5 Ways to Increase the Energy Efficiency of Your Air Conditioner and Save Money
Summer can be a challenging balance between keeping your home cool and keeping your utility bills low. Here are 5 simple ways to do both:
1. Change the Filter
This is perhaps the simplest and most economical way to improve the efficiency of your A/C. With just a little effort, you’ll see big rewards. If you haven’t changed the filter since last summer, now is definitely the time to do so. Filters should be changed or cleaned every month or two during cooling season to keep your system running efficiently. The frequency is higher if you have furry pets or excessive dust. Clean filters can lower your system’s energy consumption by 5-15%. And that’s not all. Clean filters also prolong the life of your air conditioner by keeping dirt out of the evaporator coil (which can impair the coil’s capacity for heat absorption), and improve air quality by removing allergens and other irritants.
2. Check Your Ducts for Leaks
If your air conditioner works, but doesn’t produce as much cool air as it should, your ducts could be the problem. Duct leaks can result in as much as 40% of energy being lost with a functioning air conditioner. That is a lot of wasted energy costing you money without providing the comfort you are paying for. Inspect your ducts to make sure they are well insulated, with no gaps or holes. Also check that there is no air loss where the ducts connect to the system.
3. Clean the Coils
Even if you regularly change or clean your filter, your air conditioner’s evaporator coil collects dirt over the winter and during use. The dirt reduces airflow and compromises your A/C’s performance. Before the start of the summer season, check the coil and clean it if necessary. The aluminum fins on the coils can be damaged so clean them carefully. Consider using a “fin comb” (available at air conditioner wholesalers) to restore the fins to there original condition.
4. Check the Outdoor Condenser Unit
The same goes for the outdoor condenser. Dirt, leaves and other debris can collect around the unit and should be cleared away. Trim any nearby foliage so that it is at least two feet from the condenser.
5. Hire a Professional to Perform Air Conditioner Maintenance
For worry-free service, schedule routine maintenance with an HVAC professional before the summer heat arrives, and again at the end of the season. Professional maintenance ensures that your A/C is operating efficiently. Qualified technicians can spot and correct small problems before they become big, costly problems, and reduce the chance that you will be without air conditioning when you need it.