PREPPING YOUR HOUSE FOR MAXIMUM AIR CONDITIONING EFFICIENCY
MAY 03, 2018
If you’ve ever experienced a Phoenix summer, you know that getting inside will only do so much. For any real respite from the heat, you’ll need a solid and reliable air conditioning system. Unfortunately, even the best systems can only do so much when the homes in which they are installed aren’t properly prepared. If you want to beat the heat this summer, you’ll need to start preparing your home for maximum air conditioning efficiency today.
IMPROVING AIR CONDITIONING EFFICIENCY
Getting more out of your air conditioning isn’t always easy. While some of the steps are fairly simple, you’d be surprised by how complicated some of this process can be. You’re going to be looking at much more than just how you use your HVAC system – you’ll be looking at how your entire house works. From taking a long look at your home’s exterior to working with a professional energy auditor, these steps will help you to bring down your cooling bills, use less electricity, and feel more comfortable inside when the summer heat reaches its apex.
The beginning of your efficiency project is going to start outside. While you might not think of the exterior of your home as a place that has anything to do with air conditioning, the truth is that you can make a few minor changes to your property that might be able to pay off huge dividends when it comes to your cooling bills.
Your first step should be to investigate the outside of your home for any drafts that are coming from the inside. This can clue you into problems that your home might have with its insulation or with other structural issues, which in turn can cause your cooling bill to rise. Do a quick walk-around and try to notice if you feel anything coming from the interior of your home. If you can’t, there’s a good chance that your home is sealed up properly against the elements. This may not be the most scientific way to make sure that your house isn’t leaking cool air, but it can work.
Next, take a look at things like awnings. If you have them near your doors or your windows, you may be able to stop some of the sunlight from coming into your home. This is actually a great way to reduce your cooling costs and can even help you out if you lose electricity during one of Phoenix’s summer blackouts. Awnings and overhangs are a good way to provide a long-term solution to your cooling problems, but they aren’t always feasible. If you can make it work, though, it’s something that will help you out a great deal.
PREPARE THE WINDOWS
Your next step should be to look at your windows. Again, you’re looking at areas that are going to cause you to spend more on your cooling bill than you’d otherwise like. The bare minimum you need to do with your windows is to make sure that they’re properly sealed and in good working condition. If you’ve got anything with a structural problem, you’ll want to consider replacing it before you go any further. When your windows aren’t in the right shape, they’ll let in too much heat which can actively work against your attempts to cool your home.
Next, start looking at the age of your windows. There are many on the market now that help with energy efficiency – but if you haven’t replaced them in the last decade, there’s a good chance that your current windows don’t have those benefits. Replacing all the windows in your home may not be a particularly thrifty move, though, so make sure you’re actually going to get a return on investment before you take that major step.
If you’re not going to replace your windows, consider making sure that they are well-covered. One of the most useful things you can have in Arizona is a set of curtains that actually block out the sun. If you are willing to invest in blackout curtains, you can actually cool down the inside of your house a bit even when your air conditioning unit is off. While these curtains are certainly not a solution that will keep you cool during the hottest months of the year, they can contribute to a much cooler and more energy efficient household.
LOOK AT YOUR THERMOSTAT
Your next step should be to look at your thermostat. This is one thing that you can absolutely control, so make sure you pay a great deal of attention to it! Always keep an eye on what you’ve got the thermostat set to when you’re home, and do your best to figure out the maximum temperature at which you are comfortable. While you might like it very chilly in the house during the day, the truth is that you should probably keep it set somewhere in the seventies if you want your air conditioning unit to function at peak efficiency.
It’s also important to make sure you know how you have your thermostat set when you’re out of the house. It’s great to come back into a cool environment after a hot day, but you don’t need to run up your energy bills by keeping things frigid when you aren’t at home. It’s generally recommended that you set your thermostat around eighty degrees when you’re out of the house and not actually reaping any benefits from the AC – that will make it very easy to cool things down when you get home, and will still allow you to save a bit on your energy bill.
If you really want to maximize your savings, you may want to think about getting a smart thermostat. These thermostats are easy to control from your phone and allow you to make adjustments on the fly. The smartest models can even adjust the temperature in various rooms of your home as you move around, helping to make sure that you’re not wasting any energy while you are on the go. These systems can be complex and expensive, but they are ultimately some of the best ways to gain total control over your thermostat.
CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN!
Keeping your air conditioning system clean is another great way to lower your energy bills. If you’ve never had the ducts cleaned out, it’s not too late to make a change. This will increase the efficiency of your system and even help to extend its lifespan. It’s not a terribly lengthy process, but it’s one that most homeowners ignore. This should be one of the first things you consider when you’re aiming to up your home’s air conditioning efficiency.
If you feel like the ducts don’t need to be cleaned, make sure that you take a little time to look at your filters. It’s easy to forget how quickly filters can be clogged and most people honestly don’t change them out often enough. You should be able to find a good replacement filter for a relatively low price, and it doesn’t take any professional knowledge to make the switch. This is one thing you can do to up efficiency that shouldn’t take you more than five minutes at the most. Check out our video on how to change your filter if you’re unsure about how to do it yourself.
Don’t ignore the exterior unit, either. While it’s nice to think that your air conditioner will work no matter what’s going on outside, you should be sure to clean the exterior unit as well. Check that all of the debris is removed from the area and that it is clean inside and out. This should double as a time during which you can locate any structural problems with the unit in order to determine how well it’s functioning, and whether or not you might need to make a service call. If you clean up the exterior of your air conditioning unit, you should be able to extend its functional lifespan, possibly avoiding some major cooling problems.
THINK ABOUT FANS
Next, you’ll want to start looking at your fans. Are you using them? And, most importantly, are you using them correctly? Your fans can do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to keeping your home cool, so don’t be afraid to test them out to make sure they’re working. While it might seem silly, taking a minute to ensure that everything is in working order is one of the easiest steps you can take to make sure your house is being cooled adequately. The more you know about how your fans should work, the more you’ll get out of them during the summer.
Once you’re sure that the fans work, you can ensure that you are using them properly. Most fans have two settings, one for going clockwise and one for going counter-clockwise. While you might not feel that it matters, the best way to cool off your home is to use the counter-clockwise setting. It’s not something in which most people are aware, yet it can make a huge impact when it comes to circulating the air in your home.
Finally, make sure that your fans are being used correctly. Never leave a fan running when you are out of the room. Remember, fan’s don’t actually cool the air – they just circulate it! This means that a fan running in an empty room produces no cooling effect, but its motor actually produces a bit of heat over time. Make sure to turn off all of your fans when you are not at home and never let a fan run if you’re going to be out of a room for more than a few minutes. Using fans properly will help you to reduce wasted energy.
LOOK AT YOUR HVAC UNIT
Your next step is possibly one of the most expensive you’ll encounter during this whole process. While all of the other energy efficient home ideas thus far have been centered around getting the most out of this unit, this one concerns whether or not your current AC unit is actually up to the task of making it through another Phoenix summer. You’ll absolutely want to be objective about this and know exactly what your budget will be able to handle.
Always have aprofessional come out and check on your air conditioning unit before the temperature really starts to soar. You’ll want to make sure he or she takes a look at all of the various electrical systems and parts of the unit, both inside and out. Any cracks, leaks, or frayed wires can lead to long-term problems which might not only cost you money upon failure, but that might also lead to a great deal of wasted energy in your home. While you can do some of the diagnostics yourself, having a trusted professional available to help is even better.
Once you’ve determined the state that your AC unit is in, you can make a choice. An inefficient unit might be worth keeping if you are looking to get out of your home soon or if you are going to leave during the summer. A new unit, though it might be expensive, will often save you money over time. There are also sometimes tax breaks that come with buying new HVAC systems, which can help to defray some of the associated costs. Your ultimate decision, though, will come down to what you can afford.
HAVE DONLEY SERVICE CENTER TAKE A LOOK!
You can make your home more cooling-friendly if you are able to look objectively at your home and make the changes necessary to get the most out of your cooling system. While you can make some changes on your own, much of what you’ll need to do will require some professional help. If you’re looking to upgrade your cooling system or you just need help figuring out how to bring down your cooling bills, don’t hesitate to get professional help. Make sure to get in contact with Donley Service Center today.