When the summer months hit and your air conditioner runs much more often, your electric bills will also jump — but they don't have to jump very high, and you don't always need a technician to help you. Properly maintaining your central air system and using the right types of products, as well as knowing how to spot signs of trouble, can help it run without interference and without wasting energy. This can help you cut down on electric bills as well as help increase your system's life.
1. Replace Your Air Filter Regularly
There are two main reasons you should replace your air filter regularly, which for normal or even heavy use translates to about once a month. First, a dirty filter restricts air intake, which prevents your air conditioner from cooling as much air. As a result, it will take longer to cool your house, and your air conditioner will have to run longer. Second, when the air is restricted, your air conditioner has to work harder to pull air from your house, which can cause damage over time. You'll know if your system is struggling if you hear whistling coming from your intake or other vents.
When buying a filter, don't worry about going for expensive brands, and don't buy high-restriction filters. Buy what you can replace often for a reasonable price.
2. Make Sure Ducts Are Sealed
Your ducts are responsible for pushing cold air to your vents, but if they aren't properly sealed, much of this cold air can escape before it ever enters your rooms. You can inspect at least some of the duct work yourself by going into your attic or wherever your air conditioner is and checking for air leaks around it. A more detailed inspection often requires a professional.
3. Get Air Conditioner Unit Inspected
An annual checkup of your outdoor unit is standard maintenance for a central air system, and it's important for more than just preventative measures. If you find that you constantly need to replace the unit's refrigerant, there's something wrong with your unit — refrigerant should not need to be replaced year after year. An annual inspection can help you find out if your air conditioner is malfunctioning, which may be resulting in much poorer performance.
It's also important to keep your unit clean of debris such as lint and grass clippings, which can severely hinder performance if they build up.
4. Use A Programmable Thermostat
Instead of trying to remember to turn off your air conditioner before work and back on again after you get home, use a programmable thermostat so you can set schedules for your air conditioner. You can tell it to shut off at night and during the day, or to vary temperatures by time. Set your air conditioner to turn itself off completely while no one is home. An air conditioner runs more efficiently when it runs over longer periods of time instead of cycling on and off all day.
For more information, contact a company like Bob Bergen Heating & Air Conditioning.