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Your air conditioner is one of the most important appliances you have at home, especially during sweltering summertime temperatures. And while operating an AC unit seems very simple and straightforward, most homeowners and business owners tend to run theirs inefficiently. Whether it is constantly changing the thermostat settings or placing the compressor unit of their AC in direct sunlight, these habits and decisions not only lead to higher monthly utility bills but also higher AC upkeep costs. To help you run your AC unit more efficiently, here are 12 tips to follow:

1. Avoid Touching Your Thermostat
Adjusting your thermostat to speed up the process of cooling your home is one of the most common fallacies of AC unit operation. Most people are good about maintaining the AC at the recommended 78 degrees. Others might set the temperature higher when the space is unused or lower when temperatures are especially high. Playing around with your thermostat’s setting won’t help with either the rate of cooling or energy consumption. Set your thermostat to the recommended temperature and walk away.

2. Use a Programmable Thermostat
Your AC unit should not be operating during the coolest hours of the day or when nobody’s home. It is unnecessary and adds to your monthly utility bill. In some cases, you might forget to switch it off. It is an honest but costly mistake that can be avoided through the use of a programmable thermostat. With a programmable thermostat, your AC unit can be scheduled to kick on a few minutes before you get home from school or work. This makes sure that you walk into a cool and relaxing haven while also helping you cut down on energy usage.

3. Use Auto Mode
There are two settings on your thermostat that control the air conditioner’s fan: “Auto” and “On.” While there are some benefits to using the “On” setting, opting for the “Auto” setting is typically the better choice. With the fan in Auto mode, air will only blow until the thermostat reaches the desired temperature, and then it will shut off until the next cycle. In addition to reducing the amount of time that the fan is working, the Auto setting also supports better dehumidification by giving moisture from cold cooling coils the time it needs to drip and be drained to the outside. When your AC’s fan is continually running, moisture doesn’t have the chance to drip outside and is instead blown back into the home where it adds to indoor humidity levels.

4. Use a Dehumidifier
During hot days, it is often the humidity that makes the atmosphere unbearable. In addition to cooling your home with your AC, invest in a good dehumidifier to remove the humidity from your home. Some higher-end AC units will have a dehumidifying mode, so you may not have to purchase a separate appliance.

5. Clean or Replace Your AC’s Filters
Your AC’s filters are one of the most important components of the whole system. For reusable filters, experts recommend that you clean them at least once every month and replace them annually. For quick and efficient cleaning, simply vacuum the filter or rinse the filters off with warm soapy water. Disposable filters should typically be replaced every three months.

6. Clean Your AC Fins
Your air conditioner’s fins are the grille-like siding found at the exterior portion of the unit. Similar to filters, the fins help direct airflow. Clogged or bent fins can result in inefficient heat dispersion. Clean the fins using a soft brush such as a toothbrush, or use a fin comb. The latter is a special device to clean and realign bent fins.

7. Clean Your Vents
If you have an air-to-air heat pump unit, you’ll want to regularly check and maintain the vents for efficient cooling. Vents that are blocked by dirt and debris or have structural damage can affect airflow and your AC’s ability to get rid of hot air. If you do not wish to regularly maintain your AC’s vents, consider switching to a ductless system. Each type of heat pump has its own pros and cons that you will want to talk about with a qualified HVAC technician.

8. Use Blinds
Of course, we all know that natural light can be great for lowering your lighting costs by keeping rooms well-lit without having to use electricity. In terms of temperature regulation, however, natural light can account for roughly 25% of the heat indoors. Keep the blinds and curtains closed in empty rooms, especially during the day and in rooms that are facing east or west.

9. Use Fans
During the cooler hours of the day, such as nighttime when the heat starts to taper off, you can turn your thermostat up a few degrees and use ceiling or tower fans instead of the AC to cool your home. The energy consumed by fans is significantly lower than that of an AC unit, especially for older AC units that are not ENERGY STAR-certified. You can also use fans in a support capacity to help your AC unit move cold air around larger spaces.

10. Eliminate Hot Air
Exhaust fans are commonly found in bathrooms and kitchen spaces. You can use them to expel hot air from the premises. In addition to hot air coming from outside, certain domestic activities, including running your washer, dryer or dishwasher, can generate heat that lingers inside your home. Cooking is another common activity that generates a significant amount of heat. If your home does not have an exhaust fan, you can use a tower fan in the kitchen while you cook.

11. Avoid Cooking or Washing at Noon
Perhaps the easiest way to eliminate hot air generated by the domestic activities listed above is to reschedule them to the cooler hours of the day. Put off dishwashing or cooking until at least late afternoon or early morning the next day. Roasting a whole chicken in a 400-degree oven while it is a sunny 90 degrees outside forces your AC unit to work harder to cool the place down.

12. Keep Your AC Unit Out of Direct Sunlight
The recommended location of a central AC unit is on the north section of your property. Unfortunately, this isn’t always an available option. You can instead make use of landscaping techniques to provide cover for your AC’s compressor unit. Not only does it give your AC unit some shade, but planting shrubs and trees around your home also helps cool your home naturally.

Get Help From the Professionals
These tips can help improve how efficiently you run your air conditioner all year long. If you want to further improve your unit’s efficiency, consult one of our certified and insured HVAC technicians at Reliable Ducts Heating and Cooling.

We have been serving Jacksonville, FL, and the surrounding neighborhoods for years now. We offer a full range of both heating and cooling services, including installation, repair and maintenance. We also offer affordable air quality solutions such as duct cleaning and UV air purifiers to help your family live a healthier life. To find out more about how we can help you, contact us today.

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