Air Conditioning Tips to Enhance Efficiency

Tom Howard
Written by Tom Howard
Updated August 17, 2015
A/C unit
Try these tips to keep your A/C from working harder than it should. (Photo by Eldon Lindsay)

Increase your comfort level and save money with these A/C tips.

Cooling your home throughout summer isn’t cheap, and sometimes it feels like the A/C unit doesn’t hum like it did in the good old days. Try some of these tricks to enhance your A/C’s performance.

Close the blinds

A large amount of a home’s heat comes in through the windows. Keep your blinds closed during the day and open at night.

Landscape for energy efficiency

Use trees and shrubbery whenever possible to cool the east and west windows of your home. According to the Department of Energy, carefully planned trees can save you up to 25 percent of the energy a home typically uses.

Research the climate in your area and find the right landscaping strategies that work for you. In addition, be sure to keep the vegetation surrounding your outdoor unit clear of loose leaves and debris to maximize airflow.

Save energy with appliances

Save baking and running the dishwasher for the evenings when it’s cooler. This is also a good time to dry your clothes, as dryers bring warm air into the home and make the A/C unit work harder. You could even use a clothesline to completely forgo using the dryer.

Don’t run your dehumidifier at the same time as your A/C. This increases the cooling load and forces the A/C to work harder.

Have a fan? Set up a bowl or bucket of ice under it to add to its cooling power.

MORE: 10 Energy Saving Tips to Save Money on Your Electric Bill

Move hot appliances

Keep lamps and other hot appliances away from your thermostat. Having warm air near your thermostat sends it a signal that the air still needs to be cooled, making your A/C unit work harder than necessary. You could even go a step further and swap out heat-packing standard light bulbs for LED or CFL bulbs.

Clear the vents

Regularly vacuum indoor vents to keep them clear of dust and debris. Make sure blinds, furniture and other objects are not obstructing your vents.  

CHECK OUT: Angie's List Guide to Air Conditioning

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