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How to Use Air Conditioner Effectively
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Blog 06/8/19

How to Use Air Conditioner Effectively

Whether you have installed a brand new high-efficiency air conditioner, or are running your current model, how you use your air conditioner during hot summer months can change its efficacy and efficiency.

When it becomes too hot and humid outdoors, we are thankful for home air conditioning. With the push of a few buttons, we have cooled air circulating through the home.

But did you know air conditioning was originally invented to remove humidity from indoor air? Cool air was a happy by-product. But since air conditioning doesn’t actually produce cold air, it simply removes warm air and humidity, there are many factors that will contribute to it working too hard, or not at all.

Using your home’s air conditioner and setting the temperature thermostat to ideal settings are great ways to ensure it will last for years to come and create incredible indoor comfort.

Here are some tips on how you can maximize home comfort even in the hottest summer months.

Leave the Air Conditioner Running

The U.S. Department of Energy recommends keeping indoor temperature as close to outdoor temperature as possible. When the thermostat soars to the high 80’s and 90’s, that is not always ideal. However, homeowners can keep the air conditioner running at higher temperatures while away from the home.

It actually takes much longer to remove warm air and “cool” the house down from extreme temperatures. This causes the AC unit to work harder and can lead to leaks, repairs, and early replacement. By setting the thermostat 10 degrees higher when you leave the home, it will help maintain energy efficiency and save on utility cooling costs, while not letting the home become too hot to effectively cool when you need it most.

With a programmable thermostat, you can even set the indoor temperature to begin cooling prior to your return so it will always be comfortable.

Use Fans to Help Circulate Air and Open Windows on Cool Nights

Instead of constantly running the fan on your air conditioning unit, place the fan setting to “auto” and use ceiling fans, or box fans, to circulate and move air throughout the home. Giving the air conditioner fans a rest can extend the life of the system and save it from wear and tear.

Another way to help out your air conditioner is by opening windows in the cooler evenings to give the AC unit a rest. In San Diego, we are lucky that the humidity level is relatively low even in our summer months. Take advantage of cooler evenings so when the heat is unbearable, the A/C will be working perfectly.

Install a Smart Programmable Thermostat

Using a smart programmable thermostat provides control to ensure the air conditioner is always at its most energy efficient setting. With smart thermostats, homeowners can control settings from anywhere with wifi. Imagine being able to adjust the temperature based on real time weather conditions at any time. Before you arrive home, you can lower it to your desired setting, set it higher while you are away, and keep an eye on utility energy costs at all times.

Most programmable thermostats have the capability to create  a complex schedule and can be set and forgotten. But, with a smart thermostat that connects to a smartphone and app, you can adjust at any time. Keep your home cooling efficient, pets and family comfortable, while still controlling the settings, and make adjustments at any time.

Perform Regular Maintenance and Clean the Air Filter

Dirty air filters are one of the most damaging elements in any HVAC system. Clogged air filters cause the unit to work harder, can block airflow, and lead to failures in the motor, compressor, or other components.  

Annual air conditioner tune-ups are important to clean the unit and perform safety checks, as well as ensuring the air filter is changed at least once per year. If you have pets in the home, live in dustier areas such as cities, or near freeways, it is wise to change, or clean them, them every quarter.

Set the Thermostat at the Right Temperature

Home air conditioners remove warm air and humidity creating a “cool” air effect circulating through the home. Efficient systems will provide year-round comfort without affecting the utility bills too greatly. However, homeowners should also be careful at how cool they attempt to set the thermostat.

Air conditioning systems are only designed to “cool” a space by about 20 degrees. If it is 90 degrees outside, a high SEER system can effectively cool the home to about 70, but at a price.

The best way to create home comfort without harming the unit and breaking the bank with high energy bills, is by setting it at a comfortable, but not cold, temperature. According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the perfect setting lands between 73 and 79 degrees. Our expert specialists say the perfect number is 78.

With the use of indoor fans moving conditioned air throughout the home, and summer clothing, 78 will feel much lower.

Although 78 degrees might seem high, compared to outdoor temperature during summer heatwaves, and natural body temperature, it is the perfect setting.

Additional ways to keep your air conditioning working effectively and remain comfortable include:

– Find ways to introduce shade to the home. Awnings, window coverings, trees, and other shade over windows can help reduce indoor heat.

– Install high-efficiency windows to further help in preventing air loss from escaping and heat from getting inside.

– Ensure the home is properly insulated to keep conditioned air from escaping through poor seals and wasting money on inefficient cooling costs.

– Avoid using stoves and other appliances that produce heat until after the sun goes down.

– Install ceiling fans and ensure they are on the summer settings.

– Replace inefficient air conditioners with high-efficiency systems.

Air conditioners may have been invented for a purpose other than cool cold air, but they are definitely meant to help us maintain indoor air comfort all summer long. But understanding how to use the air conditioning system efficiently is important to saving on energy bills, maintaining perfect temperatures and not causing the unit to work harder than it has to.

The best first step in any efficient system begins with expert preventative maintenance. If you have not yet scheduled your summer tune-up, call the professionals at Bill Howe Heating & Air Conditioning. Our team can help make recommendations on how to program the thermostat, what temperatures are best, and ensure that the system is safe and working at its optimal level.

Call 1-800 Bill Howe (245-5469), visit us on Live Chat, or book your tune-up online today!

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