Summer is quickly approaching and temperatures are rising fast. This means the A/C is going to be working overtime to keep your home cool and comfortable. Take a deep breath and relax knowing there are a few things you can easily do to help you use less energy.
Knock out some simple summer cleaning.
Dirt, grime and obstructions make your A/C equipment work harder than it needs to, which can cause your electricity bill to climb alongside rising summer temperatures. To increase your A/C unit’s efficiency, and avoid equipment damage from dirt buildup on individual components, follow these cleaning tips:
Get your A/C equipment inspected
- Routinely check your outside A/C unit to make sure that it’s clear of obstructions. Do not allow bushes or plants to grow too close to the unit to prevent problems.
- Once a month, use a shop vacuum to suck the dirt out of your ducts and clear dirt from around A/C equipment.
- Once a year, sometime before summer, hire a duct cleaning service to thoroughly clean your ducts.
- Clean your air filters once a month to lower your energy consumption by up to 15 percent.
You should have an HVAC technician inspect your A/C equipment at least once a year. In parts of the country that depend heavily on air conditioning, the best time to get your A/C inspected is now. Once summer hits, repair wait times grow and temperatures rise. The technician will make sure your equipment is in tip-top shape and running as efficiently as it can. Plus, if you get your system inspected now, you’ll have time to fix any issues before the summer heat has a chance to turn small issues into big problems.
Check your air ducts for leaks
The ducts that carry air into and around your home have a big impact on the efficiency of your air conditioning. Just think of your A/C as your home’s heart and the air ducts like its arteries and veins and you’ll understand how critical they are. You can have an HVAC technician check for leaks or you can do it yourself, which will save you some money along the way.
To check yourself, inspect the ducts for tears or holes and then take a close look at each exposed duct joint. If you see dust or lint near a suspected problem spot or feel cool airflow while your A/C is running, you know you have an air leak. You can seal these kinds of leaks easily with mastic sealant or metal tape. Avoid duct tape, as it doesn’t last very long. For bigger leaks, or larger duct problems, you might have to hire a professional.
If your ducts have holes on the way to your A/C system, dirty air can find its way to your equipment, hurting its efficiency or even damaging it. If your air ducts have leaks on the way to vents in your home’s living spaces, cool air can seep out before it gets to you. In either case, your A/C system’s efficiency will suffer. Pro tip: Don’t close the vents in unused rooms to try and save a buck. Not only does this not work, but the increased pressure it places on your ducts can cause leaks.