Is the cost of keeping cool making you hot under the collar?

One of the easiest and most affordable ways to ensure that you’re A/C unit is working at peak efficiency is by having a reliable air conditioning repair company perform an annual air conditioning inspection of your system.

In addition to having your A/C system professionally inspected, here are five simple things you can do yourself to ensure that you’re not wasting energy and money.

In order for your air conditioning system to work properly, it must be able to recirculate the air inside your home.  Before entering the air handler, air must pass through a filter located at the entrance to the return air duct. Depending on the type, the filter is designed to trap contaminants, including dust, pollen, pet dander and other allergens and prevent them from being recirculated through your home. These contaminants collect on the filter grill and, over time, obstruct the air flow to your system, forcing you’re A/C unit to work harder and consume more energy. Air filters should be cleaned or replaced every 30 to 90 days.

Most residential thermostats have a separate switch to control the fan.  These switches typically have two positions – “AUTO” and “FAN ON.” During warmer months, you should set the switch to the “FAN ON” position so that air is continuously circulated through your home. Your outdoor unit will cycle less frequently and having a constant air flow will help maintain a more even temperature throughout your home. This is especially important if you live in a 2-story home.

Many people mistakenly think that turning their A/C unit off when they’re away from home for short periods will help them reduce their cooling costs.  In fact, the opposite is true. When the air conditioning unit is turned off, latent heat builds up in the walls, ceiling and even the furniture causing the A/C unit to work even harder once it is turned back on. A better solution is to simply raise the thermostat by up to five degrees during periods when the home is unoccupied.

Be sure that your outdoor condenser coil is clean and unobstructed. Many homeowners make the mistake of placing fencing or tall plants around their condensers for aesthetic reasons, or to muffle the sound produced when the unit is running. These barriers can prevent the condenser from receiving the necessary air flow and cause the unit to work harder than necessary.

Don’t run heat-producing appliances, like your clothes washer and dryer during the hottest times of the day. Doing so places an extra burden on your air conditioning system.  If at all possible, plan your laundry chores for the early morning or evening hours.