For one reason or another, you’re questioning how efficient your central AC system is. You may have noticed that your electricity bills are increasing for no obvious reason, or your system is running more often and not cooling as effectively. When this happens, you should take steps to improve efficiency. Start by looking at the 12 ways to help your AC run as efficiently as it can and get your system running as well as you expect.
Have Your AC Cleaned and Inspected
If you find your energy bills are increasing or your system isn’t cooling as well as it used to, hire an air conditioning specialist for a professional cleaning and inspection. One of the most common causes of an inefficient system is that it’s dirty. The ducts may have build-up that’s reducing airflow. The coils may be coated in dirt and grim.
Once the ducts and equipment are clean, your system will run efficiently again. Make sure you have the inspection first. A comprehensive AC system evaluation is the best way to diagnose problems with your system that are impacting how well it cools your home.
Plant Shade Trees
Another way to boost the efficiency of your AC system is by limiting the amount of sun hitting the house. If sunlight is coming into the home and warming up certain rooms, the AC has to work harder to cool those rooms down.
Plant shade trees in strategic locations to keep these rooms cooler and prevent overworking your AC system. Shade trees also provide a natural habitat for birds, which helps with insect control in your yard, so it’s beneficial in multiple ways.
Use Ceiling Fans to Circulate Air Effectively
If your home has ceiling fans or you could have them installed, they can help make your AC more efficient by circulating the cooled air to all corners of the room. In the summer, make sure the blades are set to spin counterclockwise to push cooler air down and out to you.
Change Filters as Recommended
Your air conditioner has an air filter that you should change every few months. Thicker filters can be changed less often. The general guideline is:
- Within three months for one or two-inch filters
- Between six and nine months for three or four-inch filters
- Between nine months to a year for five or six-inch filters
It may need replacing more often though. If you have pets, the filters will clog faster. Once a month, hold it up to the light to see if it’s excessively dirty. If it is, change it. Keep track of how often you’re changing it to have a good idea of how often you’re changing them.
While an oven is designed to keep heat within it, some of the heat will transfer into the room when the door is open or a hot pan cools off on top of the stove. On the hottest days of summer, cook meals outside. Don’t run an oven or stove. If you really want a hot meal, cook it on a grill or bring a small appliance like a slow cooker or air fryer to the patio to prepare the meal outside of the home.
Install Smart Thermostats
Smart thermostats help with efficiency. You can set the temperature in your home warmer when you’re out and have it set to cool down before you return. This lowers your bills. Plus, if you can tolerate having your rooms a degree or two warmer, that will help with efficiency.
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78 when you’re at home. It’s the best choice for keeping an eye on energy consumption and also keeping you at a comfortable temperature.
Consider Furniture Placement
Look around your rooms at how you’ve placed furniture. If there are furnishings in front of registers, it can block airflow and lower your air conditioner’s efficiency. Try to keep furniture away from the walls, registers, and vents.
If you have smaller rooms and can’t avoid putting furniture near the air intakes, make sure open furnishings like end tables with open shelves are nearest the vents and registers. Even better, get end tables that don’t have a lower shelf or are boxed in.
Clean Vent Covers and Registers Regularly
When you’re vacuuming carpets or sweeping floors each week, take the time to vacuum vent covers or registers, too. If you keep dust and pet hair from building up on them, the AC system will be more efficient. Plus, you’ll get more life from your air filters.
Invest in Honeycomb Shades
If you want to have shades over your windows, honeycomb shades are best. The honeycomb pocket acts as an insulator to keep cool air in and hot air out. When you’re shopping for these shades, look for R-values that are closer to 5.0 to get the most insulation qualified from them.
Have Your Ducts Restored or Sealed
When was the last time you had your ducts inspected? If it’s been years, you should arrange to have them inspected during a comprehensive AC evaluation. If there are any holes or cracks, cool air is leaking out in the wrong places, which lowers your system’s efficiency.
Duct sealing takes care of the outside of your ducts, while restoration takes care of the inside. It’s beneficial to have both sides checked out. Plus, you may have damage or rust holes that require duct replacement. It’s best to get those issues repaired quickly to ensure you’re not wasting money trying to cool your home.
Think About Your Attic’s Insulation
Is your attic properly insulated? Cool air will escape from an attic that has poor insulation. What causes insulation problems? It can be damage from rodents, water damage, and exposure to UV rays. Even constant exposure to the sun can weaken insulation over time. You have to have it built back up to the proper level.
Your attic should be R38 with about 12 inches of insulation. If it’s lacking, it’s time to have insulation added to your attic to bring it up to ENERGYSTAR recommendations for Florida. An expert in attic insulation can help get your attic sealed up, which improves your AC system’s efficiency.
Is It Time for a New Air Conditioning System?
During a full AC system evaluation and inspection, you may find that your system is old and worn out. The average lifespan of an AC system is about 15 to 20 years. If it’s been that long, it may be better to have a new central AC system installed. Newer systems are designed to be more efficient, so while you’ll have to spend money on a new AC system, the reduction in energy bills helps pay for the new system over time.
ENERGYSTAR reports that replacing a system that’s even 10 years old can reduce cooling costs by up to 40%. To get the most efficient system, aim for a central AC system with a SEER of 15 or better.
Call or text All Year Cooling at 844-283-5683 to schedule an assessment of your central air conditioning system. Our expert technicians can discuss your system’s efficiency and help you decide the best path forward. Whether your system simply needs cleaning to improve its performance or a new system is ideal, we’re happy to help you decide how to proceed, whether that’s duct repairs or a brand new air conditioning system.