With the record setting temperatures, homeowners with air conditioning are relying more than ever on central air for some relief. Air conditioners are notorious for using a large amount of electrical energy, especially with older R-22 units or units with low SEER ratings. And because this large amount of electrical energy is consumed in the summer when electrical rates usually hit their peak, staying cool can really burn a hole in your wallet if your not careful.
There are many ways to ensure you strike the right balance with your air conditioner usage to stay cool and comfortable and happy with your electrical bill. Following these simple suggestions will ensure that you are conscious of your environmental impact and also receive the best performance from your equipment.
- Set your thermostat as high as you can stand it. The higher you can set your thermostat while using the air conditioner the better. Setting your thermostat to 21 degrees when it is 32 degrees outside will keep your air conditioning working hard for most of the day. Turning up your thermostat to 23 will save a lot of electrical usage throughout the hot day while still maintaining a comfortable environment. Remember air conditioners also remove humidity, so 23 degrees with an air conditioner will feel cooler than 23 degrees outside. You can also set your thermostat a few degrees higher during the day when you are not home to save energy when you are away.
- Use ceiling fans or strategically placed fans to increase air flow. One of the best ways to help your air conditioner operate at its peak efficiency is to provide adequate airflow in your home. Increasing air flow in your home with your ceiling fans can decrease the electrical energy used by your air conditioner as it will not have to work as hard to maintain your desired
- Change your furnace filter regularly. When your air conditioner is operating, your furnace fan is running to circulate the cool air produced by the compressor and coil. If your furnace filter is dirty then there will be decreased airflow that will force the air conditioner to work harder to keep the house cool, increasing electricity usage. Change your filter every month for 1” pleated filters, every 3 months for 5” pleated filters, and clean your permanent filters every month. A plugged filter can even cause your air conditioner to fail that could lead to unnecessary and expensive service repairs.
- Have your air compressor serviced professionally every two years. Just like your furnace, your outdoor air conditioning compressor requires regular mechanical service to ensure it is working efficiently and safely. This maintenance can only be performed in spring and summer months. During a mechanical inspection the compressor is disassembled, components are cleaned and inspected, and pressures and temperatures are tested to ensure the components are working properly. Regular maintenance will ensure you have the proper refrigerant levels by detecting any leaks if they occur and provide preventative maintenance if any parts or internal filters need to be replaced.
- Clean outside the outdoor compressor every spring. While your outdoor compressor requires maintenance to be performed by a certified serviceman, it is highly recommended that you as the homeowner ensure the top of the compressor and around the outside of the compressor are clear of any debris every spring prior to the cooling season. Any leaves, dirt, or debris blocking the air flow to the outside of the compressor fins located all over the compressor can result in mechanical failure or inefficiency when the air conditioning is running. A lot of homeowners with air conditioning make this an annual task like other tasks required when getting ready in the backyard for summer.
Following these key recommendations provided by our certified servicemen and manufacturers will ensure you enjoy the cool comfort of your air conditioning this season without breaking the bank with your electricity bill.