Whether you just purchased a new air conditioner, equipped with the latest energy efficient technology, or whether your AC is a couple years away from needing an upgrade, here are some simple tips on how to maximize your energy savings in the coming summer months:
1. Use your programmable thermostat wisely.
Most homes with newer air conditioners come equipped with programmable thermostats these days. These can be powerful allies in the pursuit of energy efficiency, and you know what they say – with great power comes great responsibility! So remember to reprogram your thermostat’s temperature settings as your family’s summer schedule changes.
2. Open windows in the cooler hours, close them in the heat of the day.
This sounds like a no brainer, but the energy savings can be huge. Even though the hot and humid Sarasota area spares us little reprieve from the mid-summer heat, take advantage of even the late evening or early morning breezes to give your AC a rest. Bonus: Letting fresh air into your home is also good for your health, as it keeps your indoor air from becoming too stuffy and full of indoor allergens.
On the flip side, make sure to close your windows during the day, and even pull the curtains or blinds when you’re away from home or in unused rooms to insulate them from the heat.
3. Make sure your home is properly sealed.
It’s advisable to make sure your window and door frames are sealed and free of cracks that would let in hot air from the outside. Also, make sure that all of the connections in your ductwork are sealed. Gaps in these connections allow cooled air to escape to the attic, or to the outside.
4. Use the oven or dryer during the cooler hours of the day.
When possible, try to use appliances like your oven or dryer during early morning or late evening. Or better yet, line dry your clothes (if possible) and barbeque outdoors most often.
5. Use a ceiling fan, and make sure it’s turning in the right direction.
Using ceiling fans in your rooms will allow you to set your AC thermostat a couple of degrees higher. Ceiling fans typically use a very small amount of electricity in comparison to even the most energy efficient air conditioner. But make sure that the ceiling fan blades are turning counterclockwise to properly circulate the cool air and move the hot air up and away from your family.
6. Change or clean your filter once a month during cooling season.
This is a big one – such common knowledge, yet so easy to forget! A good idea is to set a filter cleaning reminder on the calendar software on your smartphone, tablet or PC. Cleaning or changing your filter once a month is standard. If you have pets, you may need to do this more often.
7. Remove storm debris or excess shrubbery around your compressor.
Our stormy Florida summers often result in dislodged branches or other debris littering our yards. Make sure to check your compressor unit after a storm and remove any debris that might otherwise impede its operation and result in an untimely ac repair. Also, if you have bushes or other plants around your compressor, make sure to keep them trimmed back. Compressors function better when allowed the proper amount of breathing room!
Following these tips will help you maximize the energy efficiency of any air conditioner. And one final thought – remember to have your system professionally tuned up every year before peak season to make sure it is in tip-top running condition. This will prevent possible issues and help you enjoy your Southwest Florida summer to the fullest in the comfort of your air conditioned home.