Air conditioning is more than just a luxury for many Americans, especially in the states where summer temperatures can reach into the 100s for weeks at a time. Those high temperatures can stress older people and those with disabilities or even nondisabling health conditions that are normally managed. Keeping your AC running to combat the heat can lead to a big power bill if you are not careful, though. Luckily, there are some reliable ways to improve your AC’s efficiency that help lower those power bills, making it easier to maintain a comfortable temperature even during the hottest months.
No-cost efficiency improvements
Try out these four options to get immediate improvements to your air conditioning efficiency. They can be used on their own or with the improvements that require a little investment.
1. Vacuum indoor vents
Both your heating and your AC will function better when the vents are clear. You will not need to dive deep into them to get most of the obstructions, either. Dust and debris tend to settle near vent openings, blocking airflow. Clean them out with a vacuum regularly to keep air moving freely.
2. Clean around the condenser
This is especially important if you have central air with an outdoor condenser. Twigs and leaves can fall from nearby trees onto the unit, and sometimes debris from the weather can pile up around it. The debris, leaves, and other objects piling up around the unit will keep it from dissipating heat as efficiently as it could, leading to less-efficient operation.
3. Move your appliances
If there are lamps, televisions, or other appliances that produce heat near your thermostat, it could cause your air conditioning to switch on more than necessary. Keep them away for better accuracy and avoid overshooting your target.
4. Change some habits
Your oven and dryer are among the biggest contributors to heat in your home. If you can avoid using them during the hottest part of the day, it can reduce the amount of time your AC is running.
5. Upgrade windows
Upgraded windows help with both heating and cooling efficiency, saving you money all year round. They can be upgraded in stages or all at once, too.
6. Upgrade your air conditioner
If you run an older unit, you are probably paying more than necessary for air conditioning. Even energy-efficient units become less efficient over time. Compare power usage between your old unit and new ones to determine when to invest.
7. Follow manufacturer maintenance recommendations
Whether you are buying a new unit as an upgrade or improving the efficiency of the one you have had for a few years, getting onto a regular preventative maintenance schedule is the best way to get the most out of your unit. Regular maintenance can notify you of upcoming replacement parts that will be needed as the machine ages and as parts with predictable wear reach the end of their lifespans, too.
According to Energy.gov, Americans spend more than $29 billion per year on air conditioning expenses. Most of that is the cost of electricity to run AC units. Reduce your costs and get more out of your cooling system by improving its operating efficiency.
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