What’s the biggest energy consumer in your home? Your HVAC system.
It’s difficult watching your energy bills creep up, up, up during extreme temperatures. Now, with the heat of the summer just weeks away, it’s time to start thinking about the efficiency of your air conditioner. According to the US Energy Information Administration, just your air conditioning system accounts for about 12 percent of your overall home energy expenditures each year. That alone is enough to make it as efficient as possible.
What can you do? Where do you start?
Start by noticing problems with your air conditioner
When you originally purchased and installed your air conditioning system, it ran as efficiently as possible. Over the years, through normal wear and tear, efficiency drops. You may notice that if:
Your utility bill is rising – yes, costs of energy go up. But if you notice rising expenditures that can’t be explained through price increases, it’s a sign your air conditioner isn’t operating efficiently and requires more energy to do the job.
The AC unit frequently cycles – both your air conditioner and furnace operate via a connection to the thermostat. It’s the indicator to turn equipment on if the temperature moves outside of the comfort zone. When your AC unit turns on and off more often without keeping your home your desired temperature, it could be a problem with the thermostat. It could also be a problem with the AC compressor not being able to keep up with the demand.
Ice forms on the compressor – when’s the last time you inspected the outside AC unit? Check around it periodically and ensure it’s free from dirt and debris. If bushes or other landscaping are growing too close, trim it back. If you notice ice forming on the unit, it may be a leak in the coolant line.
You hear unusual sounds – every appliance in your home makes a unique sound. You get used to it from the moment it’s installed. Pay attention to those sounds over time. Do you hear anything different? Even slight changes could be a warning something is wrong.
Easy ways to improve efficiency with your air conditioner
Improving efficiency doesn’t take a lot of work on your part. Just a little TLC from time to time will keep your air conditioner working at its best.
Thermostat – be aware of where your thermostat is located. Is it near a heat-producing appliance that could impact how often the air conditioner cycles on and off? Is it in direct sunlight? Does it sit near a lamp that’s always on? Even small amounts of heat from any of these sources can impact the way your air conditioner operates. Consider moving the thermostat if conditions in your home have changed.
Keep an eye on the condenser – just like you mow your lawn and weed the garden regularly, take a few minutes to inspect the outside condenser from time to time to ensure it’s clean and clear from any debris. If you notice a problem, call in a technician to take a closer look.
Unblock vents and keep them clean – when vents for your HVAC system are on the floor or near the ground, it’s easy to get blocked by things around your home. Does the drapery fall over it? Have you placed a sofa on top of one? It’s also an easy place for pet hair and other debris to accumulate. Periodically, check all the vents throughout your home and clean the grills and ensure air is flowing freely from them.
Have any additional questions about the way your air conditioner is operating? We’re here to help. Give us a call today.