Air conditioning is essential for many homeowners that live in areas where the weather is hot and humid. However, air conditioning can also be a major source of energy consumption and cost.
Improving efficiency can save money without sacrificing comfort and help you enjoy the summer season. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to improve AC efficiency.
Adjust the thermostat
One of the simplest methods to improve the efficiency of your AC is to adjust your thermostat to a higher temperature that’s still comfortable. By setting your thermostat roughly 7 to 10 degrees higher over 8 hours, you can save around 10% a year on energy costs.
Of course, it’s important to keep in mind other factors as well though, such as whether you have pets or children, or a lot of heat-sensitive electronic devices in your home.
In cases such as this, you can use a programmable or smart thermostat that can automatically adjust the temperature according to your schedule and preferences. These types of thermostats can also allow you to control your home’s temperature via smartphone or computer.
Their features allow you to change the temperature if your schedule suddenly changes, which can be very useful for both your finances, as well as your peace of mind and comfort level.
Some smart thermostats can even monitor your family’s activity, learn your patterns, and program themselves to provide a more energy-efficient AC environment.
Clean and maintain your unit
An important way to improve AC efficiency is keeping your AC clean and well-maintained.
Dirt, dust, debris, and other pollutants can reduce the airflow and performance of your AC unit. This makes your unit work harder than it usually would, consuming more energy and raising your energy bill. Therefore, you should clean your unit and clean or replace the filter regularly.
Keeping on top of your unit maintenance is also a good time to check it for any damage such as cracks and leaks. These damages can cause cool air to escape and will reduce the efficiency of your AC unit.
Schedule a professional HVAC tune-up annually with our technicians at Autumn Air to identify any issues before they arise. A tune-up typically includes checking the refrigerant level, cleaning the coils, lubricating the motors, testing the electrical components, and calibrating the thermostat.
Use fans and natural ventilation
Another tip for how to improve AC efficiency is by using fans and ensuring proper ventilation.
By doing so, be it through a ceiling fan, floor fan, or even leaving a window open on a cooler day, you can better circulate the cool air and reduce the heat load in your home. You’ll feel much cooler even though the temperature hasn’t changed.
To help distribute the cool air evenly throughout your home and prevent hot spots, consider using a whole-house fan, a large fan installed in an attic or on a rooftop. A whole-house fan can help cool your home faster and more efficiently than an AC unit alone.
Additionally, you can improve the attic ventilation by installing ridge vents and soffits, which are openings along the peak and edges of the roof that allow hot air to escape from the attic space. Attic ventilation can prevent heat buildup in the attic space, which can affect the temperature in your home and make your AC unit work harder.
Use blinds or curtains
Windows are a major source of heat gain in your home, especially if they face the sun directly. The sunlight that enters your home through the windows can increase the temperature of your home by several degrees and make your AC unit work harder to cool it down.
By covering your windows with blinds or curtains, you will improve AC efficiency, lowering the amount of solar heat that enters your home and thereby lowering your energy costs as well.
Planting trees or shrubs is also a great way to provide some natural shade over your house while adding curb appeal to your property.
Get an upgrade
One of the best ways to improve AC efficiency is by upgrading to a new unit completely. Newer AC units are much more efficient and use less energy than older models, saving you money and keeping you comfortable and cool.
When shopping for a new AC unit, look for one with a high SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating. The higher the rating, the more efficient your AC will be.
Also keep an eye out for AC units with an Energy Star label, which means that it meets the federal standards for energy efficiency. An Energy Star AC unit can save you up to 20% on your energy costs compared to the standard model.
Avoid peak hours if possible
The comfort and safety of you and your family should be of priority, but whenever possible, do your best to avoid using your AC unit during peak daytime hours. Electricity is much more expensive during these hours, and the intense heat from the sun can force your AC unit to overwork itself.
Replacing your thermostat with a programmable thermostat helps, as they’re fantastic for this and allow you to set specific temperatures for specific times of the day.
Insulate and seal your home
To improve AC efficiency and prevent heat loss or gain through the walls, ceilings, floors, doors, and windows of your home, make sure your house is properly insulated and sealed. You can add insulation to your attic, basement, crawl space, or any other areas that are exposed to extreme temperatures in your house.
Insulation will help keep you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer by reducing the heat transfer between your home and the outside environment.
You can also seal any gaps or cracks around your doors, windows, electrical outlets, pipes, or ducts with caulk or weatherstripping. Sealing can help prevent air leakage and infiltration, which can affect the temperature and humidity in your home and make your AC unit work harder.
Get in touch with Autumn Air for help with your AC
We hope this guide on how to improve AC efficiency proves helpful to you.
If you have any further questions or would like to schedule maintenance on your HVAC system, contact Autumn Air today! Our team of HVAC technicians is happy to help with all of your HVAC needs.