Don’t Let A/C Issues Make You Lose Your Cool

On sweltering summer afternoons, the last thing you want to sweat is whether your air conditioner’s going to make it—followed closely by how you can keep a handle on your home energy costs.

But that’s the situation homeowners face every year. You need your air conditioning system to function so you can beat the heat, but you don’t want your utility bills to go through the roof. So how do you keep your A/C working as dependably—and efficiently—as possible? And when is it time to consider a new system? And what should you consider if it is time to invest in something new?

Fortunately, your friends at Power Moves have answers:

Check your system’s air filter every month. The air filter removes dust and dirt that can clog up your system, make it work harder than necessary, and lead to higher energy costs. The cleaner the filter, the more efficiently your system will function, so schedule a time to check it each month and replace dirty filters as needed.

Clean the outside condenser unit. Over time, leaves, grass, dirt, and debris can accumulate in the outside unit of your central air system, reducing air flow and making it work harder. Shut off the power to your AC and use a garden hose to gently spray and clean the unit. You’ll also want to trim back bushes or grasses to make sure the fan gets the air it needs to function efficiently.

Schedule regular maintenance for your HVAC system. A routine maintenance schedule can not only improve your air conditioner’s function but also keep it running longer.  Schedule maintenance with a licensed contractor to ensure that your system is operating efficiently and safely before you need it.

Look for ENERGY STAR-certified smart thermostats and air conditioners. If you plan to upgrade your home’s thermostat or a room air conditioner, consider an ENERGY STAR-certified model. A WiFi-enabled, ENERGY STAR-certified smart thermostat that can be programmed to adjust temperature settings during the day for optimal performance—and many models also have tools to help monitor energy use.

And if you’re looking to replace a room air conditioner, an ENERGY STAR-certified model with improved sealing and insulation around the unit will cost about $70 less a year to run than other models.

If your system is a decade old, start planning for a replacement. How do you know if it’s time to replace your system? Consider this: According to ENERGY STAR®, your heating and cooling systems probably account for nearly half of your home’s utility costs. Now consider this: An ENERGY STAR-certified system can lower your cooling costs 30 percent (or more!) compared to a model 12 years or older. So depending on exactly what you need, your new system could more than pay for itself in just a few years.

Whether you’re trying to get the most out of the cooling system you have or it’s time for a change, your local electric co-op’s energy advisor has your back. Contact us today.