Maximize your AC’s efficiency

October 23, 2015


Ask a car mechanic how to increase a car’s efficiency and lifespan, and he’s likely to say, “Drive it less often.”

Though tinged with sarcasm, the advice is nonetheless true – and applies to central air conditioners, too.

It might help to keep in mind: trying to maximize your AC’s efficiency doesn’t mean you have to sweat. Admittedly, you might have to change some of your habits. And achieving your goal might require some determination – and a little elbow grease that might cause you to work up a sweat.

But take it from Charlie’s Tropic Heating & Air Conditioning: your efforts will show up in the form of lower electric bills, an air conditioner that stands up to its warranty; perhaps fewer repair calls; and your system will be factory fresh. Maximize your air conditioner’s efficiency by:

• Inspecting the filter every month and replacing it with a new one once it becomes so clogged with dust and dirt that you can no longer see through it. A dirty filter impedes air flow, causing your air conditioner to run longer, which in turn costs you more money. A truly filthy filter can even cause the blower motor to falter and shut down.

• Scheduling your annual air conditioner tune-up – a move that is strongly recommended by the U.S. Department of Energy.

• Installing a programmable thermostat – or asking Charlie’s do so for you – to reduce the number of times you have to manually adjust your thermostat (and to make your energy savings automatic).

• Inspecting your ductwork for cracks, holes, loose connections or drooping mastic tape. Charlie’s can help you repair and seal your ducts – and insulate them for good measure – to ensure that the cool air you’re paying for is not escaping.

• Keeping your window treatments closed on sunny days.

• Running ceiling fans in tandem with your air conditioner. (See a previous article by Charlie’s entitled, “How ceiling fans can partner with your air conditioner to keep you cool.”)

• Limiting stove-top cooking and oven baking, which can quickly fill your home with unwanted heat and cause your air conditioner to turn on to eliminate it.

• Upgrading to a new Energy Star air conditioner – and calling Charlie’s to calculate your cooling load to select the most efficient system for your home.

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