Any type of air conditioner is going to get quite the workout in our area, not only during the summer but practically year-round. Fortunately, modern central air conditioners are very durable and can take the heat while returning chilled air to your living space.
But, the question you might be asking yourself is, “How much am I going to have to pay to use my air conditioner this summer?”
The cost of keeping comfortable can seem pretty steep. But the fact of the matter is, you might be paying more than you really need to! There are a number of ways that a cooling system can lose efficiency and increase your utility bills as a result. However, there are also a few ways you can boost your AC efficiency and lower those bills! Read on to learn how.
Raise the Temperature Setting On Your Thermostat
No, don’t worry… we are not asking you to turn up the heat during a hot day. However, you might be setting your thermostat lower than you really need to. Lower temperature settings don’t mean your air conditioner will cool your home any faster, they just keep your air conditioner’s compressor running longer, until the room temperature matches your thermostat setting.
According to Energy.gov, the recommended thermostat setting is 78°F during the day, and potentially even higher when you’re not at home or when you’re sleeping and otherwise inactive.
Keep the Outdoor Unit Unobstructed
The outside unit of your air conditioner exhausts the hot air that has been pulled out from your home, and puts air through a refrigerant process so that cooled air can be returned to your home.
But if there are any obstructions, such as tree branches, leaves, lawn mulch, or even dirt and grime, then this can obstruct the unit and block airflow. As a result, hot air can get trapped inside and cause it to overheat.
Be sure that there is no debris within 2 feet of the outdoor unit and that, if you clean it off, do so with a low-pressure hose, as high water pressure can damage the unit.
Make Sure Room Vents Are Unobstructed, Too
Do a walk-through of the rooms in your home, and check that all the vents are fully open and that none are blocked by furniture, curtains, rugs, etc. It’s also a good idea to use your vacuum hose to clean off dirt and lint from the register so your ventilation system can operate at its best.
Change the Air Filter!
There’s a common misconception about the air filter that comes standard with your HVAC systems–that it’s in place to protect a home’s indoor air quality.
While this air filter certainly doesn’t hurt your indoor air quality, its actual purpose is to protect the equipment itself from dust, dirt, and other debris that can get inside and damage sensitive components.