As the hotter months approach, you may wonder how to keep your home cool and comfortable without your energy costs soaring. The secret lies in using your air conditioning unit better. Follow these 12 simple recommendations and techniques to keep your HVAC system in optimal condition, minimize energy consumption and save money.
1. Leave the Thermostat Alone
Frequently altering the thermostat makes your AC work harder, elevating energy consumption and causing excessive wear and tear. To optimize efficiency, set the temperature at a comfortable level—preferably around 78 degrees F (25 degrees C)—when you’re inside the residence. Then, refrain from changing it. If you get too warm, take off a layer of clothing, spray water on your skin or turn on a fan to cool off without changing the temperature.
2. Set the Temperature Back When You’re Away
For maximum savings, set the temperature 7-10 degrees higher than your usual setting for at least eight hours per day. To help you “set it and forget it,” think about installing a programmable thermostat. This easy upgrade allows you to set temperatures based on your daily routines, automatically modifying the temperature to create a comfortable home when you’re there and conserving energy when you’re not home.
3. Keep the Curtains Closed
Solar heat gain from direct sunlight forces your cooling system to work more than it really should. To minimize heat gain, close the curtains over your south- and west-facing windows when the temperature is the hottest. Window coverings with light-colored backings are the most effective at reflecting sunlight.
4. Keep the Vents Open
Covered or closed air vents throw off your HVAC system’s supply/return air balance, decreasing efficiency and upping operating costs. To stop this, always keep at least 80 percent of your supply registers open and be sure no return vents are obstructed by curtains, furniture or rugs.
5. Create Airflow with Fans
Utilizing fans in combination with your air conditioner circulates cool air more, making your home feel more comfortable while hardly increasing energy consumption. Ceiling fans, specifically, create a wind chill effect that makes the room feel about 4 degrees cooler, enabling you to set the temperature higher without losing comfort.
6. Get Rid of Hot and Humid Air
Cooking and showering create heat and humidity. Turn on your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans during these activities to lower your home’s cooling burden. In addition, ensure that your clothes dryer vents to the outdoors to prevent hot, humid air from releasing into your house.
7. Use a Dehumidifier
Elevated humidity levels make your home feel cool but clammy, tempting you to decrease the temperature. A dehumidifier takes out excess moisture, making your home feel cooler and more comfortable while consuming significantly less electricity than running the air conditioner.
8. Install Your Outdoor AC Unit in the Shade
The outdoor unit’s location affects its operation dramatically. Installing it on your home’s north or east side shades the equipment from the afternoon heat for more effective heat transfer. If the unit gets direct sunlight at the hottest hours of the day, consider planting a tree or using a screen to shade it. Just be sure that any plant or structure you add doesn’t hinder airflow.
9. Save Your Chores for the Evening
Cooking, laundry and doing the dishes create indoor heat gain, making your HVAC system work harder. Conducting energy-using activities like these in the evening when temperatures cool down reduces the cooling load during the hottest hours of the day and saves energy.
10. Replace the Air Filter
A clogged filter limits airflow and increases energy consumption, so switch it out on a regular basis to promote optimal performance. Most basic filters should be replaced every 30 to 90 days, but consult the manufacturer’s recommendations for the correct replacement schedule for your product.
11. Seal and Insulate the Ductwork
Leaky, uninsulated ducts lose significant amounts of energy, especially if they run through unconditioned areas such as the attic, crawl space or garage. Sealing and insulating your ductwork preserves system efficiency and reduces energy spending.
12. Schedule Preventative AC Maintenance
Scheduled tune-ups are essential to keep your AC running successfully. Use a licensed technician to inspect, clean and service your system every spring. This precautionary measure extends your air conditioner's life span, reduces energy consumption, and allows the technician to uncover and deal with potential issues before they become costly problems.
Request Air Conditioning Service in the Wasatch Front region
At Barlow Service Experts, we pride ourselves on offering complete AC services, including installation, maintenance, repair and replacement in the Wasatch Front region. Our customers choose us again and again for our unmatched know-how and devotion to customer satisfaction. In fact, we offer a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee on every service we provide! Work with our friendly staff to keep your home cool, comfortable and energy efficient this summer.