Most homes in Gardendale and other Birmingham, Alabama, suburbs need their air conditioning on just about every day during the hot summer months. To avoid the stifling heat and humidity without driving your energy bills through the roof, you’ll want your air conditioning running as efficiently as possible. With these tips for optimizing your AC output, you’ll be able to keep your home comfortable and cool for your family without overpaying for HVAC-related utilities.
Schedule Maintenance for Your AC Unit
Taking good care of your air conditioning unit is the first step in preventing excessive HVAC energy use. This important equipment needs to be kept in top shape to deliver the best performance. Because these units are so complex and have delicate components, it’s best to hire a professional to come for regular maintenance. This ensures expert knowledge about the AC unit while also identifying any potential issues before they get worse. Ideally, you should schedule bi-annual maintenance visits with a trusted HVAC technician (once in the spring and once in the fall).
While you shouldn’t work on the actual unit yourself, there are a couple of simple maintenance tasks you can perform for your air conditioner throughout the year. Keep it free from debris by raking away any leaves, dust, and dirt that build up around it. If these items frequently blow onto the unit, consider adding a protective barrier around it; be sure to leave at least 2 feet of space between your unit and the barrier to prevent overheating.
Replace Your Filters Regularly
HVAC filters may seem like a small component of your air conditioning system, but they are essential for keeping dust and dirt out of your ductwork and maintaining healthy air quality in your home. When filters get too dirty, they can’t work well and they prevent your home from being cooled efficiently. Check your filters regularly and replace or clean them as necessary. Keep in mind that homeowners with pets and those who live in areas with lots of airborne allergens may need to replace their filters more frequently.
Seal Up Any Leaks in Your Ductwork
One issue that can significantly reduce your AC’s efficiency is ductwork leakage. This can be a big problem for homeowners since a leak in your ducts actually steals energy from your home twice. First, the cooled air isn’t making it through the ductwork into your living spaces, so the energy used to cool the air that escapes is essentially wasted. Second, your AC unit has to work harder to make up for the lost air in order to reach the comfortable temperature you’ve set on the thermostat. This results in even more energy being used and will cause your bills to skyrocket.
If you find a small leak in your ductwork, you may be able to seal it with special tape specifically for this purpose. However, this should only be used as a solution for very minor leaks. Anything more substantial needs to be handled by a professional. They can perform more extensive inspections to find all the leaks and seal them properly.
Use Your Thermostat Correctly
Your thermostat is one of the best tools for making the most of your AC system. Ideally, you should set the temperature above 72 degrees and below 82 degrees to achieve a comfortable atmosphere indoors. Your air conditioning unit won’t cool you down any faster based on the temperature you select, so don’t drop it down to 60 degrees when you’re feeling overheated; it will simply run longer. Keep in mind that every degree you lower the thermostat will use more energy, so try setting it higher whenever possible. Even better, consider the installation of a smart thermostat.
Close Vents for Empty Rooms
Are there certain rooms in your home that don’t need to be cooled at the moment? If so, you can close off the vents to those rooms in order to make your AC more efficient. You should also close the doors to those rooms to help create less space for your air conditioner to cool.
One Source Heating, Cooling & Electrical can help you save on energy bills by optimizing your home’s air conditioning. Give us a call at (205) 509-1929 to learn more about our AC maintenance and repair services.
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