With summer just around the corner, many homeowner's thoughts are turning to their summer cooling expenses. A well-functioning and efficient air conditioner will keep you cooler and be kinder to the wallet. The following three tips can help you lower your energy usage and lower your cooling bills.
1. Upgrade to a New Unit
Older units simply aren't as energy efficient as newer models. To make matters worse, efficiency can also be lost as an HVAC unit ages, especially for units that have gaps in their service history. Although there will be an initial expense with a replacement, you will likely recoup the costs over the lifetime of the new unit due to energy savings and fewer repair bills. When shopping for a new unit, make sure to compare energy star ratings and cooling power. You want to find the unit with the highest energy star rating that is sized appropriately for cooling the amount of square footage in your home.
2. Shade and Protect the Outdoor Unit
Heat from the sun, poor air circulation, and debris can all inhibit how well your AC runs. In many cases, these issues can also lead to unnecessary malfunctions and expensive repairs. Counteract problems by shading and protecting your outdoor unit. A shade structure, such as an awning, placed a few feet above the AC shades it from direct sunlight without compromising air circulation. If debris around the AC is a problem, remove nearby plants and mulch the area with gravel to prevent future growth. You can also install a barrier fence around the unit, but place it several feet away and leave spaces between the fence's pickets so that some air can still circulate around the unit.
3. Tend to Your Ducts and Vents
Dirty ducts and blocked vents can lead to a struggling, inefficient AC. Ducts typically become blocked by dust, pet hair, or mold, so it is a good idea to schedule a duct cleaning every few years if you have pets, live in a dusty or damp area, or if you have recently had remodeling work inside your home. Sometimes ducts become damaged or disconnected, as well, so an inspection and repair visit may be in order. As for the vents, make sure that all the vents throughout the home are open and that none of them are blocked by furniture, curtains, or other items.
Contact an HVAC service in your area for more help.