10 Ways to Maintain Efficient Air Conditioning Operation

Your central air conditioning system has been sitting dormant for months. Before the hot weather sets in, you will need to check the unit to ensure it is functioning properly or functioning at all. In this article, we explain 10 ways you can check and maintain your system for the most efficient air conditioning operation this summer.

10 Ways to Ensure Efficient Air Conditioning Operation

During the summer months, energy consumption becomes extremely high. Air conditioning units are working hard to keep homes cool, but if the system isn't efficient, it will work harder than necessary and still may not cool your home sufficiently.

If your system is not working to its full capacity, you will continue to see your energy costs rise while at the same time your air conditioner is not providing much comfort. Here are 10 ways to maintain efficient air conditioning operation:

1) Regular Maintenance Check (i.e. Precision Clean & Tune)

Having a professional maintenance check before the summer season begins can save a lot of time, repairs and money. The professional you hire will give your system a thorough check and recommend any repairs that might be needed. Read more important reasons for a pre-season check-up in our related blog post here. 

2) Ensure Thermostat is Working

If your thermostat is giving the wrong reading, then you may be overworking your air conditioning system when it's not necessary. These units are usually reliable, but can become faulty due to age or electrical issues. Here's a process you can use to determine whether your unit is working properly.

3) Install a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat will get the most accurate temperature for cooling your home, which will save on energy costs. Older model thermostats are set manually by sliding a control handle or knob to a preferred setting. Temperature settings become more difficult to pinpoint because of this.

Modern thermostats are digital, programmable and more reliable. They can easily be set to use less energy for cooling a home when no one is there. Installing one in your home will make it more energy efficient. Check out our recommended thermostat settings for different times of the year.

4) Check Ducts and Seals

An air duct is a tubing used to connect the air conditioning system to each room in the house. A maintenance check for leaks in ductwork is necessary to maintain energy efficiency.  Leaks will slow down and often prevent air from dispensing properly in your home.

Seals that have been exposed to excess moisture can easily break. Mastic tape or something similar and as durable can seal these leaks. Also, check for broken seals and gaps between windows and doors.

5) Improve Insulation

If you are feeling cold drafts during the wintertime in your home or hot spots in the summer, it may be time to check the insulation in your home. Improving existing insulation can be the answer to reducing your cooling bill.

  •  You may need to consider hiring a contractor to evaluate your home to find places where an insulation improvement may be beneficial.
  •  If you decide to do your own evaluations, make sure you have the correct insulation.  You can reference energy conservatives for recommendations, such as Energy Star or even the Department of Energy.
  •  You will also need to know where to place the insulation. Home evaluations or energy audits will tell you where improvements are needed. Generally, check attics and basements.

 6) Check / Change / Clean Your Filters

Filters are magnets for dirt and other debris. Therefore, changing or cleaning them on your indoor air conditioning unit should be done often. If not, the flow of air into your home will be blocked.  According to Energy.gov, “replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner's energy consumption by 5% to 15%.”

7) Raise the Thermostat a Bit

For better energy efficiency, set the thermostat for higher temperatures at night and during the day when no one is at home for four hours or more at a time.

8) Clean Your Equipment

While you'll want to leave major cleaning projects to the professionals, you can do area and surface cleaning on both your indoor and outdoor air conditioning units. Besides a clean filter, removing debris from the outdoor unit and ensuring nothing is blocking the indoor unit can help your system to maintain efficient operation.

9) Limit Use of Heat-Producing Appliances

During the heat of summer, your air conditioning system will work overtime if you are effectively heating your house by using appliances like ovens and hair dryers during the hottest times of the day. Instead, consider cooking outdoors on a grill and using a "cool" setting on your hair dryer. 

10) Clean Coils

You can safely clean the visible parts of your evaporator (indoor) and condenser (outdoor) coils if you are comfortable doing this job. Clean coils will ensure that airflow is not limited when your system is in use. 

Take Action for Comfort

Following all of these pre-season recommendations will provide your home with better air condition efficiency and comfort all summer long. Learn more ideas for how to make your home comfortable in our helpful e-book below. 

Image credit: wonderlane

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