We live in a land of contrasts – all winter we’re watching the weather with the knowledge that those polar vortexes are not only painful to our faces, but also our wallets – now, in summer we know that as the humidity rises, so do the bills!
Knowing how your air conditioning works, and how to get the best performance from it can help you save money for the better things in life, like maybe a house with a pool?
How does the A/C work?
Your air conditioner is a pretty basic device. Originally invented to remove humidity from paper storage spaces, it actually took a while for people to realize how much they could improve our daily lives (imagine – a world with no A/C – I’d spend August sitting in a lake!).
Outside, you have a condenser unit that works like a giant heat sink to carry heat collected from inside to outside. The cooler you can keep that unit, the more heat it can remove at the highest amount of efficiency.
How to get the best performance from your A/C
Short of upgrading to the most current, and therefore, most efficient system available, you have lots of options to help improve your system perform better.
Change your filter
A clogged filter can be a huge drag on efficiency. The more air that can be pulled into the system at once, the faster the air in your house will cool and the less time your A/C will spend running. You’ll know your paper air filters are dirty when they change from white to gray or brown.
In an “average” home without pets, typically you will want to change your filter every 90 days. If you have pets, change it every 60. If anyone in your home has allergies, 45 days is recommended.
Clean Your Condenser
The outside condenser unit it often installed and then pretty much forgotten about. The fins can get clogged with dirt & debris. Landscaping can grow to close, and dead leaves can get caught in and around the unit.
Clear away any vegetation or trash that’s clinging to the unit – being sure the unit is OFF before reaching in. You can also hose off the unit, starting at minimal pressure, and working from top to bottom. You’ll be surprised how much dirt can accumulate in there.
Any reputable heating and cooling company can also assist in a condenser check & clean up. Let us know if you need a recommended HVAC company!
Shade Your Unit
Placing a shade or using landscaping to block your A/C from eastern and southern sunlight can do a lot to keep it cool as the temperatures rise. Be sure to allow at least 2 feet around the unit on all sides so air can circulate properly around it.
Install Ceiling Fans
The U.S. Department of Energy states that using properly-sized ceiling fans in conjunction with your air conditioning can make 78 degrees feel as cool as 74. That’s a lot of savings on the electric bill! The reason this works is because the moving air helps cool you off with the wind chill effect (that winter enemy…) It may not change the number on your thermometer, but it will make it feel much more comfortable.
If your house that has windows that allow in a lot of light and heat during the summer, you can insulate them with heavy drapes – the heavier the better! Keep those curtains closed during the hottest parts of the day to prevent the heat radiating into the rest of the house. To further help those windows, you can purchase a low-E film.
Need More Help?
Our team has the opportunity to work with a number of professionals, and would be happy to give you some recommendations of companies that have done great work for our clients in the past. Let us know if you’re looking for a good heating and cooling pro – whether you just want a system check up or need a whole new system, we can help!