Summer is finally here to stay, and for many that means sunshine and relaxation. But if you don’t have an efficient AC, it might feel impossible to escape the heat, even in your own home. Don’t let the heat of summer get you down – make sure your air conditioner is doing its best to cool your home.
How to tell if you have an efficient AC
There are many ways to find out if your air conditioner is performing as well as it should. So put on your inspector cap and get started with these possible problem areas. And even if your AC is working efficiently, consider trying some of these summertime AC tips.
1. Check Your AC Filter
A dirty AC filter may not seem like a big deal, but it can actually have a huge impact on the air quality in your home. The buildup of dirt can make it harder for your unit to cool your home, and the reduced air flow means it will take more energy to cool your home. When it uses more energy, you pay higher energy bills. The added strain on your AC can also lead to malfunction or failure of the system. In addition to the strain on your AC (and wallet!) a dirty filter is not as efficient at cleaning the air, which means that the air it pumps into your home may be filled with dust and allergens! If you’re not checking your filter regularly, it’s time to start. Changing the filter is a simple job that you can do yourself, and the benefits of it can be massive.
2. Use a Thermometer
If you’re not sure whether or not your AC is cooling the house the way it should be, try this simple test. On a day when the temperature outside is above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, let your AC run for at least 15 minutes. Grab a thermometer, put it in one of the air ducts, and let it sit for about 5 minutes to get an accurate temperature. Then do the same thing at one of the return ducts. The air that the AC is blowing should be 14 to 20 degrees cooler than the air it is taking in. If it doesn’t meet this standard, there may be something wrong with the AC, such as leaks in the system.
3. Inspect Your Outdoor Unit
A quick check outside should help you determine whether the outdoor unit is the source of your problem. You should be able to see and hear the fan running. If you can’t, it’s time to call in a professional. If it is still on and running, it is probably not the source of the problem.
4. Identify Hot Spots
Even an efficient AC will have to work harder to cool your home if there are places where extra heat is coming in. One of the biggest offenders in this category is uncovered windows. Sun streaming through your windows for hours at a time can raise the temperature of the air in your home, which means that your AC has to put in some overtime to keep you cool. Don’t stress your AC out; identify the “hot spots” and make an effort to close blinds or shades – and if you don’t have blinds or shades, get some!
5. Don’t Hate, Insulate
You may be blaming your AC for an insufficiently cooled home, but it may not be the problem. Insulation in your walls and ceilings is there to keep air from escaping – if your insulation is not efficient, all that cool air may be leaving as fast as it comes. If you suspect poor insulation may be to blame for your cooling problems, get a professional inspection to determine whether more needs to be added or if it needs to be replaced.
Don’t let an inefficient AC system ruin your summer fun. If you need to improve your AC energy efficiency, schedule your no-cost home energy assessment from Energy Monster. We will complete a full home inspection to find areas where you are losing energy, and we can help you with insulation installation and other home projects to keep your home efficient and your energy bills low.