Improving AC Efficiency: The Best Ways to Do It

The air conditioner is our best friend during hot summer days and long winter nights when the temperatures rapidly change. It provides a pleasant atmosphere to help us survive high heat and extreme cold, but if not maintained adequately, it can be the reason our energy bills go through the rough.

According to some statistics, US homes are facing an increase in energy costs, and the AC has an immense contribution to these costs. Homeowners are always looking for ways to reduce costs and, at the same time, improve the performance of the AC.

There are many ways to improve AC efficiency and, in this article, we will discuss several. Some of these steps include easy adjustments you can do yourself, while others would require consulting a professional. We’ll give you tips on where to look for issues and what to do to reduce your energy bills.

How to Improve AC Efficiency?

Depending on the AC unit installation, you’ll need to look for ways how to improve air conditioner efficiency. Owners who enclose AC units because of their appearance should be careful not to enclose them fully. This will present a problem for the AC performance and the cleaning and maintenance of the unit. Blockages should also be prevented around vents to ensure proper air circulation.

Outdoor units can improve their performance by shading them during the summer. Installing the unit in a shaded place will not require it to work as hard as when exposed to the sun. If this is impossible, find another way to shade it and protect it from the sun. This also means protecting the outside unit from extreme cold. Find a suitable spot that will keep the unit from overheating or be exposed to ice and wind.

Other simple ways you can help improve efficiency and performance are buying a whole-house fan to draw in clean air from the outside and remove hot, stale air from your home. Add ceiling fans to move the cold air throughout your home, or cover your windows to prevent the heat from entering the house.

Dirty filters play a significant role in the AC’s performance, which is a reason to replace them regularly. In addition to lowering the air quality in your house, dirty filters may also restrict airflow, making your AC’s job more challenging. It is a simple and inexpensive method of avoiding issues with air conditioner performance.

How to Increase Home AC Efficiency?

There are many ways to boost the work of your AC. Investing in an energy-efficient central air conditioner, along with ongoing repairs, tune-ups, and upkeep, ensures performance boosts and reduction of costs. We’ve compiled a list of several strategies on how to increase home AC efficiency.

Keep Your Outdoor Units and Vents Clean

AC’s performance can significantly decrease due to clogs or debris found near the outdoor condenser. Check for possible blockages around the unit that may be causing reduced performance. Clear away any winter leaf piles, and trim tall grass, bushes, or plants that may have sprung near the structure.

Regular cleaning and maintenance of the air conditioning system is recommended. This includes keeping the outdoor unit and vents unblocked and clean of dust and other debris to allow normal performance of the AC.

Improve the Attic and Walls’ Insulation

Insulation is an important component of every house to keep the heat inside, and it also keeps the cool air from escaping and prevents the summer heat from entering the house.

Lack of insulation in the walls and attic will cause the energy bills to increase, costing you lots of money. It also means that the air conditioning system will work harder than necessary to maintain the temperature in your home.

Clean the Drain Line

Air conditioning systems have drain lines that are usually located near the indoor cooling coil and are used to drain the moisture created from the indoor air. The drain line can clog up and create a blockage which can cause further damage.

Pay special attention during the days when the AC works 24/7, and a lot of moisture is created. Use a cup of chlorine bleach and a gallon of water to clean the drain line. This will ensure the drain line is clean and prevent any water-related damage.

Use Blinds And Curtains to Cover Your Windows

The heat from the sun can enter through the windows causing the temperature inside to rise rapidly. Establish a routine of drawing the curtains or closing the blinds as a way to block the heat from entering your home. This way, you’ll prevent your AC from working harder and increase its performance.

The Best Ways How to Improve Air Conditioner Efficiency

There are many ways how to increase AC efficiency, and one is to replace an old unit with a newer, more efficient model. However, before you go and spend your money on a new AC system, let’s look at how to improve AC efficiency of your current, fully functioning unit.

Fix All Possible Leaks

Leaky air systems can seriously reduce the AC’s performance and make it work harder than it should. Air easily leaks out through the attic, doors, and windows, costing you a lot of money. The AC will run longer than necessary to compensate for the lost air.

The right thing to do is check for leaks on doors, window frames, and the attic. If you notice any cracks, fix them to help the air conditioning system perform better and save you money.

Handle and Replace the Thermostat

Knowing how to handle the “brain” of the AC system will help you maintain a constant temperature in the space. New programmable thermostats will help adjust the temperature throughout the day to fit your busy schedule.

Another point to remember is to place it away from devices that produce heat, such as lamps, or even expose it to direct sunlight. It will misread the temperature making the AC work harder to decrease the temperature, hence increasing the cost.

If you notice that the thermostat keeps switching on and off repeatedly, it may be time to replace it with a new one. A malfunctioning thermostat will create high energy bills.

