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Everything is getting more expensive. The food we eat, and even the air we breathe!
Assuming you’re getting your air cooled down for you, of course. So here are some tips on how to use an air conditioner effectively and hopefully save you some money.
I’ll break this down into different types of air conditioners, so feel free to skip ahead to the type you use.
How to use an air conditioner more efficiently
|Free (mostly) tips|
|Buy a programmable thermostat|
|Install a ceiling fan|
|Create shade around your home|
|Keep the area around your compressor clean|
|Keep the area around your compressor clean|
|Adjust your thermostat|
|Turn off anything that produces heat|
|Close window coverings|
As you probably know, your heating and cooling bills typically make up at least half, and often more than half, of your total utility expenses. At least that’s what the Department of Energy reports. So it only makes sense to try and find ways to stay comfortable without going broke.
Before we even get to tips for your air conditioners, let’s talk about things you can do beforehand to help alleviate some of your costs.
The best part about many of these tips is they won’t cost you any money!
Buy a Programmable Thermostat
Having a thermostat you can program to your schedule can reduce your energy costs. Especially if you have a predictable schedule. Simply set it up to adjust temperatures when you’re away from home. During the summer months you could set your temperature higher during the day when no one was home, but adjust for when you’re on the way home.
Install a Ceiling Fan
A ceiling fan will help circulate air across your skin, making you feel cooler. If you use one in conjunction with your air conditioner you can typically set your thermostat a little bit higher.
Of course, you’ll want to turn your ceiling fan off when you’re not at home.
Create Shade Around Your Home
Hedges or large, shady trees placed to the south and west of your house will help to reduce heat gain inside. This means you don’t have to work your air conditioner as much.
Keep The Area Around Your Compressor Clean
Anything that makes your air conditioner work harder will end up costing you more money. So keeping the outdoor unit free of any sort of dirt or debris will help towards that goal. This means the surrounding area as well as inside.
You can follow this DIY guide on how to clean the inside of your compressor.
Clean And Clear Your Indoor Vents
Make sure all indoor supply and return vents are free of any type of obstruction. This means not blocking them with furniture. Also regularly vacuum dust from your supply vents to ensure steady airflow.
Adjust Your Thermostat
Do some testing to see if you’re still reasonably comfortable after adjusting your temperatures up a few degrees in the summer. Of course, if you have the programmable thermostat mentioned above, you’re probably already adjusting for times when you’re not at home.
Turn Off Anything That Produces Heat
You especially want to do this if you have heat-producing appliances close to your thermostat. But it’s a good idea during the summer to minimize the use of lamps or appliances that produce heat because the result will be your air conditioner working harder.
Close Window Coverings
If you don’t have window coverings on south or west-facing windows already, invest in some. And then keep them closed while the sun shines against them. This will reduce heat gain in your home.
Now let’s move on to the air conditioners themselves.
Using Your Central Air Conditioning Efficiently
|Central AC efficiency tips|
|Inspect your ductwork|
|Change or clean your filters|
Probably one of the best things you can do to ensure your central air conditioner is running efficiently is to have it regularly maintained, but here are a few more tips.
Inspect Your Ductwork
Dirty, dusty, leaking ductwork will impact the efficiency of your system. It’s also a good idea to insulate any exposed ductwork.
Change Or Clean Your Filters
Clean filters mean your system can achieve maximum airflow, which translates into higher efficiency rates. Dirty filters will do the exact opposite and not only impact efficiency, but possibly damage your system.
Portable Air Conditioner Efficiency
|Portable AC efficiency tips|
|Choose location wisely|
|Keep filters clean|
Portable air conditioners are very popular, and they come with their own efficiency tips.
Before you even purchase a portable air conditioner make sure you buy the right size for your space.
Choose Location Wisely
Don’t place your portable air conditioner anywhere close to heat sources. This could be electronics, appliances, or direct sunlight.
For your portable unit to run efficiently, it must be vented properly. Make sure that all hoses are connected properly to the back of the unit and via the window kit. Also, try to keep the hose as short and straight as possible to provide maximum cooling.
Keep The Filters Clean
Your unit likely has a washable air filter that removes dust from the air. At least once during the summer season, wash the filter with warm water, and if necessary mild detergent. Then rinse and dry it thoroughly before returning it to the unit.
Window Air Conditioner Efficiency
|Window AC efficiency tips|
|Buy the right size|
|Choose the right window|
Window air conditioners tend to be more efficient than portable air conditioners, but they do share many of the same efficiency tips.
Buy the Right Size
When shopping for a window air conditioner be sure to buy the appropriate size for your space. While a larger unit will cool your room quicker, it’ll also cycle on and off more often and use more energy.
Choose The Right Window
If you’re in an apartment building you may have no options available to you. But if possible choose a window that faces either the north or the east. Either of these directions will mean less direct exposure to the sun and its heat.
Depending on what type of air conditioner you have, efficiency tips will slightly vary. However, the free tips mentioned above are relevant regardless. To recap, they are:
- Buy a programmable thermostat
- Install a ceiling fan
- Create shade around your home
- Keep the area around your compressor clean
- Clean and clear your indoor vents
- Adjust your thermostat
- Turn off anything that produces heat
- Close window coverings
Make sure to incorporate some or all of these into your summer cooling routine, and hopefully cut your expenses at least a little bit.
While you’re here, why not check out our related posts below. Maybe we can assist you with something else.