3 Crucial Tips To Save On Air Conditioning Bills

If a home was a person and comfort was food, there wouldn’t be a balanced diet without proper air conditioning. In other words, although an air conditioner is a big investment, it is also a huge necessity in any single-family residential home or office building. It keeps your indoor environment cool and comfortable during the sweltering months or days throughout the summer season. It is even more convenient when used in combination with a heating unit such as a furnace or boiler, making it both a heating, cooling, and a vital part of the home’s ventilation system.

However, a great deal of energy consumption in most homes in the U.S. goes to air conditioning, especially during summer. A good portion of homeowners and commercial property owners end up complaining about unbelievably high energy use on their utility bills from air conditioning use during the hottest month of the year. But the truth is, there are some important things you can keep in check and you’ll reduce your energy bills by a significant amount. Want to keep your utility bills down when running your air conditioner hard in order to keep your home cool? Here are 5 crucial tips on how to save money on your air conditioning energy bills

CRUCIAL TIP #1 – Be Consistent About Maintenance On Your Air Conditioning System

An air conditioning system that is not properly maintained will in most cases be more prone to problems that make it less efficient to operate. Problems such as condensate leaks or dirty air filters, make the air conditioning unit work harder to cool your home as free air flow is obstructed, thus leading to lower energy efficiency and higher utility bills. To avoid common air conditioning problems and save on your air conditioning bills, be sure to keep it well maintained by changing air filters, lubricating motor parts, and realigning the coil fins on the condenser if they get bent. The best way to ensure you’re air conditioner stays in good shape is to schedule a professional HVAC maintenance service. In many cases, a problem occurs or you notice unusual signs in your home cooling system, it is important to call a professional heating and air contractor right away for the necessary repairs to be conducted ASAP before they can turn into a worse problem that will spike your energy consumption and possible repair bills even higher.

CRUCIAL TIP #2 – Make Use Of Mini Split Air Conditioners When Possible

Of course, central air conditioning is more energy efficient as compared to having multiple air conditioning units for each room if you have a big house. However, there are situations where individual units can also be more advantageous. For instance, consider the situation where you only need to cool a single room in your entire home, say the bedroom and you don’t have a zoned HVAC system. In such a case, you will save more if you have a mini split air conditioning unit just for that specific room. A mini split, also known as a ductless system,  will save you as much as 50% of energy as compared to whole house systems when cooling a specific room or space in your home. The other advisable option is to install a zoned air conditioning system, which allows you to control the temperature settings for each individual room. You can even shut the system in some rooms and keep it running in others.

CRUCIAL TIP #3 – Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned

The other common cause of low air conditioner efficiency is the ductwork. If your ductwork runs through your roofing spaces like the attic for instance, adding attic and ductwork insulation is a sure way of ensuring that air doesn’t get heated up by the heat coming from your metallic or asphalt roofing shingles above, since this can again, cause the system to overwork and end up consuming considerably more energy to cool your home. Such air ducts should be insulated to avoid this situation. Additionally, air ducts are also prone to the accumulation of particulate matter, dust, debris, and airborne allergens. When left to accumulate in ductwork, the debris buildup can reduce your air conditioning efficiency, so it’s a good idea to schedule air duct cleaning every once in a while, say once every 1-3 years. Promoting airflow by keeping your vents open and clean is also a sure way of reducing your cooling costs during the hot season according to Adam Dachis.

In addition to the above, it is also recommendable that you turn the air conditioner setting on your thermostat up to a higher temperature when away from home and keep your windows closed. Turn the unit lower at night since in most cases it will require less running time keep your home comfortable. Attic fans or ceiling fans can also be a great backup that you can turn on when the air conditioner is off to cool the rooms in your home and save energy. Additionally, it’s always a great idea to go for Energy Star rated units during air conditioning installation or replacement.

