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If you are good at DIY (Do-it-yourself) solutions and enjoy fixing up things to get them to work better, there are things you can do to improve the efficiency of your appliances, save money, and improve things around your home. Some of these things are easy, while others require some skill in mechanics or electricity. With summer here, there will be many hot days ahead. So now’s the time to spruce up your central air conditioner system. For the really big jobs, you might need a professional. But there are many things you can do to improve your system on your own.

Here are 6 great ways to make your central air conditioner operate more efficiently:

Change Your Filters Often

HVAC Air Filter Maintenance

With central heating and air conditioning units, it is important to keep the air ducts flowing freely, and keep them free of any excess dust or dirt build-up. Over time, this build-up can become extreme and often lead to blocking the air conditioner vents.

Check on this when you pay your monthly electricity or heating and cooling bill, as a way to remind yourself of when to do it.

You can purchase filters at most hardware stores or discount stores. Some local dollar stores are now starting to offer this in their locations. To save yourself some time and trouble, make sure you know the size of filter your unit uses before heading to the store to purchase a filter. You don’t want to have to take it back and then have to find another filter later. Make a habit of cleaning and changing your filter about once per month to get it running at peak efficiency. This will avoid heavier maintenance and repairs having to be done in the long run. If you have visible access to the fan motor and wheel assembly check the dust build-up in this as well when you change your air filters. Every central air conditioner is tied to the efficiency of the fan motor inside the furnace. If there is excessive or visible dust build-up hire a licensed hvac company to clean your system.

Dusting the vent for air conditioning filter

Use our handy guide to make sure you install those air filters properly!

Keep Your Thermostat Around 78 Degrees


Programmable Thermostat

Many people believe that you should turn your thermostat to 78 degrees when you leave for vacation, but tend to keep it around 74 or lower other times. Remember that your central air unit will kick on any time the temperature falls below the temperature you have set your thermostat on. So, if you set it at 78 and leave it there, rather than moving it up and down to your comfort level, you will have more relative cooling in your entire house, save energy by not overtaxing your air conditioning unit, and avoid having to worry about the thermostat or surprisingly high bills each month. The summer months are usually the highest for most people, because it so hotter and people feel they have to move their thermostat down to 68 or even lower. This will cause your system to overwork itself, and it will result in higher bills.

Close Curtains and Blinds During Hot Summer Months

Many people may not realize how much air is lost during the summer due to the fact that the sun is coming into their house. People like to open windows too, which lets most of the cool air escape quickly. Teach everyone in your home to keep blinds, curtains, and windows/doors closed when it is at the peak high temperature times, to save energy and keep the cool air inside. If you do this regularly during the hot summer months, you will save a lot of money on energy bills and prevent having to do further maintenance on your central air conditioner because you are increasing the efficiency of your unit in general. This simple step can lead to a lot of savings on your monthly bills, while also keeping your home more comfortable and energy-efficient. Likewise, do the same thing in the winter months for your heating system. Keep curtains drawn so that heat will not escape through the open places in your windows. Another tip related to this is to have good insulation. Some people add insulation to their homes if they are skilled at doing this. You may want to do this too. Adding better insulation to your home sealed your house in and keeps drafts from stealing your air source from your air conditioner unit. Often times there can be incentives through your local power utility company to assist with the installed cost of adding insulation to your home.

Have Your Air Conditioner Moved Out Of the Sun to the Other Side Of the Home

This often requires a professional to complete the refrigeration and the electrical installations. The savings can be worth it if the total work costs less than $1500. By placing the unit away from direct sun’s rays, you will keep it at a moderate temperature and keep all the parts running more smoothly. Additionally, you will notice a longer life on your central air conditioner because it is running less during the summer months. Have a licensed hvac company come out to your home to see what can be done and what the total cost would be. If the cost is too great, consider installing some type of shade or awning off your house to help shade the air conditioner. You’ll want to leave about 12″ around the sides of the air conditioner and about 3-5 feet around the top of the unit for future servicing needs.

Utilize Ceiling Fans

Living Room Ceiling Fan

Ceiling fans can help move air around the room when needed. While a ceiling fan will not directly add cold, conditioned air to a bedroom, it does help draw the cooler air up towards the ceiling during the summer. And it helps move the warmer along the ceiling down into the bedroom where you can notice it. Most fans now have switches along the housing that you move up or down according the season. You want the air to be pushed down in the winter and pulled up in the summer.

Ceiling Fan Operation

Schedule Routine Checkups

central air conditioner service technician

Finally, there are a few other DIY things you can do to improve the overall health and efficiency of your air conditioner unit, such as (if you are mechanically inclined and feel comfortable with electrical work), you can open up your air conditioner unit and check for problems, such as freon leaks, wiring problems, or other. But make sure you know what you are doing because this can be very dangerous. Stand alone air conditioner units carry a very high voltage and you should always make sure the unit is unplugged and that the electricity has been discharged before attempting this. In addition, have a regular maintenance plan which includes inspection by a licensed & trained professional in the heating and air industry, to come check out your unit on a regular basis. They can tell you what the potential problems are with your unit and offer suggestions in how you can make it run more efficiently.

If you follow these steps, you may save yourself a lot of time and money by cutting down on your electric, heating, and air conditioning bill, making your unit run better, and creating a more comfortable environment for your home. However, sometimes maintenance does have to be done in order to avoid bigger repair problems in the future. So plan regularly scheduled maintenance check-ups, to trouble-shoot any potential problems with your unit, before they result in bigger repair jobs. Remember that it is less expensive to maintain your unit as you go, rather than to have to call in someone to repair it later on. And you know they always break down right when you need them the most!

The key to making your central air conditioner operate more efficiently is due diligence. This is a term usually used in reference to a business looking out for its customers’ best interests. But regarding your air conditioning unit, it refers to keeping your air conditioner up to standards and running at peak efficiency, so that you prevent bigger problems down the road. Like anything else, it simply requires getting into the habit or routine of doing these things on a regular basis. Soon, it will just become a part of what you do and you can save energy, money, and time in the long run by keeping your central air conditioner running the best it can all year long.

The biggest benefit is the money you’ll save by following these steps. But you may also appreciate the feeling of control you will achieve over your electrical utility bills. It may take a while to get used to keeping your air conditioning unit around 78 all of the time, but with practice all of these steps will become second nature and you’ll love the result that just a little preventive care can bring you.

For more tips on how to make your home more efficient, save money, and create a more comfortable environment for your home, while lengthening the life span of your units, contact us. We will be glad to come in and do a maintenance check for your home and system. Remember the saying: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Have a question? We can help!