Air conditioners use roughly 6% of the total amount of electricity produced in the US, costing homeowners about $29 billion annually. That’s a lot of power and money to keep our homes cool.

There are ways to reduce those numbers. Let’s look at some tips for running the most efficient air conditioner in your home.

1. Keep It Clean

One of the most critical factors in running an efficient AC unit is good airflow. If the air can’t flow smoothly, the air conditioning unit has to work harder to cool your home. In that case, even the best air conditioner won’t run as efficiently as it could.

Keep the area around the outdoor condenser unit clean. Remove leaves or other debris and make sure there aren’t large trees or plants blocking the airflow.

Do the same for the vents inside. Vacuum them to keep dust and other material from blocking the air but also ensure things like toys, window coverings, and furniture don’t end up blocking a vent.

2. Close the Curtains

Your air conditioner is there to keep your home cool and comfortable but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to take other precautions. If you have west-facing windows, close the curtains or blinds during the later part of the day when the sun is hottest.

This will help lower the temperature in the house, which means your AC unit doesn’t have to work as hard to cool the air. Along the same lines, try not to use the oven or clothes dryer during the hottest parts of the day. They create more heat that the air conditioner has to deal with.

3. Insulate Exposed Ductwork

If ductwork is exposed in your air conditioning system, make sure it’s well-insulated. Without proper insulation, the air can warm up between the time it leaves the air conditioning unit and it reaches the vent. The AC unit will have to work harder to overcome this temperature loss.

Along with good insulation, make sure there aren’t any leaks in the ductwork. Patch any leaks with the proper type of tape before insulating the duct otherwise, the insulation won’t be working as efficiently as it should.

4. Replace the Air Filters

Like the condenser and vents being less efficient when they’re blocked, the air filters in your air conditioner can cause the same problem. If debris is blocking the air filter, the AC unit has to work extra hard to push air through the filter.

A dirty filter can also reduce the air quality in your home if it gets too blocked. Check your air filter at the beginning of every season and replace it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Check it on a monthly basis as well to be sure it’s in good shape. Set yourself a reminder on your computer or phone for the first of every month so you don’t overlook it.

5. Most Efficient Air Conditioner Hack – Raise the Thermostat

This final tip isn’t about the air conditioner itself but it can have a big impact on its efficiency. Raise the thermostat by a few degrees at night or when you’re not at home.

It won’t be as hot at night and if you’re not home, it won’t matter if the house is a bit warmer. But those few extra degrees can save the air conditioner from a lot of work.

There are other ways to improve the efficiency of your HVAC system, both cooling and heating. Learn more helpful tips for every season of the year.

Save Money AND the Environment

The most efficient air conditioner will save you money but it will also help reduce the amount of electricity you use in your home. If everyone takes a few simple steps, that $29 billion annual expenditure could be reduced and the electricity needed to cool all those homes could drop.

That sounds like a win-win situation.

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