Top Air Conditioning Maintenance Tips for DIY’ers

Proper maintenance is one of the biggest secrets to have an efficiently running air conditioning unit. A well-maintained air conditioner will not only save you a great deal in terms of avoiding high repair costs, it is also one of the most important strategies you can adopt if you want to keep your  summertime home cooling energy bills down. As a matter of fact, neglected maintenance is one of the most common causes of frequent problems in all types of heating, cooling, and air conditioning equipment. Since it affects the system’s performance, lack of proper maintenance will also have a huge impact on your home’s comfort from cooling during the hot season.

According to Dave Moody, a renowned HVAC expert, an air conditioning unit requires regular attention to ensure it keeps working at its best efficiency. Most importantly, proper maintenance can help extend the lifetime of your air conditioning system, meaning it eliminates the need for premature AC replacement. Of course, depending on the type of the system and a few other factors, AC replacement can be a costly affair, even though it may sometimes be considered a better option compared to repairs. Enough said about the benefits of proper air conditioner maintenance, here are some of the top air conditioning maintenance tips for DIY’ers you might want to look at.

TIP #1 Clean Or Replace Your AC Filters Regularly

With time, your AC filters may become dirty and clogged as debris, dirt, and particulate matter slowly builds up. This dirt and clogging eventually reduces your system’s efficiency as normal airflow becomes obstructed. This obstruction ends up making your AC to strain more to meet your cooling needs, thereby consuming more energy. According to most HVAC specialists, filter replacement or cleaning is presumably one of the most crucial maintenance tasks homeowners can do on their own and should be done at least once monthly for the best results. Filter replacement can increase your air conditioner’s energy efficiency by a significant amount.

In most AC systems, especially central ACs, the air filter is located at some point along the length of the return duct. The filter may also be located in the ceiling, in the wall, or in the furnace in case you’re using a combined HVAC system. Even though filter replacement or cleaning can be an easy task for DYIers, it is always advisable to talk to you Air conditioning professional for assistance if you’re unsure on how to go about it. Filter replacement is part of the many ways to save energy according to Nick Gromicko et.al for Inter Nachi.

TIP #2 Clean the Air Conditioning Evaporator Coils

There are many benefits of cleaning AC coils. Even though the air filter keeps the evaporator coil from soiling, dirt may with time, collect on the evaporator coil. To keep the AC system in top shape and avoid problems, the air conditioner condenser and evaporator coils should be inspected regularly and carefully cleaned to remove buildup of debris and dirt.

TIP #3 Unbend Damaged Condenser Coil Fins

In most air conditioning units, evaporator and condenser coils come with aluminum fins on the exterior surface of the unit. When these fins get bent, free airflow may be blocked, which could cause problems. Bent coil fins can easily be unbent as part of proper air conditioning maintenance, using a toll known as a fin comb.

TIP #4 Keep Your Condensate Drain Unclogged

According to a well-regarded air conditioning Denver company, the AC condensate drains should also be checked once in a while for clogging. In most cases, AC condenser drain clogging can lead to the collection of condensed moisture as a result of a reduction in the unit’s capacity to reduce humidity. A stiff wire may occasionally be used to check for clogging of condensate drains.

Why Change Air Conditioning Filters Regularly

It goes without saying that the air conditioning filter’s primary job is to filter and clean the air that is released into your living environment so that it is free from particulate impurities and pollutants. However, there is more to this important part than just that. As a matter of fact, the AC filter plays a huge and significant role as far s the unit’s proper operation and efficiency is concerned. It can even have an impact on the longevity of the system and can also dictate how much you spend on maintenance and repairs for your air conditioning unit. However, this component of the AC is prone to the accumulation of airborne pollutants, allergens, and dirt, which may eventually lead to a number of problems if not properly dealt with. In summary, the air conditioning filter needs to be cleaned or replaced at least once a month, especially during the hot summers when the system is mostly in use. Below are some of the reasons exactly why air conditioning filters need changing.

REASON #1 To Avoid Short-Cycling

Depending on the day’s weather and temperature fluctuations, an air conditioner normally cycles on and off to keep your home cool as per the desired levels set on the system’s thermostat. However, sometimes AC units encounter what is known as rapid cycling or short cycling, in which the system turns on and off more frequently than normal. Some of the consequences of rapid cycling may include noise, energy wastage, and uncomfortable temperature fluctuations. On the long term, it could impact on your AC unit’s lifetime and cause more frequent problems that can make maintenance and repairs more costly. Just as you might have guessed, a dirty air filter is one of the most common causes of this rapid cycling problem, which can be avoided by regular AC filter cleaning and replacement.

