The temperatures are starting to heat up and summer is almost here. However, this also means that it may be time to start using your air conditioning soon, which can drive up your utility costs. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help prepare your air conditioning unit and your home for summer. These can help you to minimize your cooling costs. Here are a few of the ways you can decrease your air conditioning costs this summer.
Replace Your Air Filters
A dirty air filter will can impede air flow into your air conditioning unit. This causes your air conditioner to have to work harder and longer to pull air in and cool, which in turn drives your cooling costs up. The US Department of Energy estimates you can use 15 percent less energy cooling your home by simply replacing a dirty filter with a clean one. The frequency with which your filter needs to be replaced varies based on many factors, including the type of filter you have, how many filters your air conditioner has, how dirty the air is around your house and how frequently you run your air conditioner. Most households should inspect their air filters monthly and replace them when they are full of dirt, dust and debris.
Cover Your Windows
On sunny days, the sun will shine directly through your windows and heat up your home. When this occurs, you will have to run your air conditioner more frequently or longer to cool your home back down again. But you can minimize the amount of time your air conditioning unit is running simply by covering the windows. Blinds, shutters, curtains and even aluminum foil in the window help to block the sun's rays. The reduction will depend entirely upon the window coverings you select. For example, awnings can reduce heat gain from the sun by as much as 77 percent, whereas medium colored draperies can reduce heat gain by as much as 33 percent. Select your window coverings carefully to block the sun. This can help to prevent furniture and art work from fading, while also helping to keep your home cooler.
Have An Air Conditioning System Tune-Up Completed
Another way that you can save money on your air conditioning costs this summer is to have your air conditioning system tuned-up by a heating and air conditioning repair company. There are many things that are done during a tune-up. This includes the following:
- Cleaning the interior and exterior of the air conditioner
- Inspecting the unit and making any repairs that can cause your unit to work inefficiently
- Adjusting fan belts or loose wiring, as needed
- Checking and topping off the refrigerant level
- Inspecting the electrical voltage
- Oiling or lubricating the fans, compressor and motor
- Completing performance tests
Having a tune-up done to your air conditioning unit in the spring can be beneficial. It helps you to catch small problems before they turn into large and costly ones. It also helps to ensure that your air conditioning unit is running effectively and efficiently, which can save you money on your air conditioning costs.
Close Your Fresh Air Vent
Some newer air conditioning units and most window air conditioning units have a fresh air vent on them. When the fresh air vent is in the open position, outside air will flow into the home through the unit. This helps to circulate air in the home, but the air coming in is not cooled. If you turn your air conditioner on while the fresh air vent is in the open position, you will have outside air flowing into your home with air your air conditioner is cooling. This is similar to leaving a window open while your air conditioner is running. There is typically a small switch that turns the fresh air vent from the open to closed position. Always ensure your fresh air vent is closed when you run your air conditioner to decrease your energy usage.
Your energy bill can significantly increase during the summer months when you run an air conditioner. However, there are steps you can take to minimize this increase. Changing your air conditioner's filters, covering your windows, having a tune-up done and ensuring your fresh air vent is closed can all decrease the energy you use to cool your home.
For more information and assistance, talk with heating and air conditioning repair experts.