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Cost Savers

5 Ways to Improve Air Conditioning Efficiency

AC bills can add up quick. Use these AC tune up tips to cut down on your bill and improve your AC efficiency.

Standalone ac

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, air conditioning accounts for about six percent of all the electricity manufactured in the U.S. and costs American homeowners a collective $29 billion a year. On an individual level, running your central air conditioning can cost $3.84 a day, or more than $115 a month. With energy costs rising, it makes sense to take steps to make sure your AC unit is operating at maximum efficiency.

Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a lot of extra money to keep your AC humming along. In addition to getting a regular AC tune-up, you can install a smart thermostat and take steps to keep the inside of your home from heating up during the hottest part of the day. With a little extra diligence, you can keep your energy costs low without sacrificing comfort.

Here are five ways to ensure your AC unit is running as efficiently as possible.

1. Turn Your Thermostat Up

Perhaps the easiest and cheapest thing you can do to maximize the efficiency of your air conditioner is to simply turn your thermostat up. If you can be comfortable at a higher temperature, you won’t have to spend as much money to cool your home. Even the best AC units can’t make up for the monetary gain that simply turning up your thermostat can bring.

If you haven’t already, you should consider updating to a digital or smart thermostat. A digital thermostat can be programmed so that you only run your central air when you’re at home and active. That way, you don’t waste money cooling your home while everyone is at work or school.

A smart thermostat allows you to control the temperature of your home from afar, so you can adjust your thermostat if you’re going to be returning home expectedly, for example. Some of today’s smart thermostats will even monitor your family’s activity, learn your patterns and program themselves accordingly.

2. Maintain Your AC Properly

Regular AC maintenance is one of the best things you can do to improve your HVAC efficiency and prevent breakdowns. A yearly HVAC tune-up can keep your system functioning properly and identify issues before they arise, so you can avoid unexpected HVAC failures. While you can perform some maintenance tasks, such as changing your HVAC filter on your own, others tasks, such as inspecting and cleaning your home AC compressor, should be left to the professionals. Schedule yearly AC maintenance early in the spring so you can be ready for hot weather and avoid the rush of last-minute calls from procrastinators or those with HVAC breakdowns. Ensure your maintenance technician cleans the indoor drain line while he or she is working on your unit.

3. Close Your Curtains

Natural light is wonderful, but the rays of sunlight streaming through your windows can raise the interior temperature of your home and force your AC unit to work harder. You can ease the burden on your unit and lower your cooling costs simply by closing your curtains and blinds, at least during the hottest part of the day.

Not an option? Install low-emissivity (or low-e) windows. These windows have a reflective coating that keeps heat out while letting light in.

Homeowner checking duct work

4. Insulate Your Duct Work

If your HVAC’s duct work runs through a non-air-conditioned space, then all that freshly cooled air could be warming up on its way to your vents. Insulate your duct work to keep the cool air your HVAC produces cooler as it travels through your home’s ventilation system.

Got leaky ductwork? Seal up leaks with a UL 181-rated duct-sealing tape. You may also want to have your ductwork inspected during your next HVAC maintenance visit.

5. Use Appliances Wisely

Some appliances, like your oven and clothes dryer, can heat up the inside of your house and increase your cooling costs. To minimize the impact of heat-generating appliances on your energy bills, avoid using your oven or clothes dryer during the hottest part of the day. For maximum energy efficiency, use them at night when it will be easiest for your unit to keep your home cool.

While you’re at it, make sure you don’t have any lamps or other heat-generating appliances near your thermostat. Lamps and appliances that warm up the air around your thermostat can throw off its measurement of indoor air temperatures, making your AC unit work harder because it thinks the inside of your home is warmer than it is.

Keeping your AC unit in good working order can maximize its efficiency and keep your energy costs down. American Home Shield® now offers Spring AC Tune-ups  through May 31 to help mak sureyour AC is in proper working order. That way, you can help protect your budget against costly repairs and focus on staying cool all season long.

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