Who wants a smaller energy bill this summer? No one wants to spend more than is necessary on home cooling costs. Luckily, there are some very easy ways you can increase the overall efficiency of your air conditioner. These 9 tips will help you keep costs under control while maintain a nice, cool environment in your home.
Use a Programmable Thermostat
The #1 way to boost your A/C efficiency is with a programmable thermostat. This will allow you to set the temperature in your home for different times of the day – think a few degrees warmer during the daytime hours you are at work, and a few degrees cooler at night when you are sleeping. Being able to control temperatures in a way that is consistent and works with your schedule helps the A/C unit to run at peak performance.
Invest in Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are a great way to help air circulate through your home during both summer and winter months. This aided circulation helps to take some of the work off of your A/C unit and keeps the air moving, which helps to create a cool environment. Just remember to check the direction in which your blades are spinning – in summer, they should go in a counter clockwise direction, to pull air down from the ceiling.
Keep Outdoor Unit Clear of Debris
Debris like leaves, twigs or grass clippings can cause clogs, making it harder for your air conditioner to operate properly. A part of a home maintenance routine, make sure you are regularly checking your outside air conditioning unit for a buildup of debris, as well as dealing with any plants or trees that may be overgrown and not giving the unit room to ‘breathe.’
Clean Your Vents & Check Your Filters
As we mentioned in an earlier post, dirty vents and filters allow your air conditioner to continually blow dust, dirt, and allergens all over your home. In addition, all that buildup can create blockages that make your air conditioner work harder to blow cool air through your home. Make sure you check your filters at least on a monthly basis (especially if you have pets) to ensure that it is clean and clog-free. Vents should also be cleaned on a monthly basis if at all possible – at least give them a good dusting on the outside.
Watch Your Furniture
Do you have a giant sofa blocking a vent? How about a heat-producing lamp sitting right next to your thermostat? Your furniture and appliance placement can have a big effect on how well your air conditioner operates. Make sure your vents are able to freely blow air into your home, and that no heat producing appliances are near the thermostat, allowing for a false temperature reading.
Properly Ventilate Your Attic
Warm air rises – we all learned this in grade school. Well, if your attic isn’t properly ventilated, all that warm air rises, and stays, in your attic, creating a very warm environment. If you are having problems keeping your home cool, check to make sure you have proper ventilation in your attic, allowing hot air to escape and keep the interior of your home cool and comfortable.
Cover Your Windows
This is an old-fashioned trick for keeping your home cool, but it sticks around because it works. During the heat of the day, keep your drapes closed, preferably with window treatments that are light in color. Sunlight passing through windows can heat up your home in no time, and dark colors absorb light and heat. By keeping those window treatments shut, that extra heat won’t get in to make your house warmer.
You might want to also check the efficiency of your windows. New technology has produced windows that are much more heat resistant, so if you are in an old house with old window, an upgrade may help to keep your home cooler in the summer.
Check for Drafts
Not only do you want to check your windows for efficiency, but you want to check for drafts as well. Windows, doors, light switches…all of these can potentially cause drafts that prevent your home from properly maintaining a cool temperature. You can use an incense stick in a still home to see where the drafts are – turn off your air conditioner and slowly pass the incense stick around doors and windows. If the smoke moves suddenly, you know you have a draft that needs to be fixed.
Consider Energy Efficient Appliances
This tip may require a bit of an investment, but it will help save you money over time. A lot of older appliances, like ovens and dryers, put off way more heat than some of their newer, more energy-efficient counterparts. If it has been over 20 years since you’ve replaced appliances, it may be worth doing the research to see if a newer model can help to lower your overall energy cost. And if you opt to keep older appliances, make sure you don’t run them during the hottest part of the day to help keep things cool.