We all want to save money. We clip coupons, shop sales and bargain for discounts. You can save money while also helping save the planet by getting the air conditioner in your Phoenix home or business to operate efficiently.
Eight Ways to Make Your Air Conditioner More Effective
If you want to save more and make your air conditioner last longer, take a moment to implement these suggestions.
1. Run Your Air Conditioner Efficiently
Phoenix (as if we have to tell you!) is hot much of the year. The average daily high temperature is more than 86 degrees, according to the experts at U.S. Climate Data. Those temperatures peak in July with an average of 106 degrees. Dealing with such temperatures is difficult for any central air conditioner. Phoenix air conditioning repair companies are busy year-round.
With the national average life expectancy of a high-quality central AC system at 15 to 20 years, according to Energy.gov, every bit of efficiency you can wring from your system is money in your pocket. Keep your system running longer, more efficiently, and you will stack up the savings.
2. Purchase a New AC Unit
Making your air conditioner more effective also helps Phoenix’s environment. Though we may rate poorly for air quality, we can take steps to make our air easier to breathe, both indoors and out. As Energy.gov points out, the average air conditioner draws more than 2,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, which pumps 3,500 pounds of carbon dioxide and 31 pounds of sulfur dioxide into our air.
3. Switch to a Wireless Thermostat
Even though Wi-Fi is a trademark for wireless ethernet connectivity (the term actually means nothing in particular, it’s just catchy), your Wi-Fi thermostat actually has some wires. They originate in the thermostat and connect through your home’s walls to your central air conditioner and heating system. The Wi-Fi part is how it connects to your smart phone.
That means your central air conditioner can be controlled from your phone, allowing instantaneous changes to your home’s comfort even when you are not home. Away for an unexpected business trip? Boost the daytime temperature up to 80 degrees and save cooling costs. Coming home earlier than expected? Connect to your thermostat and get the air conditioning going a half-hour from the house.
A programmable thermostat does more than react from across town to your every wish. It can also be extremely energy efficient, allowing you to make set points throughout the day for optimal savings. Let the daytime temperatures of the empty house get up to 78 degrees, but start the system to have you at a cool, comfortable 74 or so by the time you get home. Overnight, let it go up again when you will not even notice.
Other seldom-considered benefits:
- Your thermostat can send you efficiency reports;
- You can receive alerts if your home’s environment strays from normal;
- It can monitor outdoor temperatures and humidity;
- Your thermostat can send a reminder to replace or clean the air filter.
4. Reduce Heat Inside the Home – Close Curtains & Turn Off Fans
Energy efficiency means conscious living. When the sun shines bright but you are not in a room, shut out the heat. Close the curtains to prevent infrared radiation (heat) from infiltrating your cooled space. Other energy-efficiency tips:
Use ceiling fans to move air across people. Fans cool skin, not objects, so shut them off when the room is empty.
Keep supply and return registers clear and clean. Your AC thrives on good air circulation.
Plant shade trees around your home to block some of the sun’s heat.
5. Keep Air Filters Clean & Free-Flowing
Keep it clean – your central air conditioner’s air filter, that is. Whether you have a permanent filter that can be hosed off, dried and slid back into place, or you have a disposable filter, the cleaner your air filter is, the better your system works.
During your HVAC technician’s next service call, such as annual maintenance, ask her or him to show you exactly – and we mean exactly – how to locate, remove and replace the disposable filter. Size and direction matter.
If you have a permanent filter, ask your technician for the same information, realizing you will take the filter to your tub, sink or outside for a thorough drenching. Your goal is to return it, clean and dry, to your system to block particulates from getting into your air conditioner’s interior. It also rids ductwork of household dust.
Good air flow is not only energy-efficient, it lets your air conditioner work less, since the cool air is flowing properly. The filter is primarily in place to protect your ductwork and machinery; your family will breathe easier as a side benefit of clean filters.
6. Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned Regularly
For homes with family members who suffer respiratory issues or bad allergies, duct cleaning may be appropriate. In general, most homes do not need their ducts cleaned if central air conditioning maintenance and filter replacement has been scrupulous.
You may not know the condition of your home’s ducts, so having a qualified technician examine them could put your mind at ease. The Environmental Protection Agency reminds us that duct cleaning needs to be done carefully, when you elect to do it, so discuss the pros and cons with your HVAC contractor.
Three reasons to definitely consider duct cleaning, as mentioned by the EPA:
- Visible mold;
- Evidence of rodent droppings or insect infestation;
- Dust and debris blows out of your registers when the air conditioner starts.
Be sure to ask your HVAC technician if the type of air duct cleaning Phoenix contractors offer would help your particular situation. At Ace Home Services, for example, we use rotor brushes and powerful vacuums to do a thorough cleaning job, leaving your ducts and you breathing freely.
7. Don’t Skip Your Annual HVAC Checkup
Efficiency climbs when your machinery – all the clinking, clanking moving parts – operate smoothly. You are probably not qualified to tinker with the fan motor, evaporator coil, air handler or any parts, but your local HVAC technician is not only qualified but highly trained.
Check thermostat settings: This ensures the cooling system keeps you comfortable when you are home and saves energy while you are away.
Electrical system: Tighten and inspect electrical connections. Measure voltage and current on motors. This helps increase the life of major components.
Lubrication: All moving parts will be properly oiled or dry-lubricated so motors operate with less friction and draw less power.
Safety check: The technician will deliberately trip safety controls to ensure the system shuts down safely.
Start and stop: System controls should start the cooling cycle smoothly, quietly and efficiently. Those same controls should bring the system to a stop when the desired temperature is reached, saving money.
Evaporator coils: Clean, inspect and test the coils for optimal efficiency.
Condenser coils: Clean and inspect, including using a fin comb to realign bent fins. This increases efficiency and extends equipment life.
Refrigerant: Verify the legal amount and type of refrigerant is charged in the lines; too little refrigerant and your system will blow hot air.
Check the air handler and blower components: Limited air flow can reduce your system’s energy efficiency by up to 15 percent, says Energy.gov.
Condensation drip pan, drain tube and exit point: Humidity gathered from your home’s air has to exit the system continuously. A clogged or kinked line can cause energy-robbing water to build up, leading to mold and short equipment life.
8. Have HVAC Repairs Done Promptly, Don’t Procrastinate
Deferred maintenance may sound good in theory (you do not have to pay for something now, gambling it will not get worse for a while). It is not a good idea at all, though, because you pay a triple penalty:
- Decreased energy efficiency until the repairs bring your system up to optimal operating conditions;
- More expensive AC repairs once the technician is called;
- Reduced system life, leading to a costly replacement system.
The refrigerant that may still be circulating in some Phoenix air conditioning systems, R-22, went under the brand name Freon. It has been phased out of new systems since Jan. 1, 2015, but can still legally be added to old systems still using it. A central air conditioner should never need “topping off” with refrigerant because the chemical circulates through condensers and evaporators without degrading.
The only reason your system loses refrigerant is if you have a leak, and topping off will do nothing to solve the problem. A Freon leak can also harm the atmosphere. Do-it-yourself products are just as bad as having an unscrupulous technician tell you your system needs more coolant. The real answer is prompt, professional air conditioning repairs from a local HVAC contractor.
ACE Home Services
Other ways to improve your system’s energy efficiency and cooling effectiveness are only a telephone call away. Contact us at Ace Home Services today at (602) 943-2000 to allow us to help you get your system in perfect shape, this summer and for many more to come.