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Three Ways To Keep Your AC Unit Running Efficiently

With the heat of summer steadily approaching, it’s time once again to rely on your air conditioner for comfortable indoor temperatures. To help keep your electric bills in check, follow these three tips to keep your AC unit running efficiently.

Keep Up With Air Conditioner Maintenance

You can perform some maintenance tasks yourself. To help promote efficient air conditioner operation, you should:

  • Change the air filter once every 30 to 90 days to keep air flowing properly through the system for lower equipment strain.
  • Trim back foliage from around the outdoor unit so it has room to breathe.
  • Adjust the fan setting from “on” to “auto” so the blower only operates during cooling cycles.

Then, you should schedule preventative maintenance every spring to prepare your air conditioner for a successful cooling season. Your technician will perform the following tasks:

  • Tighten electrical connections.
  • Lubricate moving parts.
  • Check system controls.
  • Inspect the condensate drain.
  • Clean the condenser and evaporator coils.
  • Check the refrigerant level and recharge if necessary.
  • Clean and adjust blower components.

Use A Programmable Thermostat

If you still have an old manual thermostat, upgrade to a programmable model. The small investment offers tremendous energy savings if you program it correctly. Follow these tips:

  • Turn the temperature up 10 degrees when everyone’s gone for the day. Then program a comfortable temperature to resume 30 minutes before you arrive home. This way, you save energy without sacrificing comfort.
  • Don’t crank the temperature way down. This doesn’t cool your home any faster and wastes energy as the temperature surpasses your comfort zone. If you’re feeling uncomfortable, change the temperature by a degree or two.
  • Override preprogrammed settings sparingly. The more you override the settings, the less energy you save. Try turning on a fan or losing a layer of clothes before you adjust the thermostat.
  • Use the proper hold at the right time. For day-to-day overrides, use the temporary hold. When you’re away for days at a time, use the permanent/vacation hold. The permanent hold won’t resume the normal schedule until you return home.
  • Install a zoning system with multiple programmable thermostats. Each of these works independently, so be sure to set the desired temperatures and setbacks on each one to maintain a comfortable temperature and appreciate the greatest energy savings.

Run The Air Conditioner Less

Lower the strain on your air conditioner and remain comfortable by taking steps to help your AC run less:

  • Block solar heat gain so the interior stays naturally cooler. To prevent the sun from heating your home, keep the curtains drawn, especially over south-facing windows. Exterior awnings and strategically planted landscaping can also help.
  • Lower interior heat gain during the hottest time of day by waiting until night or early morning to run the dishwasher, operate the dryer, and bake food in the oven.
  • Opt for natural ventilation when possible. On cooler days, open windows and doors to keep your home comfortable without running the air conditioner. Keep the windows open at night and close them in the morning to trap cool air inside.
  • Run the ceiling fan to cool everyone in the room with the wind chill effect. This makes you feel up to 4 degrees cooler, allowing you to raise the thermostat without sacrificing comfort.
  • Add attic insulation to help prevent conditioned air from rising up and out of your house. If you can see the rafters poking through the existing layer, you could benefit from adding more.

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