Air conditioners have a notorious reputation for sucking up power and hiking up energy bills. But your air conditioner doesn’t have to be a money pit, nor do you have to suffer in the heat in order to save money. You can keep cool and preserve the environment by heeding these 10 energy-saving tips when you run your AC this summer:
1) Purchase the right size unit for the space being cooled.
Many homes actually have air conditioners that are too big for the size of the home. One that is too big will shut off when it reaches the thermostat setting and before de-humidification occurs. This results in a clammy, uncomfortable feel and uneven cooling.
Decide what temperature you and your family are most comfortable at and then leave it there. Dropping your thermostat setting will not make your air conditioner cool your home faster.
3) Augment your AC with fans rather than turning the thermostat lower.
If you’re concerned that cool air isn’t reaching the furthest corners of your home, turning down the temperature, even more, won’t solve the problem. Use fans to circulate the air and direct it to those out-of-the-way rooms. This will use less energy.
4) Set your fan to shut off at the same time as your compressor does.
If you want to keep air circulating through your home after the air conditioner shuts off, use stand-alone room fans instead. This uses less overall power than running your system’s fan.
5) Always double check that windows are closed before running your air conditioner.
Everyone knows that an open window causes your AC to have to work harder. However, it’s still easy to forget that windows may have been opened but not shut. A quick check only takes a minute or two but can save a lot of money.
6) Make sure your ducts are clean.
Clogged ducts won’t circulate air at a maximum level. Aim to have your ducts professionally cleaned at least once every 2-5 years. Spring or fall is usually the best time to do this.
7) Has your air conditioner checked annually by a professional?
The technician will ensure that it’s running properly and its parts are in good working order. Parts like the belt wear out regularly but are relatively inexpensive to replace. However, allowing it to run to the point of breaking can cause damage to other, more expensive parts. Regular inspections will prevent this from happening.
8) Replace the air filter as recommended.
During peak use season you should replace this part every 2-3 months. Your professional air conditioning technician will probably do this during his annual inspection. You may need to do this once during the season yourself. Depending on your make and model, this is typically a relatively easy thing to do on your own.
9) Use a whole-house fan instead of an air conditioner.
A whole-house fan pulls cool air through the house while exhausting warm air outside. If you live in a region that has short or mild summer weather, a whole-house fan will be more energy efficient than an air conditioner.
10) Install an energy-efficient system.
Look for the “Energy Star” symbol when you purchase an air conditioner. The Energy Star rating system was developed to help consumers make informed choices about the appliances they purchase and to encourage reduced energy consumption. A free-standing or window air conditioner that is Energy Star certified will be up to 10 per cent more energy efficient than one that is not. A built-in/central air conditioner will be up to 14 per cent more energy-efficient.