Roughly 12% of energy used at home is for air conditioning, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That number can be up to 27% in hot/humid regions.1 But you’re not destined to strain your budget on air conditioning this summer. You can save and enable your AC to run more reliably and efficiently in the following ways:
Change the Filter
Routinely cleaning AC filters or replacing them is the easiest way to improve efficiency. That’s because a dirty or clogged filter blocks airflow, affecting system performance. Dirty filters can cause particles to get in the system, including the evaporator coil that won’t be able to absorb heat as effectively if coated. By replacing the filter, your AC can run more efficiently and for longer without major repairs.
Clean the Coils
Evaporator coils and condenser coils attract dirt. When they become soiled, airflow is reduced and the coils cannot absorb heat. Your AC coils should therefore be checked every year. Outdoor coils are especially vulnerable to dirt from foliage and dust. Issues can be avoided by cleaning the coils and the area around them; remove dirt, debris, and foliage in a two-foot perimeter around the condenser unit.
Shore Up Any Air Leaks
Air leakage is common in older homes. Cold air can leak out through doors, windows, and unseen cracks in your walls. A poorly insulated attic is another culprit. The best way to find these is to schedule a home energy audit, in which a contractor looks for leak points and recommends fixes such as improving attic insulation, insulating doors, and adding caulking around leaky windows.
Move/Upgrade Your Thermostat
If your thermostat is near a hot window or exterior wall, your air conditioner may not work efficiently. Place it on an interior wall, away from heat-producing electronics or obstructions. Also consider upgrading to a smart thermostat that can help save on your heating and cooling costs.
Raise the Temperature Setting
Set the thermostat to the highest temperature that is tolerable. Aim for about 78°F or as close as possible. Raising the system just a few degrees can save you considerably in annual cooling costs. A programmable thermostat can run your AC at higher temperatures when you’re away and cool things down while you’re at home.
If the sun is shining directly on your home, consider planting leafy trees to provide shade. East and west facing windows should be shaded as abundant sunlight in the morning and afternoon can contribute to heating up your home. Solar rays tend to be higher on the south side so tall trees can help your AC.
Install Window Coverings
The Department of Energy has estimated that about 76% of sunlight on a double-pane window becomes heat indoors, and around 30% of your heating energy is lost through windows.2 Blinds, curtains, drapes, window films, and solar screens keep out the sun and can provide insulation so cold air can’t escape as easily. Exterior window treatments, such as shutters and shades made of fabric, vinyl, wood, or steel are highly effective.
Contact Sky Heating & Air Conditioning for Advice
We are trusted for AC repair and replacement as well as HVAC maintenance in Portland, Gresham, and The Dalles. Our technicians are trained to ensure your system runs properly and can assess its performance, condition, and efficiency during a routine inspection. They can also inform you of ways to save on air conditioning this summer. Schedule your appointment now online or call 541-275-2918 today!