13 Air Conditioning Efficiency Tips for Homeowners

You may not think twice about turning up the air conditioning when it’s warm outside—until you see your electric bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the average U.S. home’s 12-month energy expenses and up to 70% of your utility expenses during the summer. If you’re frustrated by overpaying for air conditioning, try these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly bills.

    1. Prioritize routine upkeep: Dirt and debris build up in your air conditioner over time, reducing efficiency. Plan annual maintenance to have a professional clean your unit’s coils, exchange the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving pieces and more. An annual inspection also makes it possible for your technician to identify and fix any potential issues before they become severe problems.
    1. Keep the outdoor unit free of obstructions: Loose debris and nearby vegetation growing around your air conditioner can minimize airflow and make the system work harder. Examine the unit throughout the summer, trimming back vegetation and cleaning up debris as needed to keep your cooling system functioning correctly.
    1. Set up a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat enables you to set automatic temperatures based on your lifestyle. In the warm months, program a higher temperature when you’re away from your house or apartment and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you come back. This reduces energy consumption and saves money without sacrificing comfort.
    1. Stay away from overriding programmed settings: While you could override the temperature on your programmable thermostat, try turning on a fan or taking off a layer of clothes before you change the setting. When you want to change the temperature, do so by merely a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature will never cool your home any more rapidly and only serves to needlessly consume power.
    1. Make use of the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode spreads air to prevent rooms from becoming stuffy, HVAC professionals suggest using this setting sparingly. “Auto fan” is the more efficient setting because the blower only runs when the rest of the AC does, avoiding unwanted energy waste.
    1. Block solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, putting in outside awnings and applying window film helps block the sun’s heat to keep your house cooler. These techniques are most useful on south- and west-facing windows where the sun shines straight in.
    1. Install the outdoor components in the shade: Direct sunlight can force your system to work harder and decreases efficiency. So if feasible, position the condensing unit so it’s out of the direct sunlight in the afternoon.
    1. Keep your air vents open: It’s a often-held misconception that closing the vents in empty rooms helps you to save energy. However, this throws off the supply and return air equilibrium, making your AC much less efficient. Generally speaking, keep at least 80% of your registers open all of the time and ensure that no vents are blocked by rugs, curtains or furniture.
    1. Use ceiling fans in conjunction with your air conditioner: Ceiling fans distribute air throughout the room, generating a wind chill effect that makes you feel about 4 degrees cooler. This could allow you to increase the temperature a few degrees without feeling unpleasant, lowering your dependence on the air conditioner and decreasing your bills.
    1. Use a dehumidifier: High humidity causes a “cool but clammy” feeling, which is an uncomfortable sensation that may compel you to repeatedly lower the temperature. In fact, you need less humidity, not necessarily cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier eliminates extra moisture, making your home feel more comfortable for a fraction of the cost of air conditioning.
    1. Use natural ventilation wisely: When it’s hot and humid outside, keep your windows and doors closed to restrict cool air from leaking out. If you are living in in a place with cool summer evenings, open the windows and doors during the night to cool off the house naturally, reducing the burden on your air conditioner.
    1. Seal air leaks: Leaky windows and doors give access to hot summer air inside of the house even when closed, making it much harder and more expensive to keep things cool. Seal leaks with caulk and weatherstripping to keep conditioned air inside of your home where it is supposed to be.
    1. Seal duct leaks: An average home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air inside of it to leaks, holes and badly connected ducts. Hire a professional to seal your ductwork and stop this energy waste.

If you still have comfort problems or extreme energy bills after employing these tips, turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for help. We will diagnose and repair air conditioning problems, provide preventative maintenance, or replace your outdated, poorly performing system with a brand-new, high-efficiency model. For your ease of mind, we back everything we do with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! Contact a Service Experts office near you today to learn more or request air conditioning services in North America.