Economic Energy Efficiency

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How Air Conditioning Can Waste Energy & Saving Money in the CO Heat

If you live in Colorado, you know how you depend on your air conditioner in summer heat that can rise to 90 plus degrees Fahrenheit. Sometimes, it feels so hot that you don’t want to leave the coolness of your home. That’s why it’s so important to keep your air conditioner or central air in tip-top shape, as well as making sure it’s energy efficient. Running an air conditioner consumes a lot of energy and non-efficient units waste energy. Following a few energy-saving tips can save you money while keeping cool at the same time.

 

waste energySteps to Make Your Air Conditioner More Efficiently

 

Whether you have window air conditioning units or central air conditioning that cool your home through ductwork, keeping it maintained can save from 15 to 40 percent energy use. According to Energy.gov, 5 percent of homeowner electricity goes to air conditioning the home. You can do a few things yourself to keep your cooling system operating smoothly, while others require professional help. The following tips will extend the life of your air conditioner and reduce wasted energy, keeping you cool as a cucumber in the Colorado heat.

 

Check the Air Filters

 

Air filters prevent dust, animal fur and dirt from building up on the cooling coils. Check your air filter monthly and gently clean it with a soft brush, if necessary. If you notice any rips or holes, replace the filter. Just this simple fix increases the efficiency of your air conditioner by 5 to 15 percent.

 

Remove Debris from the Cooling Coils

 

Before cleaning the cooling coils, turn the thermostat off or raise it to a higher temperature, so it won’t turn on while you’re cleaning. Also, turn off the breaker to the central air’s outdoor unit. Clean off any debris and dirt from the coils using a gentle household cleaner and rinse with water. Make sure the unit is completely dry before turning on the power.

 

Call an Air Conditioner Maintenance Specialist

 

It’s a good idea to have a professional air conditioner technician check over your air conditioning system to maintain efficiency. A check up usually includes checking the refrigerant pressure, cleaning the evaporator and condenser coils, and lubricating moving parts. If you use your air conditioner for more than eight months per year, you should have it serviced annually. When operating your cooling system for less than six months during the year, about every three to four years should be fine.

 

5 Tips to Save Energy on Air Conditioning

 

These tips are alternative ways to reduce wasted energy and the cost of running air conditioning units.

 

1. Reduce sunlight exposure to outdoor unit

 

If the outdoor portion of your air conditioning unit has direct sunlight exposure, it can decrease cooling efficiency and waste energy. Shade your outdoor unit by planting shrubs or trees around it. Installing a fence also helps shade the unit but make sure to leave enough space for air circulation. Before placing indoor air conditioners in the windows, check which windows have the least amount of direct sunlight exposure.

 

2. Change settings at night

 

If the Colorado humidity and heat drops at night, open the exhaust or change the setting to fan only to blow cool outdoor air into the house. This is a simple way to lower energy use.

 

3. Use supplemental fans

 

Using fans to move the air makes the room feel cooler, so you can raise the temperature on your air conditioning unit.

 

4. Close the doors

 

If you have window units, close the doors to unused rooms, so your unit doesn’t have to work so hard to cool the rooms you’re using.

 

5. Turn up the thermostat

 

Turning up the thermostat on your air conditioner saves money on your energy bill. Raising the temperature a few degrees still keeps you comfortable during the hot months but conserves energy.

 

Efficiency of Central Air vs Window Units

 

According to Green Building Advisor, central air conditions have better efficiency than window units do but window air conditioners use less energy. One reason for this is that many people set the thermostat on central air conditioning to keep rooms cooler than people with window units. Central air also cools the entire home, wasting more energy than window units that aren’t used for unoccupied rooms. Another cost-effective factor is that it’s less expensive to install a couple of window units than the cost of installing central air. People who use window air conditioners also tend to turn them off when they leave the house, while central air runs day and night.

 

Consult an Energy Auditor for Energy-Saving Tips

 

Another way to make sure you’re not wasting energy and using all the energy-saving techniques possible is to consult a professional energy auditor. Home energy auditing provides you with a detailed report on how you’re wasting energy. You also get solutions of how you can save money by conserving energy while remaining comfortable in your home in the hot weather.

 

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