Tips for Lowering Your Central Air Conditioner's Energy Usage
- Set your thermostat at 78 F or higher. Each degree setting below 78 F will increase energy consumption by approximately 8%. Be careful, however, that if you're A/C is oversized the diminished run-time from raising the thermostat setting may result in too-high indoor humidity in some locations.
- Use bath and kitchen fans sparingly when the air conditioner is operating to avoid pulling warm, moist air into your home.
- Inspect and clean both the indoor and outdoor coils. The indoor coil in your air conditioner acts as a magnet for dust because it is constantly wetted during the cooling season. Dirt build-up on the indoor coil is the single most common cause of poor efficiency. The outdoor coil must also be checked periodically for dirt build-up and cleaned if necessary.
- Check the refrigerant charge. The circulating fluid in your air conditioner is a special refrigerant gas that is put in when the system is installed. If the system is overcharged or undercharged with refrigerant, it will not work properly. You will need a service contractor to check the fluid and adjust it appropriately.
- Reduce the cooling load by using cost-effective conservation measures. For example, effectively shade east and west windows. When possible, delay heat-generating activities, such as cooking and dishwashing, until evening on hot days.
- Over most of the cooling season, keep the house closed tight during the day. Don't let in unwanted heat and humidity. Ventilate at night either naturally or with fans.
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