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How to Boost Air Conditioner Efficiency

On average, air conditioning accounts for 12% of annual home energy expenditures in the U.S., and as much as 27% in hot-humid regions, according to the Energy Information Administration.1 With energy costs going up, it’s important that your AC runs efficiently. Fortunately, there are simple ways to boost air conditioner efficiency. The following tips can help:

Keep the Outdoor Condenser Unit Clean

Debris, including dust, leaves, twigs, and even garbage, can restrict airflow and reduce efficiency. If you can access the inside of the unit, clean the fins with a soft-bristle brush or spray them with a hose. If not, or more cleaning is needed than you can do, schedule professional maintenance. It also helps to shade the outdoor condenser, which reduces strain.

Don’t Block the Vents

Indoor supply vents should not be blocked by furniture, blinds, or toys. This can reduce comfort and energy efficiency. Clear these away if present and vacuum away any dust, pet hair, or debris. Air vents should be vacuumed regularly. If HVAC performance still hasn’t improved, perhaps it’s time to schedule a professional duct cleaning.

Unclog the Drain Line

A blocked drain line can affect HVAC efficiency and cause water damage or mold. The drain line is typically near the indoor cooling coil, over the furnace. To clear the line, pour a cup of chlorine bleach in followed by water. Check the drain lines outside and clear or vacuum out any mulch or dirt if necessary.

Correct Any Air Leaks

Air leaks can occur in many places. The most obvious are open windows and doors; close them to seal your home’s envelope. Spaces around windows or doors can cause air leakage as well. Adding caulk or weatherstripping can provide an effective seal. Also have your attic insulation checked for potential leak points, while a ductwork inspection can uncover hidden leaks that can be corrected with duct sealing.

Insulate Ductwork

If there’s exposed ductwork in your attic or crawlspace, it may be losing or gaining heat. High-quality insulating materials can prevent this from happening. An HVAC professional can help select a material and properly install it. Insulation must be uniform to be effective.

Change the Filter

The easiest way to boost air conditioner efficiency, checking your filters regularly enables you to replace one that’s dirty or worn. According to Energy Star, AC filters should be replaced every three months.2 But anytime it looks dirty or clogged, change the filter.

Filters are in the direct path of airflow, so a clogged one cause the system to work harder. It may also introduce particles and contaminants to sensitive components. Neglecting the filter can therefore strain an air conditioner and cause preventable damage.

Adjust Your Thermostat

Many people set the temperature on their thermostat higher or lower than necessary, wasting energy. You can save up to 10% on heating and cooling by adjusting the temperature 5℉ to 8℉ lower in winter and higher in summer (according to A programmable thermostat takes things a step further with automatic adjustments; it can also be controlled from a smart device.

Close Curtains and Blinds

Direct sunlight through windows adds heat to your home. This makes an air conditioner work harder in the summer. Covering your windows reduces the amount of incoming heat. Therefore, your AC works less hard and uses less energy. Your home will be cooler as well.

Don’t Use Heat-Producing Appliances During the Day

Ovens, dryers, and other appliances generate heat, which can then circulate throughout your home. The AC must then compensate for the added warmth. By not adding more heat to your house, you can maintain a manageable load for your HVAC system. Also keep the thermostat away from appliances and lights to avoid false readings.

Keep the Registers Open

Closing a register may seem like a practical way to control room temperature. However, this alters cooling load. It will only make your home less comfortable and can cause serious damage to your HVAC system.

Use a Ceiling Fan

A ceiling fan both circulates cold air so you can feel it and produces a wind chill effect. It’s often possible to set the thermostat a little higher and feel a few degrees cooler. In addition to boosting air conditioner efficiency, ceiling fans are also use little energy.

Invest in More Efficient HVAC Equipment

If you have an older air conditioner, it may be time to consider investing in an energy efficient upgrade. The technicians at Hays can help choose from the most efficient products on the market. They can also provide maintenance and tune ups that ensure your existing unit is running properly. Continue browsing for additional air conditioning tips and, if necessary, schedule service online or call 602-610-0590 for assistance.

About the Author

Chris Hays

Founder of Hays Cooling, Heating & Plumbing

Chris and Stacia Hays, are the founders of Hays Cooling, Heating & Plumbing; a family operated HVAC company in Phoenix founded in 2001 that services both commercial and residential customers. Chris leads a team of certified technicians who have over 45 years of combined experience and has earned and A+ rating with the BBB and a strong five star rating online. Hays Cooling, Heating & Plumbing focuses on providing support to their customers every step of the way, with exceptional service and competitive prices. If you are looking for top-notch air conditioning and heating service, contact Hays today.