Air Conditioning Tips – Save Money on Electricity

Energy prices continue to spiral higher and higher, with no end in sight. As these costs continue to rise, so does the American homeowner’s utility bill. In warmer regions, it’s typical for 60 to 70 percent of the summer electric bill to come from air conditioning. As a whole, air conditioning makes up more than 17 percent of the average homes yearly electric bill. Of course in the south, that number will be higher. A few tips can help you save money on your electric bill.

Purchase new energy-efficient air conditioning equipment. Today’s systems use 30 to 50 percent less electricity than systems from 15 years ago.

Regularly change the air conditioning filter. Studies show that a savings of 5 percent on the typical electric bill can be achieved by keeping a clean air filter.

Invest in some insulation. It will help keep the hot attic heat out of the house. The US Department of Energy recommends R-49 insulation in the attic.

Check the duct system and seal the leaks. According to Energy Star, about 20 percent of the air moving through a typical homes duct system is lost.

Install a programmable thermostat. How much money you save will vary by how well your home is insulated and by how often you manually adjust your thermostat.

Use a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier removes moisture from the air. Moisture holds heat. It feels much cooler to the body if there is less moisture in the air because moisture hampers the bodies natural cooling process.

Use ceiling fans. A room using a ceiling can be several degrees warmer and just as comfortable as a cooler room with no fan. A ceiling fan costs much less to operate and they can and should be used only when the room is occupied.

These pro-active steps can be implemented with the expectation of lower electric bills. Contact your local air conditioning or insulation contractor for a payback calculation based on the area you live in, your habits and your equipment.

Before You Buy a New Air Conditioner

Does it seem like your air conditioning system is having trouble keeping your house cool in the peak summer months? Are you thinking about purchasing a new system? Before you buy new equipment there are some factors you should consider.

Get an air conditioning checkup. When was the last time you had your air conditioning equipment checked? Maybe your equipment is having trouble keeping up because either the evaporator coil or the condenser coil is dirty.

For your system to work efficiently it needs air flow. The coils must be clean. Have your system checked and if necessary cleaned.

Get a “Home Energy Audit”. Many companies will perform a home energy audit for free in hopes of getting your business. Maybe the problem you are having is old inefficient windows that are facing the sun in the afternoon. Identifying and correcting this problem could save you the expense of a new air conditioning system.

Check your insulation. This is something that will be done during a home energy audit. However, you can easily check your attic insulation yourself. The Department of Energy recommends a rating of between R-38 and R-49 insulation in the attic. This would be a thickness of 15″ to 18″. Maybe some additional insulation will solve your problem.

Consider dampers. Do you have a room or rooms that are not being used? You can install dampers to cut back the air flow in these rooms. This forces more cold air into the areas that you need it. Keep the doors closed on the little-used rooms.

Before you purchase a new air conditioner these quick and easy steps could save you the expense.

Air Conditioning – Getting a Preseason Checkup

To keep your air conditioning system working properly be sure to get a preseason checkup. The benefits of a checkup usually outweigh the costs because a properly functioning system will be more efficient. That means lower utility expenses and less wear and tear on your equipment. A good technician will check the following:

  • Check the filter. This should be done regularly by the homeowner but if your technician doesn’t do it, they are not giving you a proper checkup.
  • Check the compressor starting AMP draw and running AMPS
  • Verify the temperature drop, typically 15 to 20 degrees, between the air entering the evaporator coil from the room and the air leaving the coil.
  • Look at the thermostat. It may need calibrating.
  • Check the contactors. If they have worn or pitted points to replace them.
  • Check the capacitors. The microfarads’ on all capacitors should be checked.
  • Check the duct system for air leaks.
  • Check the refrigerant. Pressures should be checked to be sure that the system is correctly charged.
  • Check the AMP draw on the blower motor.
  • Check the AMP draw on the condenser motor
  • Check condensate drain. Look for cracking, debris or bacteria growth in the line.
  • Examine the emergency drain pan. Look for rust or other signs of a problem.
  • Check electrical connections.
  • Lubricate the motors when possible. Newer motors are normally sealed.
  • Check the fan relay.
  • Examine the disconnect box.
  • Check safety controls.

Having a qualified air conditioning technician give your system a preseason checkup can greatly reduce the chance of a midsummer breakdown. Call your air conditioning professional today to schedule an appointment.

Improving Indoor Air Quality with Furnace Air Filters

How often do you swap out your furnace air filters? You should change them every month so that you end up with fresh air in each room of your home and also helps keep your furnace going efficiently. This is rule # 1 to avoid costly furnace repair. If you have central air conditioning, you should also continue to replace the furnace air filters during the summer months, too. If you don’t have central air conditioning, you can get by with replacing them once a month during the months when you operate the heating unit. This will also drastically reduce your heating bill.

Prior to choosing furnace air filters, you should know the size that your furnace requires. There are several different models of furnace air filters that can be found. They include those that throwaway filters and reusable filters. Washable furnace air filters are not able to last a lifetime but may last a year. You can quite often cut back on spending if you select a washable air filter, but you will need to clean it on a monthly basis.

To maintain washable furnace air filters, you will need to hold them beneath running water to get rid of every bit of grit and grime that has gathered in your furnace. This will make it possible for you to keep the filter clean so it will run your furnace more effectively. The more you attend to cleaning and changing your filters, the more effectively the fan will run on your furnace. When the filters wind up clogged, it not only spreads unhealthy air to each of your rooms, but it also ends up raising your furnace bills.

If you own a particular style of the furnace, you might want to stick with furnace filters that are made by the manufacturer. You can either choose these over the web, where you can get them pretty cheap, or buy them from the distributor. There are many varying sizes when you need furnace air filters, so take care that you get the right size for your furnace. You may need to take a used filter along with you when you go to the store so that you can see the size for yourself. If you are buying online, take the furnace filter out and then look at it so that you can easily view the dimensions. Many people attempt to guess when they are buying furnace air filters and get a wrong size that will never fit the furnace.

Although your furnace may be operated sans furnace air filters, it is not a wise idea. You will suffer from allergens and dirt being dispersed throughout the house. If you are wanting a way to operate your furnace in the best way possible and also cut down on your gas bill while keeping your house dust-free, you should get the highest quality furnace air filters for your furnace and replace them regularly.