Keep Cool this Summer without Breaking the Bank: Air Conditioning Best Practices

Posted by: Guest Contributor on July 24th, 2012

It’s getting hot as we close in on the end of July and a glass of orange juice isn’t enough to help you concentrate on much else beside the heat. You want to turn on the A/C but don’t want the bills to skyrocket, so what do you do? We’ve come up with a list of best practices that are often overlooked to keep your short and long-term costs down while maximizing the effectiveness of your air conditioning.

You wouldn’t expect your dryer to run at 100% without cleaning the lint screen, so why do you ask the same of your A/C unit? Keep it clean by lubricating the moving parts, and cleaning condenser coils as well as the blower components. Lubricating the moving parts will reduce friction in the motor, which in turn reduces electricity use. Cleaning the rest of the unit will increase its lifespan and help avoid airflow problems, which make your system up to 15% less efficient.

While your air conditioning unit might not be a work of art, it also is not something that you should try to hide. Inhibiting the airflow from your air conditioner or putting it next to something that may cause it to work harder to cool the air will increase the energy used. Another important thing to remember is that it is not only important to place your air conditioning unit in the right place, but also the thermostat. Put it away from large entertainment systems or other household items that may cause it to run more often than is necessary and register a higher heat than the rest of the house.

The above tips are meant to be things you check on once a month, or when you put your system into a house. But air conditioning is something you use everyday, so what can you do on a daily basis to get the most out of your A/C unit? Make sure that you aren’t leaving the A/C on unnecessarily when you leave the house. Even 2° will save you 10% on your bill every month, so pulling the blinds and turning off the unit when you go to work can make a huge difference.

A mistake that is commonly made is turning your A/C way down when you come home to a hot house. Instead, turn it down to the temperature you want it at, turning it further will not cool the house any faster but merely make the cycle run longer and cool the house longer than is necessary, wasting energy.

Think about items in your house that create a lot of heat and treat them respectively. Remembering to turn off entertainment systems when they are not in use will cool down a room significantly. Take the cooking outside and enjoy grilling up some delicious food without producing an immense amount of heat in the house.

Avoid the common mistakes people make with their air conditioning to improve its effectiveness and longevity. Using the methods outlined above can help you to stay comfortable in terms of temperature, and pocketbook while enjoying the summer sun.

Ben Graziano is a content developer at OpenSesame, the world’s marketplace for buying and selling online training courses. Ben is a senior at Babson College and loves soccer, hiking and lifting.



2 Comments on “Keep Cool this Summer without Breaking the Bank: Air Conditioning Best Practices”

Mike Woods from Carmel

Good tips. Something I have dealt with is a temperature difference of nearly 10 degrees between my first floor and second floor. I was wondering whether it is harmful to the AC system to close the first-floor vents 90% of the way, while leaving the second-floor vents open 100%. Doing this seems to help equalize the temperature differential.

Ben Graziano

Because heat rises, most two story homes suffer from a similar problem to yours. In this case, partially shutting the downstairs vents can cool the upstairs areas but remember that this method will only work if your air conditioning system is not zoned. The down side to this method is that your air conditioning system is designed to use a specific amount of air, and shutting certain vents will disturb the circulation of your system and result in a higher operating cost. It could also damage the system if the pressure builds up more in specific areas for a long period of time. If you are going to partially close any vents, make sure that you are only doing so in moderation.

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