The temperature is rising outside and your AC is on full blast – so why is it still so hot inside your home? The answer could lie in costly mistakes you're making with your air conditioner. These mistakes not only make you less comfortable but also mean that you could be unknowingly squandering money and worst of all, harming the environment. Take a look at our list of the top 6 mistakes people make with their central air conditioning and see if you're guilty of any of them.
1. You’re Not Cleaning or Changing Your Filter Often Enough
Probably one of the most common mistakes AC unit owners make is not properly caring for the air filter. The air filter is the unsung hero of the air conditioner and one of the most important parts of your AC system. It is the gateway to the air that you and your family breathe inside of your home. Doesn’t it deserve a little TLC on a regular basis? A clogged or dirty filter will obstruct air flow, allow dust and other particles into the air and diminish the overall efficacy of your air conditioner. If the filter goes too long without being cleaned or replaced, it can also dirty the coils of the unit causing bigger problems down the line. AC units have filters that can either be replaced or cleaned and reused – find out which type your AC has and take care of it accordingly. Filters need to be cleaned or replaced at least every three months (and every month during the high-use seasons). Cleaning or replacing your filter regularly can save you anywhere from 5 to 15% on your energy consumption, according to Energy.gov. To maximize the efficiency of your AC and keep it blowing cool and clean air for a long time, get the entire unit cleaned professionally once a year.
2. You’re Not Making the Most of Your Vents
Vents are the gateway to airflow into your home so it is crucial that you spend the time to make sure they are working optimally.
Answer these questions to determine if you need to make any changes:
- Are any vents blocked by curtains or furniture? Obstructed vents are unable to circulate air fully and will contribute to your system underperforming.
- Are there open vents in rooms that are empty or virtually never used? There are probably rooms of your home that you seldom use and these don’t need to be kept as cool as high traffic spaces do. Close vents in unused rooms to let the system work more efficiently in the other rooms of your house that you and your family are frequently in.
- Are vents blowing in spaces that are flooded with sunlight? Help out your AC system by closing blinds and curtains in rooms that get sun-drenched during the day. This will keep the rooms from heating up and causing the system to work harder to keep them cool.
3. You’re Not Using the Auto-Program Feature on Your Thermostat
You don’t need to run your AC 24/7 - it's a waste of good, cool air and money! Chances are you leave the house for stretches at a time to run errands or go to work. Be sure to turn your thermostat up when the house is empty to save money on your next bill. But don’t go overboard – setting the temp to 88 degrees while you’re out means the unit will have to work that much harder to cool down when you get home and set it at a more comfortable temperature. Use a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature for times when you're not around. If you leave at the same time every day, say for work or appointments, use the auto-program feature on your system and set the temp higher during the day when no one is home. You can schedule it to drop back down 20 minutes or so before you’re scheduled to return. For those of us with more unpredictable schedules, there are also systems that allow you to control your thermostat remotely using an app on your smart phone.
4. You’re Setting Your Thermostat Too Low
It feels great to come into an icy room on a hot day, but chances are you don’t need to set your temp as low as you think. The suggested temperature for your thermostat when you are home on hot days is 78 degrees. And statistics show that for every degree you raise your thermostat, you save an average of 3% on your bill. Find the warmest temperature that is comfortable for you and your family and stick with it to maximize savings. Adjusting the temperature too often can lead to spikes in your energy bill and a system that is not doing its job as efficiently as it could be.
5. Your AC Unit Is in the Wrong Place
Where your AC unit is positioned outside makes a big difference in its efficacy. You’ll want to make sure it’s located in a shady spot, unobstructed by landscape or architectural features. While you might not be too keen on putting your AC unit somewhere highly visible, keep in mind its location will ultimately save you money. An AC unit that is not allowed proper ventilation or gets too hot because of exposure to direct sun light will not perform at its best when cooling your home. While moving an AC unit is not a simple weekend project, if you're purchasing a home and remodeling or building new construction, this is something you should consider to make the best decision regarding your AC placement.
6. Your Windows Are Problematic
It seems like a no-brainer, but running the AC while you have windows or doors open wastes energy. Your AC system will still be working to keep the house at the set temperature while all of the cold air is blowing right out of the front door. Close all windows and doors while the unit is running; open them back up and give the AC a break when temps outside drop to a comfortable level. What’s more, windows with no curtains or blinds (or with ones you leave open during the hottest parts of the day) can counter the work your AC is doing. Don’t let a room heat up by allowing sun light to stream in unobstructed. Close your blinds and shades so the AC can cool down the room with ease.
Were you making any of these costly mistakes with your AC? We hope that these quick and easy tips will help to lower your energy bill and keep your house cool and comfortable during the hottest summer months. Is your AC having bigger problems than the ones we talked about in this article? Call us today at 909 792 2222 or visit us online for a free quote! Have any other tips that we haven't covered here? Share them in the comments, we'd love to hear from you!