Keep things comfy with these energy-efficient tips
Your air conditioner is the unsung hero of summer, but it’s not cool when it drives up your energy bills just to do the bare minimum. Don’t sweat it, though; there are many things you can do to increase energy efficiency. Here are some of the best ways to maximize the performance of your HVAC system.
1. Clear the Area Around Your Outdoor Condenser for Better HVAC Efficiency
Clogs and obstacles around your outside condenser unit can significantly reduce your AC efficiency. Check on and around the unit for debris and other blockages. Be sure to clean your AC unit regularly as well. If you hide your AC unit (because, let’s face it, it’s not much to look at), be sure you aren’t using a fully enclosed structure or placing anything overhead.
2. Clean Vents and Leave Them Unblocked
Dust bunnies and buildup can clog up your vents, preventing cool air from coming out. To maximize airflow, do a walkthrough and check your vents to see if anything needs clearing. Avoid placing furniture and other blockages around the vents to ensure the cold air circulates properly.
3. Consider a Whole-House Fan
Investing in a whole-house fan can bring fresh air from outside and purge hot, stale air from inside your home. These fans are more powerful than the average ceiling fan while still using relatively little energy. Smaller versions can run all day or night, quietly keeping your home more cool and comfortable.
4. Maximize Attic Ventilation for Better Cooling Power
Attic ventilation is often overlooked, but it’s a great way to reduce hot air and prevent it from affecting the temperature in your home. Investing in the cost of ridge roof vents along with soffits is generally the most effective option. Remember, placement and proper sizing of your roof ventilation is key to effective heat reduction in an attic space.
5. Cover Your Windows
That hot outside sun can easily come in through your windows and bake your home’s interior. One sunny window for your basking cat is okay, but it’s best to cover as many as possible to improve air conditioner efficiency. Curtains are the most effective way to block out the sun’s heat, but you can also add UV-blocking blinds if you want more light.
6. Change Your Air Filters
To get the most from your HVAC system, it’s important to check your air filters regularly and replace them if they start to look icky. Energy Star recommends changing them at least every three months. This step will not only help improve your AC efficiency but also the air quality in your home.
7. Use Ceiling Fans to Increase Air Conditioning Efficiency
Adding ceiling fans can circulate cold air and make the room feel cooler. They’re also extremely energy-efficient, using less energy than a 100-watt light bulb. This small change can make a big difference in reducing the demands on your air conditioner.
8. Address Any Sneaky Leaks
Leaving the doors and windows open isn’t the only way to air-condition the entire neighborhood. Worn-out seals on your windows and doors can provide an escape route for cold air, making your HVAC system work harder. Your attic’s insulation is another common culprit for sneaky leaks. It’s a good idea to have a local HVAC repair pro inspect for leaks and make any necessary fixes.
9. Avoid Extra Heat Sources
Unless you’re baking your famous fudge brownies for the annual block party, try to leave your oven off as much as possible during the hotter months. On extremely hot days, it’s also wise to avoid using your dryer if you can.
10. Schedule Regular Maintenance for Greater Energy-Efficiency and Performance
While there is plenty you can do to keep your home energy-efficient, there is no substitute for getting regular AC maintenance by an HVAC technician. A licensed pro can clean your equipment and make sure everything is running properly. They can also help detect issues before they become bigger problems, which can maximize the lifespan of your AC system.