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How to Maximize Your Air Conditioner’s Energy Efficiency This Summer

Here are a few ideas to implement immediately to decrease your carbon footprint.

Summer heat ushers in air humming with air conditioning sounds. Save energy and money by increasing your air conditioner’s efficiency this summer. Here are a few ideas to implement immediately to decrease your carbon footprint and keep money in your pocketbook instead of sending it for local utility payments.

Replace Your Air Filters

Replacing your air filter every one to two months increases your air conditioner’s efficiency. Additionally, the Department of Energy estimates consumers save an average of five to 15 percent on energy bills simply by changing the air filter regularly.

Dirty air filters circulate unhealthy air for you and your family to breathe. Picture the medical bills you can save by changing your air filter. Air filters left in place too long allows your air conditioner to recirculate dirt and impurities throughout the mechanical parts in your unit. Damage, repairs or air conditioner replacement may result.

Service Your Air Conditioner

Regular AC maintenance will keep your unit running as efficiently as possible. Consider replacing your air conditioner with one that has a high-efficiency rating. An air conditioner older than 10 years is 20 to 40 percent less efficient than one recently manufactures. If you run an AC unit manufactures in the 1970s, your energy use is 30 to 50 percent higher than a new unit uses.

Running an old air conditioner means you pay utility bills at a rate that is 20 to 50 percent higher than it needs to be. Multiply that number by how many years you plan to continue running an inefficient air conditioner. Once you have done the math reflect on the savings you will see with an efficient unit.

Remove Debris Outside

Year-round exposure to the elements takes its toll on the hardiest air conditioner. Keep your unit clear of lint, grass and other debris. Condenser coils quickly build up heat when your unit remains blocked by overgrown bushes or other foliage. Check your evaporator coil at least once a year and clean it as needed.

If leaves clog your fan, or if it has damaged blades, no air circulates over the condenser. Not only will this cause ineffective cooling, if not promptly addressed, it will damage or ruin your air conditioner.

Increase Your Insulation

Generally speaking, most homeowners consider adding insulation in the fall when the weather starts to cool. Insulation seldom comes to mind when you consider ways to improve your home’s cooling efficiency.

Mull over the idea of asking your HVAC specialist to review your insulation and ductwork for its current condition. Advance planning achieves far better results than reacting to emergencies caused when your insulation fails, and your ceilings leak everywhere.

Lizzie Weakly, the author of this post, is a freelance writer.       

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