With the hot summer weather comes the constant use of your
air conditioner and although it may have been running for over a month now,
you may not have checked to see if it’s running properly.
Once you have it up and running, have you considered an
overall strategy for keeping your house cool while saving money?
If you haven’t, read the tips below to learn
how you can stay comfortable while staying efficient.
MAINTAINING YOUR AIR CONDITIONER
- Replace filters everyone one to two months during the cooler season. You can lower energy use by 5% – 15% by replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one.
- Check the evaporator coil each year and clean as needed.
- Pass a stiff wire through the unit’s drain channels. When they are clogged, the unit can’t reduce humidity and excess moisture could cause discoloration in the walls or carpet.
- Clean around outdoor condenser coils by removing debris and trimming foliage so there are at least two feet around the condenser for airflow. Also, be aware of debris build up from dryer vents, falling leaves, and trimming and mowing the lawn. Clean away the debris as needed throughout the cooling season.
- For room or window air conditioners, inspect the seal between the air conditioner and the frame to make sure there’s contact with the unit’s metal case. Damage to the seal can cause leaks and waste energy.
PLANNING YOUR COOLING STRATEGY
Once your air conditioner is ready for use, start working on your overall strategy for using it along with other methods of cooling your house. You should also consider your cooking habits and appliance usage; these can add extra heat to your home. Use the following tips as part of your strategy.
- Use natural ventilation when possible. Open windows and turn off your cooling system if it’s cool at night and in the mornings.
- When your cooling system is on, turn the thermostat to at least 78 degrees. Use a programmable thermostat to increase the temperature when you’re away and return it to a comfortable level before you’re home.
- Use ceiling fans when you’re in the room. You can raise the thermostat setting 4 degrees without affecting comfort. Once you leave a room, remember to turn off fans.
- Use energy-efficient window treatments and close them during the day to block sunlight and radiated heat from outdoors.
- Limit the heat from your appliance. Cook outside on a grill and try not to use the washer, dryer, and dishwasher during the heat of the day. Use a fan when showering and kitchen fan when cooking to remove heat and humidity from the home.
- Move lamps, TVs and other appliances away from the thermostat. The extra heat can cause the air conditioner to run longer.
- Find air leaks and seal them with caulk to prevent warm air from leaking in.
Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean it has to cost you extra to cool down your house. Planning for summer ahead of time and finding a strategy that works for you is the first step to saving money during the hotter seasons.