For those households in warm climates, air conditioning units use more electricity. As a matter of fact, most homes report up to 70% increase in their electricity bill, according to estimates. Despite such alarming figures, homeowners shouldn’t have to worry because there are a lot of ways out there to help reduce such heavy load. Apart from changing your air conditioning habits, it also helps if you know the most common mistakes that people make as well as various ways to reduce your usage.
Mistake No. 1: Improperly Sized AC Systems
Most people would opt to buy bigger air conditioning systems thinking they will cool their homes faster. However, what they don’t know is that an oversized air conditioner doesn’t actually reduce humidity. It cycles on and off quickly resulting to inefficient power usage and uncomfortable temperature changes.
On the other hand, an undersized AC unit may not also be a good fit. Without enough cooling capacity, your air conditioning system will wear itself out quickly, failing to keep your home as cool and comfortable as it should.
If you need a new AC unit, you need to make sure that a complete load calculation is performed in order to determine how much cooling capacity your home needs. Once this is done, they can go ahead and recommend a unit that is perfectly sized to meet your home’s cooling needs.
Mistake No. 2: Incorrect AC Positioning
The location of your air conditioning unit has a huge impact on its energy efficiency. While it may seem pretty convenient to just put your unit in an unused corner on the west side of your home, such placement will only make the AC work harder. Instead, you can find a shaded area on the east or north side because the less sunlight it gets the less power it will need to keep your home cool and comfortable.
Mistake No. 3: Running Your Air Conditioning Unit 24/7
Especially during warmer months, it seems pretty convenient to just let your air conditioner run full blast all day long. However, doing so will only cause your electricity bill to skyrocket. If your house is going to be empty for most part of the day, you can simply turn the thermostat up before leaving your home in the morning and turn it down again when you get home from work. An even better option would be to shut it off completely when no one is at home.
Mistake No. 4: Incorrect Thermostat Settings
Turning your thermostat way down as soon as you get home because you want the air to get cooler right away can actually make a huge difference on your monthly utility bills. If you are comfortable at 79 degrees, don’t set your thermostat to 68 or 69 in an effort to reach 79 quickly. Your unit will skip the desired temperature, thus wasting more energy in the process. In addition, doing so will only make you even more uncomfortable as the temperature shifts rapidly.
Mistake No. 5: Not Using Ceiling Fans
Contrary to what many people think, AC systems aren’t substitutes for traditional ceiling fans. In reality, a ceiling fan can help your AC unit run more efficiently by circulating air around the room. It does not only save you money but it also helps reduce wear and tear on your unit.
In addition, using ceiling fans produce a “wind chill” effect that will help keep your room cool and comfortable at a slightly higher temperature.
Mistake No. 6: Not Changing or Replacing the Air Filter
The air filter is the component of your AC unit that helps remove dust and debris from the air coming into your home. Over time, your system’s air filter will become clogged with dirt and it will need to be cleaned or replaced on a regularly basis. Although there are filters that can last longer between cleanings, you still have to make sure that it is cleaned on a monthly basis as dirt can actually reduce the system’s efficiency.
Mistake No. 7: Letting the Outside Air In
Leaving your windows and doors open while your air conditioning unit is running can actually reduce your system’s operating efficiency. In addition to that, it can also weaken your HVAC system’s ability to keep your home cool at a comfortable temperature. Whether you are letting the hot air into your home during the hottest time of the day or the cool air at night, your AC unit would still have to work harder to pull the humidity out of the air.
Mistake No. 8: Ignoring Routine Maintenance
Although most air conditioning units can run on their own for extended periods of time, they will eventually need to undergo maintenance in order to operate at maximum efficiency throughout the entire year. To make sure that your AC unit will continue to function efficiently, make sure you have it checked at least once per cooling season. Doing so will save you costly repairs down the road.
Mistake No. 9: Not Running the Air Conditioner At All
Although overworking your unit is bad, not running your air conditioning system for long stretches of time is also not a good idea. If you are going to be away for a long period of time, don’t shut the AC off and expect it to run efficiently when you get back. As mold may creep in while your system sits idle, it is best to run your air conditioning unit for at least a few minutes. This will help protect not only your AC system but also the indoor air quality.
Mistake No. 10: Not Fixing Emerging Issues Right Away
A rattling sound coming from your AC unit can be a sign of bigger problems lurking beneath your unit’s cover. Remember that your air conditioner is a huge investment especially when it comes to your family’s comfort which is why it is very important that you check it for any signs of significant problems. If a problem is spotted, make sure to call your HVAC technician right away so they can take a closer look at the issue and address it properly.