We are entering the “dog days” of summer here in southwest Missouri. Those of us who live here know that means hot, humid and sticky air as soon as you open your front door. Most of us take refuge inside a cool refreshing environment with air conditioning. In order to optimize your air conditioner’s efficiency, let’s discuss some things you can do to help out.
If you have a central air system in your home, set the fan to shut off at the same time as the compressor, which is usually done by setting the “auto” mode on the fan setting. In other words, don’t use the system’s central fan to provide air circulation — use circulating fans in individual rooms.
AIR CONDITIONER COOLING TIPS
- Set your thermostat at the highest temperature comfortable in the summer. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.
- Consider using an interior fan along with your window air conditioner to spread the cooled air through your home.
- Avoid placing appliances that give off heat such as lamps or TVs near a thermostat.
AIR CONDITIONING EFFICIENCY AND WINDOWS
- If you live in a climate where it cools off at night, turn off your cooling system and open your windows while sleeping. When you wake in the morning, shut the windows and blinds to capture the cool air.
- Install window coverings to prevent heat gain through your windows.
- A ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort.
- Turn off ceiling fans when you leave the room. Remember that fans cool people, not rooms, by creating a wind chill effect.
- When you shower or take a bath, use the bathroom fan to remove the heat and humidity from your home. Your laundry room might also benefit from spot ventilation. These easy steps gear you towards more air conditioning efficiency.
KEEP HOT AIR FROM LEAKING INTO YOUR HOME
- Seal cracks and openings to prevent warm air from leaking into your home.
- Add caulk or weatherstripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.
- If your air conditioner is old, consider buying an energy-efficient model. Look for the ENERGY STAR® and EnergyGuide labels — qualified room air conditioners are 10% more efficient, and qualified central units are about 14% more efficient than standard models.
These energy efficiency tips should keep you cool all summer and lower your utility bill in the process.