No matter what type of air conditioning system you have, it’s going to get a workout in the summertime. Fortunately, modern central cooling systems are very durable and are designed to deal with this kind of heat while providing us with effective and efficient cooling.
But what if your system isn’t working as efficiently as it should? Are you paying too much to cool your home? Granted, energy costs certainly rise in the summer—in fact, your HVAC use accounts for about half of all energy use in the home. But if you find yourself paying dramatically more than you were last year, or even more than your neighbors are paying for similar use, then something is causing your system to work inefficiently. So, how can you change that?
Don’t Set Your Thermostat So Low!
No, we aren’t asking you to turn on the heat during the summer. But there’s a good chance that you’re keeping your thermostat set lower than you actually need to. A lower thermostat setting won’t provide you with cooling any faster, it will only keep your compressor running longer. Many homeowners set their AC systems to come on when the temperature rises above 72°F, but the truth is that most people can stay perfectly comfortable at 78°F during the day.
Keep the AC Unobstructed
What we mean is, make sure that nothing is surrounding the outdoor unit of your air conditioner that could potentially restrict airflow. This might include lawn clippings, mulch, tree branches, leaves, and even dirt or grime. Use a low-pressured hose to spray off the condenser unit and you should be in good shape!
Keep the Vents Unobstructed
Just like the outdoor unit, your room vents can get obstructed, particularly if they are near the floor. Make sure you don’t have anything in front of yours like furniture, kids toys, backpacks, etc. You should also make sure they’re not too caked up with dust, as this can also restrict airflow (not to mention it’s terrible for your indoor air quality).
Change Your Air Filter
The air filter within the HVAC cabinet is in place to protect the system and its blower fan from dust and other debris that gets pulled in through the return air ducts. The filter gets congested after 1-3 months, and if it’s not swapped out for a clean filter, the blockage of airflow will force the system to run longer in order to try to reach the desired temperature on your thermostat. This means you’re essentially making your AC work harder to do its job, which is very inefficient.
Schedule Professional AC Maintenance
The aforementioned tips are just a few ways you can boost the efficiency of your air conditioner this season. One last tip we have to share is to make sure you keep up on your maintenance sessions! We typically recommend a tune-up each spring, before you need your air conditioner the most. But it’s more important that you be consistent with maintenance and have it done every year.