Maintaining the Temperature

Most people believe that keeping the same temperature level when they leave the house could lower their expenses because the system won’t have to work as hard to cool the home down again. This isn’t the case, though.

Turning up the thermostat during summer when you go out is the least expensive method to utilize your air conditioning. Air conditioning systems operate more effectively over extended periods at full speed. As a result, turning down the heat when you arrive home will save you more money than turning the air conditioner on and off while you are gone.

Check the AC Filter Regularly

The filters must be checked regularly and replaced if needed. Soiled filters reduce air quality and airflow, making the AC system work harder. Not addressing the issue with the filters may lead to more expensive repairs, so look at this as an affordable way of increasing AC efficiency.

Avoid Using Heat-Producing Devices

Avoid using heat-producing devices such as ovens and hair dryers on very hot days. This equipment generates heat, which the AC must dissipate in your home.

Running these devices in the middle of the day can put more strain on the AC when the temperature is high. Plan and operate these devices at night when it is cooler so the AC won’t have to work as much.

Plan Routine Maintenance to Increase Performance And Efficiency

While there are many things you can do to maintain your house energy-efficient, regular AC maintenance and repair performed by a professional like Cummings Plumbing is recommended. You won’t have to worry about cleaning the system and ensuring it functions properly. Additionally, they can aid in problem detection before they develop into larger ones, extending the life of the AC.

FAQ

Is it cheaper to leave the AC on all day?

Since ACs consume more energy when running continuously, operating the AC at full capacity when at home is more cost-effective than running it at a reduced capacity throughout the day. Your monthly utility costs will increase in direct proportion to the amount of power you utilize.

How can I reduce my AC bill?

Using a thermostat, you precisely control the temperature in your home. You can slightly change the temperature without affecting your enjoyment but with the possibility of using less energy. Programmable thermostats can be set to chill your area when you’re at home and increase the temperature when you’re gone, a straightforward adjustment that will ultimately save you a significant amount of energy.

What is the best AC temp to save money?

The optimal temperature of 78F allows you to be comfortable and reduce insanely high energy bills. Nevertheless, depending on the weather, you may need to change that setting. Your energy bill will increase if the inside and outside temperatures differ significantly.

Cleaning the AC: How Should You Go About It?

There are two answers to how to clean AC unit – learn how to do it on your own or let a professional take care of it.

As with any electrical device, cleaning and maintenance are essential. And cleaning your AC is, in particular, necessary in locations with hot weather, which may indicate overuse of the home’s cooling system.

Maintaining your AC is a critical part of air conditioning maintenance, helping you save money, maintain efficiency and increase the life of your system.

Read this article to learn how to take care of your AC adequately.

Why Is Cleaning the AC a Good Idea?

Regularly cleaning your AC has many financial and health benefits. Cool air is just one of the benefits while making sure the air is safe for you and your entire family is a crucial element.

This is why cleaning the AC is important:

  • Improved Air Conditioner Efficiency: Clogged and dirty air filters interfere with normal airflow and disable the air conditioner from operating more efficiently, which is why regular AC maintenance can help it work better.
  • Lowering the Power Bill: Maintaining your AC by keeping it clean can reduce your monthly utility bills by up to 30%. Dirty coils mean the device is working more to cool or heat the air, as there is a dirtier surface spot for hot air to flow through.
  • Extends the AC Life Span: Air conditioners are expensive, and you don’t want to change them if you are not obligated. On-time maintenance by a certified HydroKleen technician keeps the unit running efficiently.
  • It helps you breathe cleaner and safer air in your home: After an extended usage period, the AC becomes full of mold, bacteria, pet dander, etc. Proper cleaning of the unit will remove these contaminants in an environmentally friendly manner.

The importance of cleaning your air conditioner properly offers numerous benefits. The above-listed advantages are some of the main reasons you should clean and maintain your AC.

How to Clean AC Unit?

If you wonder how to clean AU unit, filters and coils are the two key components to pay attention to. Filters are used to remove dirt from the air, but when they’re blocked, your AC has to work extra hard and consume more energy, which increases your expenses without doing any good.

Therefore, you need to ensure the coils are clean and free of dust and debris because they assist in moving the hot and cold air.

To thoroughly clean your air conditioner, you will require a few materials from your house. Before you begin, gather the necessary supplies: a screwdriver, cloth, soft brush, and spray bottle.

Make Sure the Power Is Off

Before working on an electrical device, it’s a good practice to unplug the cable and switch off the electricity for extra protection.

Remove Any Excess Rubble

After unplugging your AC, take off the front panel and filter. Use a vacuum to remove as much dirt as possible. Next, clean your filter with hot water and soap before drying it outside. It is advised to reinstall your AC unit when it has completely dried out.