REASON #2 To Prevent Air Conditioning Freeze Ups

When the filter is dirty, the free flow of cooled air is obstructed. This causes the buildup of cool air inside the unit, thus lowering the system’s internal temperatures. When this proceeds for an extended period of time, AC freeze ups may occur, where ice is formed on the air conditioning coils. Changing clogged/dirty filters can prevent this. Air filter replacement also improves comfort by maintaining even cooling.

REASON #3 To Maintain Your Air Conditioner’s Energy Efficiency

Dirty filters can cause your cooling system to consume more energy as it struggles to deliver cooled air into your indoor surroundings or throughout your home. Since dirty filters is a common killer of air conditioning efficiency, regularly replacing dirty filters improves energy efficiency in air conditioning units. As a matter of fact, according to the US department of energy, changing your air conditioning filter filter can improve its efficiency by 5% to 15%.

REASON #4 To Extend The Useful Lifetime Of Your Air Conditioning System

Air conditioner filter replacement and cleaning is part of good air conditioning maintenance, which improves the unit’s lifetime in the long run. It also spares you from frequently or/and costly repairs as it prolongs the need for AC replacement. If you don’t change the AC filters regularly, your might need to change the AC unit sooner than you anticipated.

REASON #5 To Improve Indoor Air Quality

Dirty air conditioning air filters can also cause a buildup of molds, dirt, and allergens in your ductwork. These can be huge sources of indoor pollution, which can be worse if your home has someone suffering from seasonal allergies and respiratory conditions such s asthma. Regular filter replacement can help prevent this buildup, which can somewhat improve indoor air quality.

The Good and Bad of Indoor Air Quality

From Visually.

Programmable Thermostats Benefit Modern Air Conditioning Systems

When you’re sitting in your living room feeling too hot, you will agree with me that your home can be an unbearable place in the summer heat if your air conditioning fails, even for a few minutes. This is why heating and cooling systems such as heat pumps, furnaces, boilers, and air conditioners exist. They are comfort producing, high tech mechanical equipment that any wise homeowner should always maintain properly. Thanks to technological advancements of recent years, HVAC systems have become much easier to operate and use, especially the newer models that come with programmable thermostats and remote control features. As a matter of fact, you can control today’s heating and cooling systems using smart options such as Wi-Fi, a Smartphone app, or a web portal and you’re good to go. But let’s go back a little and look at the thermostat’s significance in heating and cooling systems.

How Thermostats Work

When used to control  air conditioning systems, the thermostat allows you to control indoor temperature and set it to your required preferences using bimetallic strips or otherwise. You can also program when the system will shut down and when it will turn back on based on time or temperature conditions. Modern heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems may have more than one thermostat strategically placed so that you can control temperature settings for individual rooms or spaces that need heating and air conditioning. Modern thermostats are not only automated, most of them provide a digital display that makes it easy to read and interpret data about your indoor environment. They are equipped with sensors that detect changes in the indoor environment such as heat and humidity, thereby controlling heating and air conditioning systems appropriately based on the weather or conditions inside the home at any specific time.

Benefits of Programmable Thermostats in Air Conditioning Systems

One of the main benefits of programmable thermostats is that they allow homeowners to make energy savings from their heating and cooling. The energy star program indicates that homeowners can save up to $180 annually by simply maintaining proper settings on their programmable thermostat. They also provide a high level of convenience, especially the Wi-Fi-enabled versions and those you can control from the comfort of your smartphones or mobile device. In summary, there are many benefits worth mentioning about these extremely handy devices.

The Cost of Programmable Thermostats

There are many different types of programmable thermostats based mainly on features, brand, and the settings it can allow. On average, you can get a programmable thermostat for your heating or cooling system from as low as $20 to as much as $250 or more. The most common types of programmable thermostats based on settings include the 7-day models (provide up to 4 settings per day), the 5+2 weekday and weekend models, as well as the weekday, Saturday, and Sunday models.

