Jul 19, 2017
Best Practices for Air Conditioning Efficiency
Have you tried frying an egg on the asphalt yet? It’s been that kind of summer throughout Northern Virginia. These long days of oppressive heat can start to take a toll on your air conditioner, making it important that you know how to run your AC efficiently.
When you’re forced to use your home cooling system around the clock, air conditioning efficiency can suffer, causing your energy bills to go up. Is it possible to keep your house cool and your costs down? Yes — but it takes a little more strategy than simply throttling the air conditioning to freezer levels whenever you start to feel a little sweaty. Here are some air conditioning tips that can help keep you from blowing your retirement fund on your cooling needs.
How to Run Your AC Efficiently
Start with Machine Maintenance
Have your air conditioner or HVAC system checked and tuned at least once a year by a trained professional. This will help you maintain your air conditioning efficiency and avoid loud, expensive breakdowns. The last thing you want in the heat of summer is for your AC unit to fail to cool—or worse, to blow hot air.
Our 5-star technicians make these kinds of the home inspection calls on a regular basis, and it can save homeowners big money if we’re able to prevent future maintenance issues or solve small problems before the stress of long, hard, daily use begins.
There are some minor inspection tasks that you can control, too, such as cleaning the evaporator and condensing coils on your air conditioner and changing the filters. You should probably change your air conditioner filter once every three months — more often if you have pets or allergies. A clean, clear filter ensures clean air flows smoothly through your home.
Consider the Location of Your Machine
Do you use a window air conditioner in your home? Single-room air conditioners do best at maintaining air conditioning efficiency when kept out of direct sunlight. Avoid installing these devices in a southwest-facing window if possible and be sure the vents aren’t blocked by furniture, curtains, or rugs—all of which can cut down on airflow. Vent deflectors can help direct and increase the spread of cooled air if you have central air and floor vents.
Check Other Appliances
If you’re trying to figure out how to run your AC efficiently, you have to consider what else is going on in your home. Are you operating major appliances during the day’s hottest hours? Running the washer, dryer, or dishwasher generates heat, which your air conditioner then must fight. If you limit those chores to cooler parts of the day, less heat is generated, energy is conserved, and your air conditioner will be able to operate more efficiently.
Another thing that helps is to close the doors and vents when you leave a room. Keep blinds and curtains closed on hot days. This insulating step can, believe it or not, lower your indoor temperature by up to 20 degrees. Your AC unit won’t have to work as hard to maintain cool air.
Does your house feel too dark with the curtains drawn? Switch to LED bulbs in your lamps and lighting fixtures. They’re energy-efficient and run cooler than incandescent lights—again, saving you money, and saving wear and tear on your air conditioner.
Try a Programmable Thermostat
If you’re having trouble with air conditioning efficiency, try using a programmable thermostat. Remember, it’s not magic: for a programmable thermostat to save you on energy costs and air conditioner usage, you need to take the time to do some actual programming.
You know when your family will be out of the home — program your home temperature to tick up several notches, and then to cool again when you begin to make your return. Change the night settings to take some pressure off of your air conditioner. Change the settings while you are away on vacation.
In fairness, programmable thermostats can be confusing! Our air conditioning repair team will be happy to visit your home and either install a new programmable thermostat or help you make sense of your existing model.
Having Trouble with Air Conditioning Efficiency?
Do you have questions about your air conditioner or HVAC system? Wondering if you need an update? Worried something’s broken? When you need AC repair in the D.C. metro area, call the HVAC experts CroppMetcalfe or schedule a service appointment online.