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Stay Cool, Save Money Even When It’s Hot

 In Keeping Cool, Summer Topics, System Maintenance

It’s getting hot outside, Tallahassee, so it’s more important now that your air conditioning system is working properly and efficiently. Here are some ways to keep cool this summer.

Efficiency

Homeowners spend $11 billion – with a B – running their air conditioners every year, the U.S. Department of Energy says. The good news is that there are ways to lower your bill. Top of the list is replacing your old unit with a high-efficiency air-conditioning system. It’s more money up front, but it’ll pay for itself in the long run. A replacement could save 20 to 50 percent on home cooling costs from the start.

Maintenance

Proper maintenance can also increase the efficiency of your cooling system. The best way to do this is through a service plan that includes a technician coming to your home on an agreed schedule and performing regular system maintenance, such as cleaning the unit and checking filters. A clean filter can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5 to 15 percent.

If your coil fins are bent on the outside unit, you can use a tool called a fin comb to straighten them.  You’ll also have a drain near your outside unit that runs from your inside unit. That drain should be cleaned regularly to prevent the buildup of debris or algae.

Common Problems

Air conditioners, particularly central air systems, are complicated. If it’s not cooling properly, it could be one of several issues. Your refrigerant could be low because of a leak, which will need to be repaired before the system can be recharged. It could also have thermostat or drainage problems or a dirty filter or ductwork.

If your unit isn’t turning on, it could be an electrical issue with the thermostat, especially smart thermostats, or  an electric failure with one of your units. Turning the system off and on too frequently can cause problems with electrical components in your compressor and fan. It could also be that the drain pipe is clogged and the system can’t drain. It’s best to have a professional check your system if you are experiencing any of these issues.

Tips for Lowering Cooling Costs

Here are some tips for lowering your cooling costs that you can do yourself without the help of a professional.

  • Install and set a programmable thermostat to save up to 10 percent on heating and cooling costs every year.
  • Use a fan when you’re in the room. It should allow you to raise your thermostat about four degrees without affecting your comfort.
  • Insulate your attic and walls and seal cracks to prevent warm air from getting inside.
  • Insulate and seal air ducts. Air loss through ductwork accounts for about 30 percent of a cooling system’s energy consumption.
  • Don’t heat your home with your appliances, such as the oven. On a hot day, consider grilling outside.
  • Install energy efficient window coverings to let in natural light and prevent heat from coming in.
  • Use the bathroom fan when showering and the range hood when cooking to help remove heat and humidity.

Barineau Heating and Air can help keep your system running at peak efficiency. If it’s time for a new unit, we can recommend the perfect comfort system for your home and budget. Book an appointment online or call (850) 580-4029.

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Uniformed man working on an air conditioner.