See Better Air Conditioner Energy Savings
HVAC Maintenance Saves on Utility Bills
© 2014 by Marlena Stoddard all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without written permission.
A Residential Central Air Conditioner Condenser; photo ©Kelly R. Smith
This article was updated on 12/27/20.
Homeowners can take many steps to tweak the efficiency of their air conditioning system. The following tips cover ways to save energy on climate control costs during the hot summer months. It is all part of the plan to increase energy efficiency in your home.
HVAC Repair & Maintenance
A faulty central A/C system will definitely waste a lot of energy. Forced air A/C systems may have blowers or fans that do not work as designed. These are responsible for circulating cool air throughout your home.
There are other components that periodically need attention in a forced air A/C system. One of the primary ones is your condenser unit that sits outside of a home. Any malfunction in your condenser unit will prevent a proper cooling process that removes heat from the circulated air inside a forced air system.
Install an A/C Misting System
A condenser coil misting system can help lower your cooling bills. It allows your HVAC system to become more efficient which saves you money and repairs beginning right away. It works by misting the air around your condenser coils every time the unit cycles on. Cooler air means cooler coils. Better living through science, as they used to tell us in school.
Central A/C systems are rendered inefficient when the ducts and vents (registers) become clogged with dirt and debris. Years of neglect will result in significant accumulation of dust right inside the vents of a forced air cooling system.
Mold removal in areas of high humidity is especially critical because humidity makes dust and debris adhere to the sides of your ducts. The result is mold growth. This dust and debris can be physically vacuumed out to improve the volume of air flow. It must be added that rat droppings and other (ahem!) undesirable waste can also be found deep inside vents and ducts of HVAC systems.
Air Filter Replacement
Central intake vents of an HVAC system are equipped with air filters. These filters can capture some of the most common pollutants such as smoke, debris, allergens, insects and even some microscopic particles or organisms.
Air filters for HVAC systems are rated on an MERV scale. A high MERV score indicates that a filter can remove some of the smallest airborne particles and organisms. Air filters should be replaced monthly or every few months in forced air cooling systems, depending on your manufacturers recommendations. Because of the affordable price of filters, it is best to err on the side of caution, especially if you or any family members suffer from asthma or other respiratory ailments.
What on earth does that mean? The EPA, in all their regulatory wisdom states, Air filters should have a dust-spot rating between 35% and 80% or a Minimum Efficiency Rating Value (MERV) of between 8 and 13. The higher the rating, the better the protection for the equipment and the occupants.
The newer air filters allow for better cool (and warm, in the winter) air flow through the entire HVAC system of a home. Some HVAC systems even integrate air filters into the intake and output vents for double-effect.
Climate Control Zones
Unoccupied or empty rooms in a house need not be cooled to the same temperatures as other parts of a home. To save money on energy bills, its a good idea to take advantage of multiple climate control zones for homes that are equipped with such technology.
Your Google Nest thermostat can be set to cooler temperatures in living rooms and kitchens throughout the day. Empty bedrooms on the upper level can be set to a higher temperature such as 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The use of ceiling fans is also recommended to circulate the air and to provide additional cooling.
Regular maintenance and service can keep an HVAC system running smoothly and you will see better air conditioner energy savings. Homeowners with larger homes should also use smart climate control settings for different parts of a house.