With summer already here and temperatures climbing, we’ll pretty soon run our air conditioning units around the clock. This can turn out quite expensive, especially for households without ceiling fans or proper insulation. However, there are a few things you can do to make sure your utility bill won’t skyrocket this summer. Here are our tips to help you keep the cooling costs under control:
Before anything else, it’s important to make sure your thermostat works and you can do this by turning the temperature down on your thermostat all the way to the “cool” setting. You should feel your AC starting to work and cool down the room within a few seconds. If not, it may be time for an air conditioning repair. A good thermostat can also help you with your utility bill. If you have a programmable model, you can increase the temperature in your home while you’re away, saving you up to $100 per year.
If you’ve you never cleaned the coils in your AC unit, then you should definitely put it on your urgent To Do list. This alone could take as much as $100 off of your utility bills each year. Keeping your central A/C vents and coils clean helps with the overall performance of your appliance, which translates into better efficiency and less power usage.
If you haven’t used your A/C unit in a while, you should change its filter before having it work around the clock. Since the filter acts are a barrier between air debris and A/C internal mechanism, it should also be changed once a month to ensure an optimal performance. A regular filter change is beneficial especially for those suffering from pollen or dust allergies.
An unit exposed to seasonal elements needs to be cleaned and maintained regularly. Check the unit and around the grills for any obstructions and use a microfiber cloth together with a commercial A/C cleaner to remove dust and other debris. If you own a window A/C, you can use a vacuum brush to clean off the coils. Don’t forget about external units’ fins, which dissipate the heat away from the unit, and which should be kept clean in order to work properly – they are best cleaned individually, using a soft brush in order to avoid damage.
Better consumer technology often means better performance and higher energy efficiency. For example, changing an old mercury switch thermostat with a digital one can shave off another $100 a year from your utility bill. We also recommend installing ceiling fans, which will circulate air throughout your home, complementing your A/C unit and even replacing it in cooler days, with a relatively low operating cost.
If you own a central air conditioning unit, then you probably know that its evaporator coils deposit moisture, which is then eliminated from the unit via a condensation pipe. Always make sure this pipe is free of any dirt or blockage, otherwise the fluid could drain back into your air conditioner, damaging its components, and even parts of your house. For extra precaution, you could clean the condensation pipe with an algicide or with a mixture of bleach and warm water.
With new A/C models being manufactured each year, these useful home appliances are becoming more and more efficient helping us save money and protect the environment while keeping us cool. So if you are on the hunt for a new A/C unit, make sure you find the one that has the right capacity and is most suitable for your needs. An oversized unit will will cycle on and off unnecessarily, making it susceptible to malfunction, while an undersized one will work harder to fulfill its duties, resulting in an early wear and tear.
Also, make sure your equipment is installed properly.
Last but not least, take a quick tour around the house and check the insulation and the air ducts for breakages, which can lead to air leaks. Amazingly, sealing gaps and breakages will increase A/C efficiency by up to 20%! Finally, make sure that all your windows and doors are insulated properly. In some cases, additional maintenance such as caulking or weather stripping may be necessary.