Air conditioners start humming as soon as the weather gets hot delivering lower indoor temperatures and an escape from both heat and humidity. But while a cool home can be a welcome refuge from sultry temperatures, many homeowners pay a steep price for the comfort. In fact, Americans spend as much as half their energy bills to cool their homes, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Air conditioning efficiency is the result of year-round efforts, from pre-season maintenance of your system to smart improvements inside and outside of your home. Take time now to consider the following air conditioning efficiency checklist so that your family is comfortable and your utility bills are manageable through the warmest days of the year.
Schedule an annual air conditioning system tune-up
If you are lucky enough to have a central air conditioning system, now is the time to have it serviced. Central air conditioners work by using a chemical refrigerant, like Freon, to soak up heat inside your house and then transfer that heat to the exterior.
Central air conditioning systems must be in tip top shape for cooling a house efficiently. When properly working, the system should produce a temperature “differential” of 15 to 20 degrees, between return and supply air. This means that if the air being drawn into the system is 75 degrees, the air coming out should be at least 60 degrees. If it’s not, your air conditioner is probably low on refrigerant and you are wasting electricity.
Aside from lowering cooling costs, a properly maintained air conditioner prevents future problems. Home Performance with ENERGY STAR contractors who are trained cooling specialists can perform annual pre-season check-ups to ensure that a central air conditioning system is running as efficiently as possible.
A trained technician will check thermostat settings, lubricate all moving parts, inspect the condensate drain, check system controls for safety, clean condenser coils, check refrigerant pressures, and clean and adjust blower components for proper system airflow. Contractors will also show homeowners how to inspect, clean, and change air filters monthly. A dirty filter causes higher energy costs and can damage equipment. Filters in room air conditioners should also be changed monthly.