With the ominous cloud of global warming and perhaps high energy costs making our summers less cheerful, many of us probably want to mitigate the electric costs of our air conditioners. According to the EIA, air conditioning eats up 12% of total energy expenditures in the average home and is even higher it hot & humid areas. This could add up to hundreds of dollars over the summer, so you would want it to run efficiently as possible.
Configuring Your AC
When it comes to a proper energy-saving configuration for your air conditioning, it is better to avoid using it rather than anything else. You will want to tweak your programmable thermostat so that the AC kicks when you actually need it.
When you need high performance HVAC heating and cooling for a commercial building or even a large home, having a well-configured Building Automation Systems will show a noticeable difference. As a BAS network can be quite complex to efficiently program, you may want to leave it in the hands of a trained technician.
When most people suspect their air conditioners are broken or not cooling sufficiently, the filter being clogged with dust is usually the first suspect. While it is pretty easy to clean on their own, most people are pretty lazy about cleaning their dust filters frequently or between seasons.
Some units will have the filter readily accessible at the front end with a straight forward way to remove it. The filter can simply be washed by hand in the sink, dried and reinstalled within a short period of time.
If you have ducts going through the attic or crawl space of your home, there is likely a build up dust and debris up there. You or your technician should visually inspect the state of the ducts and decide if repairs or thorough cleaning is in order.
Air conditioning is probably the most energy-consuming appliance in your house, so be sure that your electrical grid can handle it under full load. The first obvious sign should be if your air conditioning trips the breaker switch and you have to frequently reset it.
The quality of lines going from the AC unit’s outlet to the fuse/breaker is also important for longevity. Most importantly, make sure the circuit breaker has sufficient amps and that the wire size is appropriate for your circuit breaker.
Insulation is not just important for keeping warm air inside during the winter. Air gaps anywhere in your house will leak cool air that your AC unit produces, meaning it will have to work harder to maintain its target temperature.
The primary spots to look are around door frames and windows. You can probably use caulking or adhesive to fix most gaps on your own and it’s very inexpensive.
While it is great to use and abuse your air conditioner over the summer, you should be conscious about how you use it for the sake of a lower electricity bill. With the amount of money you save, you can upgrade your HVAC with more energy saving components and other neat features.