How to Get the Most Out of Your Air Conditioning System
When it comes to getting the most out of your investment, air conditioning systems are a lot like automobiles: they operate more efficiently and last longer when they get scheduled care and attention and are operated properly.
There are dozens of ways to increase the life of your air conditioning system and decrease energy costs at the same time. Here are five of the most effective:
- Clean or replace the filter at least once a month.
- Keep debris clear of the outdoor unit.
- Service the system on a regular basis.
- Leave your thermostat at one setting.
- Operate appliances during cooler parts of the day.
When a central air conditioner circulates the air in your home, dust and dirt particles collect on the filter located in the indoor unit or ducts. Excessive buildup on the filter forces the system to run longer to maintain your set temperature. This can make utility bills rise. Most residential systems have disposable filters. These should be checked every month and replaced when necessary with the same size filter as originally supplied. Permanent filters should be cleaned according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Efficient operation of your central air conditioner requires a free flow of air over the coils in the outdoor unit. Never stack anything against the side of the unit or drape anything over it. Keep trees, shrubs and other landscaping located near the unit trimmed back.
Preventive maintenance is the least expensive kind. Keeping your system in top shape through regular checkups is the best way to ensure that it will keep working for you.
If you want the optimum balance between comfort and cost, keep the temperature settings at 76°F for cooling. If you have a programmable thermostat, keep adjustments to a minimum once you’ve set it. Adjust it only when a new program is needed. If you’re going to be away for a few days, don’t let the system run unnecessarily. Raise the thermostat to 85°F and simply reset it when you return.
Household appliances such as washers, dryers, ovens and ranges can generate heat and humidity inside the house. Using these appliances during the hottest times of the day, when your air conditioning system is working hardest, just adds to the burden.
Of course, as Horizon Mechanicals experts point out, none of these steps will significantly decrease operating costs if your home is not properly insulated. This is the single most important step in saving energy since it keeps the cooled air in your home when you need it most.