When the temperatures heat up, your air conditioner gets a work out and the efficiency of your air conditioner can drop dramatically. Below are some steps that can help ease the burden on your home’s air conditioner and help it to run more efficiently – and add savings to your energy bill!
Schedule a maintenance check-up. A tune-up of your cooling system will ensure that it is working at peak performance and efficiency. An un-serviced air conditioning system will have to work harder and longer to provide the same degree of home comfort, greatly reducing its efficiency and increasing your utility bills. Studies show that 50% of system failures are due to lack of maintenance.
Leave the thermostat alone. Many people are good about leaving the air conditioner at 78 degrees F. Some even take it upon themselves to set the temperature higher when there is no one at home. If you make this a practice, make sure that no one drops the temperature below 78 in order to cool the house down faster. The air conditioner cools at the same rate no matter the setting. Adjusting the temperature to 70 degrees will not help your house get to 78 degrees any faster than if it were left at 78. A programmable thermostat is a great way to avoid this problem. You can program the thermostat to increase the temperatures when you are away from home and have drop back to a comfortable temperature before you return home.
Keep the curtains closed. Natural light can help reduce your lighting costs, however, when no one is in the room it is best to keep the curtains closed during the day. This is especially true for houses with windows on the eastern or western sides. Keeping the sun’s direct rays from entering your home helps reduce the amount of effort your air conditioner puts forth to keep the house cool. To maximize this, open the drapes, blinds or curtains in the evening to allow heat to escape through the windows of your home.
Use the dehumidifier. When people say, “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity,” they are right! If you have a dehumidifier turn it on when the temperature rises. Ridding your house of the humidity will help make your family feel more comfortable. You may even be able to set your air conditioner above 78 degrees when using a dehumidifier combined with fans.
Keep your air conditioner out of the sun. The ideal location for a central air conditioner is on the north side of your home. While this may not be practical in every case, the general idea of keeping the unit out of the sun can be achieved in other ways. Landscaping does more than make your yard look nice. By planting shrubs or trees around your air conditioning unit, you can help it cool your home more efficiently. The shade from this landscaping can also be used to keep the sun’s direct rays off of your home. IMPORTANT REMINDER ABOUT SHADING: Don’t plant anything that will block the access panel where the unit needs to be serviced and keep 2-3 feet between whatever shading you have and your unit so that it is accessible for maintenance and repair.
Save chores for the right time. While cooking can heat up the kitchen, so can using the dishwasher to dry the dishes. Clothes dryers located in the house can have the same affect. These tasks are better left for evening time, or better yet, when no one is in the home. Also doing labor-intensive tasks during the hottest times of the day can make you feel uncomfortable. If possible, leave these tasks for evening or early morning when the heat isn’t as bad.