How to Avoid Top 4 Homeowner AC Mistakes
Summer has arrived, and with it, the scorching KC summer temps. Your air conditioner will be working at maximum capacity. Considering that your heating and cooling bills are responsible for roughly half of your energy bills and the average household spends about $2,200 on energy bills per year, these tips should go a long way in saving you some serious money. Plus, they’ll keep you feeling more comfortable too.
Mistake #1- Setting the Thermostat Too Low
When temperatures outside get extremely high, it can be tempting to turn your thermostat down even lower to keep things nice and chilly. What most homeowners don’t understand is that air conditioners are designed to maintain a 20-degree difference between inside and outside temperatures.
If the temperatures outside are in the 90s, your AC should be able to keep your home in the 70s. However, when temperatures skyrocket to the low 100s, it may only be able to keep your home in the high 70s or low 80s.
This doesn’t mean your air conditioner isn’t functioning properly. It just means you may have to lower your expectations on super hot days. Otherwise, your AC will just run nonstop costing you more and comforting you less. Constant running also creates a massive load on the system and can lead to your entire system freezing up. This is not what you want during the hottest days of the summer. To keep this from happening, find a temperature you can tolerate and leave the unit set there, even if you’re tempted to turn it down.
Mistake #2 – Not Using Ceiling Fans
While ceiling fans do not affect the temperature in your home, they do make you feel cooler due to the “wind chill effect”. By running your ceiling fans, you create air movement. As the air moves and cold air comes into contact with your skin, heat is lost. This heat loss is caused by conduction, the transfer of heat through direct contact. Because your body is losing heat faster than it would with no air movement, it feels colder than it really is. The nice thing is that you can turn your thermostat up a few degrees and not feel uncomfortable. TIP: In the summer, make sure your ceiling fan is rotating counterclockwise (when you look up at it) to push air down into the room.
Mistake #3 – Close the Blinds
Don’t let the sun undermine your air conditioner. Keep all blinds and curtains closed. Believe it or not, the sun can add exponential amounts of heat to any room through solar gain. Solar gain refers to the increase in thermal energy of a space as it absorbs incident solar radiation. The trapped heat thus causes solar gain via a phenomenon known as the greenhouse effect. Keeping the sun out will keep the temperature down throughout your entire house.
Mistake #4 – Change the Filter Monthly
Make sure you change your filters religiously, so as to avoid overworking your system. It sounds simple, and it is, but you’d be surprised at how many homeowners forget this little maintenance item. Pushing air through a dirty filter makes your air conditioner work harder than it has to. The Department of Energy says the average household spends about $2,200 a year on energy bills. When you change your air filter monthly, you can save from 5 to 15 percent on your utility costs. Dirty air filters worsen the air quality and can exacerbate symptoms of allergies. So changing your air filter gives you the added bonus of cleaner air.
A Tune-Up Will Increase Your AC’s Efficiency
Try these simple tips to lower your utility bill and feel more comfortable in your home. The 20-degree temperature drop is applicable when your system is in good working condition. If your AC has dirty cooling coils, frozen coils, poor airflow, or is low on refrigerant, the temperature drop it is capable of achieving will be much smaller. In order to make sure your system is running at peak efficiency, schedule a tune-up for your air conditioner.
Still having problems? It’s time for a new AC from Lennox.
There is a reason we tell our customers about Lennox: we think you deserve the best. We are proud to install Lennox air conditioners. Call us for a free estimate! There are also rebates and financing available for qualifying systems, and our comfort specialist will let you know about available programs.