Other Incredible Features

Some of the most common features in today’s thermostats include backlit digital touch screens, touch pads, voice programming, humidity control phone programming, and indicators that can remind you of tasks such as filter replacement. A good number of programmable thermostats are being produced and sold as part of home connectivity and security systems. With such a thermostat, you can turn your air conditioning or heating system on or off remotely after leaving your home.

They’re quick and easy to adjust temperatures with. They also provide consistency in heating and air conditioning systems, thus increasing its energy efficiency further. In conclusion, thermostats have a wide of applications. With the above-mentioned pointers, there is no valid reason why you shouldn’t equip your home with a programmable thermostat for your air conditioning system.

5 Things You Should Know Before Hiring An Air Conditioning Company

As far as your home is concerned, air conditioning is by far one of the biggest investments you will ever make, and a properly functioning air conditioning system, especially if ducted, increases the value of your property, improves comfort, and keeps your cooling bills down. If professionally installed and well maintained, your air conditioner will maintain comfortable temperatures in your home without the need for frequent or costly repairs. Professional installation and maintenance also prolongs the life of your AC system, thereby reducing the chances of a replacement being needed sooner than the average expected lifespan of the typical air conditioner.

1. Costs Will Vary From One Air Conditioning Company To Another

Air conditioning installation costs will obviously depend on the type of service you are looking for, as well as the extent or complexity of the project. However, not all HVAC contractors will charge you the same for the same type of job. To make savings from the particular service you are looking for, be sure to get quotes from various contractors and compare them to match your budget allocations but don’t forget about quality and the other pointers below.

2. Contractor Experience and Licensing Are Paramount

Experienced homeowners will tell you that experience I the best teacher, although they probably wish they hadn’t had to gain that experience the hard way when it comes to air conditioning installation. A bigger, more experienced heating and air service company is more likely to handle the job faster, better, and with a higher level of professionalism. It is also always advisable to confirm that your prospective HVAC company has experience with your specific air conditioning unit before hiring them for repair, installation, or maintenance. By the same token, licensing is a crucial aspect to consider before committing to hiring an air conditioning company to do any work in your home. Hiring an incompetent or unlicensed company or technician is a huge risk and is never recommended by anyone with any common sense. You can always find out if the company is licensed online from your state’s Contractors License Board’s website, or other state depending on where you come from.

3. Air Conditioning Service Quality and Reputation Go Hand In Hand

Assuming that an HVAC company and its technician’s are properly licensed and their online information shows that there are highly qualified and experienced, this doesn’t always mean that they are the best air conditioning service providers to hire. Rather, this should be an indication that they are potentially reliable and to determine whether to hire them or not, it is always important to look at what their previous or recent clients are saying about them. You can get plenty of customer testimonials and reviews from online directories, social platforms, and blog forums in your local area. More often than not, most testifying customers will speak based on their overall satisfaction or disappointment with the quality of service they received as well as the HVAC company’s integrity.

4. Company Bonding and Insurance Are Crucial

A reliable air conditioning company should also possess proof of service liability and workmanship guarantee, which is sometimes known as worker’s compensation insurance. If you work with a company that is not fully bonded and insured, you could end up going back into your pocket to cover any damages to your property or the technician’s injury in case something goes wrong during or after the air conditioning repair, installation, or maintenance service you receive from such a company.

5. Air Conditioning Installation Scams Are Real

Last but not least, before hiring an air conditioning contractor or any of their technicians, it is important to remember that lots of AC repair or service scams are actually real. Some HVAC technicians will insist to you that you need to replace your AC, recommend frequent tune-ups, insist that your current unit is oversized, and so on and so forth when all it needs is a simple repair such as filter replacement. Lucky enough, there are various ways to spot air conditioning repair scams, some of which according to Angie’s List renowned author, Paul F. P. Pogue, include doing your homework, knowing your contractor, and asking the right questions before hiring them.