There’s nothing more satisfying than turning on your air conditioning unit in the middle of a hot summer afternoon and enjoying the cool temperature. What doesn’t feel relaxing, however, is seeing your utility bills blow up at the end of the month. Yikes.
But just because you’re trimming down your monthly expenses doesn’t mean you have no other choice but to endure the hot, sweaty mess. It’s possible to improve your air conditioner efficiency and significantly lower your cost. Here’s how.
1. Check for signs your air conditioning system may not be working efficiently
Have you seen a rise in your usage and costs? How will you determine if the culprit is the drop in your air conditioner’s efficiency? Well, there are a few signs you can easily spot:
- Cooling is becoming more expensive than usual
- Frequent cycling (turning on and off schedules become too often)
- There’s ice on the compressor
- You hear some unusual sounds
2. Clean around your outside condenser unit
Outdoor condenser units operate at peak efficiency if it’s clear of dust and debris. If something’s blocking air circulation, it will have to work much harder than it should.
Next to raking away any piles of leaves around the unit, consider cleaning the unit itself. All you need is an air conditioner coil cleaner (follow your manufacturer’s recommendations), a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment, a water hose with a sprayer, gloves, and eye protection gear:
- Turn off the thermostat
- Find the electrical disconnect (a metal box) near your outside unit. Open it and find the switch that turns off the air conditioner. Simply plug out or flip the switch off.
- Remove any large pieces of debris.
- Vacuum the condenser fins and be careful not to bend any fins.
- Clean off loose debris on the outside unit by using the water hose spray. Spray the outside unit with the coil cleaner.
- Let it rest for 10-15 minutes to allow the cleaner to foam and bond with the dirt. Rise the coil cleaner off with the hose.
You may do this at least once a year. For more in-depth cleaning, you may have to seek professional help.
3. Replace dirty air conditioning filters
Before calling a professional for air conditioning repairs, check first if your AC filters are just dirty. Aside from causing your unit to overwork, dirty filters can negatively impact your indoor air quality.
In most cases, simply cleaning or replacing your filters can work wonders. Clean your filters at least once a month and just replace them if necessary.
4. Vacuum and unblock your indoor vents
Your HVAC system’s indoor vents play an important role in distributing cool air throughout your home. That said, it shouldn’t be blocked by dust, which would cause the unit to work more than it should.
You may vacuum out your vents so air can flow freely. Keep items like furniture, blinds, and toys away from the vents too. You may also consider having your ducts professionally cleaned.
5. Seal air leaks and improve insulation
It’s a no-brainer to ensure that all of your doors and windows are closed when your A/C is on. But if you always keep them closed but you still notice signs of air conditioner inefficiency, you might need to check for air leaks and bad insulation.
Air leak happens when unwanted air enters the space while conditioned air continues to flow outside. These leaks make it difficult for your AC to cool your home efficiently, thus increasing your energy consumption.
Look out for any air leaks around the window, in the attic, or below your doors. Insulate any exposed ductwork too. Investing in upgrading the insulation in your attic and walls won’t only keep your home cooler in the summer but also keep your space warm in the winter.
6. Keep the sun out
The direct sunlight your home receives warms up your home more quickly and impacts your cooling loads. With this, make it a habit to keep the sun out by closing the curtains or blinds, especially in the heat of the day. It’s also recommended to shade your window.
7. Switch to cooler LED bulbs too
Yes, even artificial lights can produce surprising amounts of heat. We’re talking about those old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs.
To improve your air conditioning efficiency, consider switching to newer LED models. These produce much less heat and are more energy efficient too. Keep heat-producing appliances away from your thermostat too.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a daytime writer for Amped Up Air Conditioning, one of Sydney’s leaders in air conditioning repairs, installation, and solutions for residential and commercial premises. She loves sharing tips and tricks on home improvement.