Whether temperatures are just starting to climb after a chilly spring or you’re deep in the dog days of summer, you want your AC to work when you adjust the thermostat to compensate for the heat outdoors. Naturally, you also want your system to run as efficiently as possible. Here are a few tips to keep your system in ship shape throughout the summer months.
Clean and Inspect Regularly
One of the most essential steps to take if you want your air conditioning unit to continue functioning at optimal capacity is to hire a professional to clean and inspect your unit regularly, generally on an annual basis. During this inspection, he or she will clean your AC unit, replace filters, and repair minor damage to ensure the greatest possible efficiency.
Use the Auto Setting
Most AC units have at least a couple of fan settings, with the most basic being “on” or “auto”. When you set fans to “on”, they will run continuously.
Setting them to auto means they only run until your home interior has reaches the temperature you set, at which time they turn off. They will only turn on again when the temperature rises enough to require more cold air.
Some newer, energy-efficient models have additional settings, as well. New features include a function that uses minimal energy to adjust the temperature 1-2 degrees or kicks it up a notch if the temperature changes more than two degrees, allowing you the opportunity to save energy by how you set your thermostat.
Program Your Thermostat
If you have yet to install a digital, programmable thermostat, you are almost certainly compromising the efficiency of your HVAC system. With a programmable thermostat, you can increase the efficiency of your AC unit by setting the temperature to adjust when the family is gone for the day (at work and school), as well as during sleep times.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, thermostats should be set to no higher than 68 degrees (F) in winter and no lower than 78 in summer. In addition, they estimate that you could cut energy usage (and utility costs) by up to 10% by programming your thermostat to adjust by 7-10 degrees for eight hours each day.
Conduct a Home Energy Audit
Your AC unit can’t be efficient if all of your cold air is leaking out around the seams. A home energy audit will pinpoint areas of waste around doors, windows, vents, pipes, in the insulation, and so on. With this information, you can weatherize your home and make your HVAC more efficient.
You don’t necessarily have to undergo residential air duct cleaning every time you have your annual HVAC inspection, although it depends on your usage and the area you live in. However, you should inspect your ducts regularly and you even spring for air duct cleaning as necessary. These actions will help you maintain an effective and efficient HVAC system overall.