WINNIPEG – The U.S. Department of Energy estimated that heating and cooling costs dominate over half of the average American’s utility bills per year. With summertime quickly approaching, it makes sense that now would is a great time to make sure that your air conditioning is in top shape and ready to withstand the long spring and summer months ahead. You don’t want to be stuck paying for energy bills that could have been cheaper.
To make sure that you are ready to switch your thermostat from heat to cool and that your air conditioner runs as efficiently as possible, do these six surefire things to lower your energy costs and keep your air conditioning running smoothly.
- Clean up around the air conditioning unit
If your air conditioner is surrounded by branches, fallen trees or other debris, it will have to work overtime to get your home cooled down. The harder your air conditioning unit has to work, the more wear and tear it will experience. A tired air conditioning unit will not only increase your energy costs but will decrease the longevity of your unit altogether. Now is the time to head outside and clean up around your air conditioning unit to make sure that nothing is impeding its performance.
- Clean up vents and filters
The filter is critical to the airflow both to and from your furnace and air conditioning unit. If you haven’t changed your filters in a while, now is the best time to do so. To increase the amount of air that is circulating throughout your home, increase the quality of air, and have your unit working as efficiently as it can, vacuum out vents and replace old air filters. Also, make sure that there aren’t any other objects blocking the vents and stopping the flow of air.
- Turn the thermostat up slightly
To lower costs and extend the life of your air conditioning unit, turn the thermostat up a degree or two while you’re not in need of cooler air. You likely won’t notice the one-degree difference, but your thermostat bill will. If you have a programmable or remote thermostat, try varying the temperature when you aren’t going to be around or throughout the night time. The small change in temperature might seem insignificant, but, over time, it will start to really turn into savings.
- Turn off the oven and any bright lights
To give your air conditioning a helping hand, try not to the use the oven when the weather outside starts to heat up. Opt to grill out on those long, hot summer days. Also, don’t turn on the lights indoors unless you have to. Lamps radiate heat. When your air conditioning is already working at full capacity to beat the outside environment, it could use a little help from you by your being energy conscious and keeping the lights off.
- Close the blinds and shades
To limit the amount of heat coming in from outside, make sure to keep blinds and shades closed. Not only will it buffer the windows from leaking cool air, but it will also stop the sun rays from heating your house. Your air conditioner can use all the help it can get, especially if you have a house that is highly exposed.
- Insulate your ductwork
If you have ductwork that runs through spaces in your house that aren’t cooled like an attic or basement, make sure to insulate it properly. The cold air has to run from your air conditioning unit through the ductwork. If you have leaky ducts or if they are exposed to hot conditions, that is going to heat the air up before it can even make it to where it needs to be. A little bit of insulation goes a long way in reducing air conditioning costs and increasing your air conditioner’s efficiency.
With summer on the horizon, now is the time to take steps to increase the efficiency of your air conditioning unit. It is a good idea to have your HVAC unit maintained before you switch your thermostat from heating to cooling.
If you treat your air conditioning right, it will return the favor. The minimal effort you put in will pay off big-time to not only reduce your cooling costs this summer but also to extend the life of your air conditioning unit.