Clean the External Cover

Use the water hose’s spray to remove dirt particles from the external component. The coil cleaner should be sprayed on the outdoor unit. Wait for the cleaner to foam and bond with the dirt on the coils for 10 to 15 minutes. Use the hose to wash the coil cleaner.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

How to clear air conditioner coils? First, turn off the air conditioner on the thermostat before doing anything. Combine warm water with a little detergent in a spray bottle or garden sprayer. Pour the mixture onto the evaporator coils, then wait a few minutes for it to absorb and remove any particles or dirt. Use a gentle brush or towel to remove any substance that has come free, then reapply as necessary.

Should You Clean or Change the Filter?

It all depends on the type of filter you have. When disposable filters get dirty or clogged, they should be thrown. Most of these filters are not very expensive, including cardboard framing. Have extra of each available so you can swap them out as needed.

Permanent filters are more expensive initially, but you may save money over time because you can clean them rather than replace them. Permanent air filters typically have fiberglass frameworks instead of cardboard ones.

How to Clean AC Filters?

You can find various types of air filters, many of which are disposable and cannot be washed. However, due to the rapid changes in technology and the efficiencies that come with them, air filters that can be cleaned are frequently used. If you have used disposable filters before, it’s time to upgrade.

Now let’s walk you through the steps of cleaning your AC filter:

  1. Turn off the power and locate the filter: To begin the process, switch off your HVAC unit to stop unfiltered air from circling through your household. See where the vent is, and open the unit using a screwdriver. Some systems have numerous vents, so make sure to clean all of them. Take out the filter and examine if there is any damage. Change filters if necessary. Otherwise, keep vacuuming.
  2. Vacuum the air filter: It is recommended to take the filter out to keep the dust out of the home. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove dirt from the filter. Filter the brush and gently loosen any build-up deposits.
  3. Clean the filter with vinegar and water: To clean the filter more thoroughly, fill a sink with a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar. Soak the filter for about an hour. If you don’t have vinegar, dish soap can be used as a substitute. Finally, remove the filter and let it dry. Do not rinse it with water since it can negate the disinfecting effect of using vinegar.
  4. Reinstall The Filter: Once the filter has been cleaned and dried, put it back in place. Most filters have arrows that indicate which way they point, and this arrow should point in the direction of the airflow.

How to Clean Outside AC Unit?

One element that is frequently disregarded is the outside AC unit, and it affects the efficiency just as much as the indoor AC.

Follow our tips on how to clean outside AC unit:

  1. Turn off your AC: Make safety a priority by turning off the AC before cleaning it. Locate the power shut-off box close to the outside air conditioning unit and switch it off.
  2. Prepare for cleaning: The way to prepare for cleaning entails keeping the near area surrounding the outside AC clear. Trim the bushes back to a fair distance and remove any leaves and trash accumulated on or close to the unit.
  3. Get rid of dirt: AC that is blocked with particles might lose a lot of energy. Ensure to shut off the electricity at the breaker box before removing dirt from your outdoor air conditioning unit. Using a screwdriver or hammer, loosen the cage’s bolts so you may take it off the apparatus.
  4. Clean or replace: If your air filter is reusable, a strong spray from the garden hose will quickly wash it. If not, change it as needed to stop future accumulation.

Alternatively, you can reach us at Cummings Plumbing if you’d rather leave it to professionals.

Wrap-Up: How to Clean the Air Conditioning Unit?

Although these cleaning tips can help you maintain your AC, keep in mind that some maintenance tasks are best left to licensed HVAC specialists. They have all the equipment and cleaning techniques for central air conditioning units.

For example, an expensive engine failure could be caused by a slow refrigerant leakage in your air conditioner. You might not be equipped as a homeowner to monitor the refrigerant levels or guarantee optimum airflow. Therefore, even if you can perform rudimentary AC maintenance, you should still have a qualified expert check the system occasionally.

Our group of qualified Tucson plumbers, sewer, and HVAC specialists at Cummings Plumbing can identify the source of your HVAC issues. We offer reasonably priced options adapted to your particular needs and aim to resolve the issue as fast as possible.

FAQ

How often does an AC unit need to be cleaned?

Each month or two, wash or change the filter in your AC throughout the cold period. It may need frequent cleaning if the air conditioner is used more often, is exposed to dirty circumstances, or you have furry pets in the house.

How do I know if my AC unit needs cleaning?

When the air conditioner is operating and you can detect mold on the exterior vents, it’s time to start cleaning. When the AC is not cooling the room as it is expected, the AC usually requires cleaning. Finally, look for any strong smell or unusual noise, as the AC can worsen if not resolved on time.

Is it OK to spray water on your air conditioner?

Yes, you can spray water on your AC to clean it. Your air conditioner’s condenser will operate more effectively if sprayed with water. The reality is that your condenser has to be spritzed frequently to continue working effectively.

How long should AC dry after cleaning?

It is recommended to wait around 30 to 60 minutes before using the AC after washing the coils.

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