-producing appliances near your thermostat will tell it that your home needs to be cooled. This will force your system to work longer and harder.
Keep Your AC Vents Clear At All Times
Clean your AC vents regularly. Get rid of dust and debris clogging indoor supply vents. Remember, an unclogged supply vent is crucial for air conditioning efficiency. Clean air vents help maintain a steady airflow. Remove any items such as blinds, furniture, and toys blocking your vents.
Set Your Thermostat as High as Comfortably Possible
For every degree of extra cooling you set below 78 degrees F, your energy consumption increases by 8 percent. To save on energy bills, set your thermostat at least 7-10 degrees (85-88 degrees F) higher when no one is home. If you sleep soundly in a warm room, raise your thermostat to a warmer setting at night.
Clean AC Heating Coils
The indoor coil of an AC is susceptible to dirt build-up. An unclean indoor coil can drag down the efficiency of your AC, forcing it to draw more electricity. To prevent this from happening, inspect and clean your indoor and outdoor coils regularly.
Seal or Replace Inefficient Windows
An average home can lose as much as 30 percent of its heating and cooling energy through window leaks. If you have poorly sealed windows in your home, they will leak conditioned air, forcing your AC to work harder. To reduce energy loss in home, caulk leaks or cracks and weatherstrip your windows.
Replace windows that are nearing the end of their service life with new, energy-efficient windows. The cost to replace old windows may be more than a repair; however, you will save more on home heating and cooling costs in the long run.
Maintain Your Outdoor Condenser Unit
Maintaining your AC’s outdoor condenser unit is as important as caring for the indoor unit. Keep the area around your unit clean. Tall grass, vines, and weeds around the condenser unit could obstruct airflow. To avoid this problem, trim vegetation around the unit.
Do not let debris accumulate. Inspect and straighten bent fins. Replace the ones that are beyond repair. Clean the condenser with a commercial coil cleaner. Use a soft brush to clean the fins. Make sure the pad on which the condenser rests is level.
Stay On Top of Maintenance
Your air conditioner, just like other household appliances, needs regular maintenance. Have your AC inspected and maintained by your technician at least once a year, even if you do not experience any problems. Remember, some AC problems are difficult to detect and can go unnoticed for long periods of time.
During maintenance sessions, your technician will:
- Check and repair different components of the system
- Clean the drain line and evaporator and condenser coils
- Check and lubricate moving parts
- Check the refrigerant levels and top off, if required
- Check the ductwork
Replace Your A/C Filters and Insulate Exposed Ductwork
An AC with clogged filters has to work harder to cool different areas of the home. To steer clear of common AC problems such as uneven airflow, inspect and change your filters every three months. If you have pets, kids or older people at home, schedule the activity more frequently (monthly).
The ductwork that runs through an unconditioned space must be adequately sealed, or it will leak the conditioned air. Use a specialized UL 181-rated duct sealing tape to fix visible leaks.
Ask your air conditioning repair expert in Petaluma to check the ductwork during your next scheduled maintenance. Insulate your ductwork using the proper thickness of insulating material.
John Owens Services, Inc. is a leading HVAC company in Santa Rosa. We have a cost-effective and sustainable solution to every heating and cooling problem. Whether you own a central air conditioning system or use a ductless mini-split air conditioner, you can count on us to deliver. To discuss your project with one of our experts, call 707-452-3464.