How to Stay Cool and Save Money with Energy-Efficient Air Conditioning

During hot summer months, air conditioning in Dallas is essential. The good news is there are many ways you can cut costs while staying comfortable with an energy-efficient AC system.

Implementing just a few tips can save energy and lower electricity bills. From properly sizing your AC unit to conducting routine maintenance, small improvements add up.

Choose the Right Size AC Unit

Buying an AC unit that is too big or too little for their room is one of the top errors that homeowners make. Insufficiently sized air conditioning units exert more effort than necessary to maintain the desired temperature. Your home will be effectively cooled by the proper size unit without having to turn on and off frequently. Consider factors like the square footage of your home, number of floors, window placement, and insulation levels when determining the appropriate cooling capacity. An AC unit’s size is measured in tons, with one ton equaling 12,000 BTUs (British Thermal Units) of cooling power. The rule of thumb is 20 BTUs per square foot for adequately sized units.

Upgrade to a High-Efficiency AC Unit

Newer AC models have come a long way in energy efficiency, using advanced compressor technology and improved refrigerants. Replacement with a new, high-efficiency system can reduce cooling expenditures by 20% or more if your AC unit is older than ten years. The Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) and Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) are important metrics to contrast. The SEER rating measures seasonal performance, while EER indicates efficiency under peak conditions. Look for a SEER of 14 or higher and an EER of around 12 for optimal savings.

Use a Programmable Thermostat

Installing a programmable thermostat is one of the simplest ways to save energy and money. That allows you to set customized schedules for your AC system to follow throughout the day and night. Programmable thermostats automatically adjust the temperature so the AC doesn’t have to keep turning on to maintain a consistent setting. For instance, you can set the thermostat to raise temperatures by 5 degrees at work and 10 degrees overnight when cooling isn’t as necessary.

Modern smart thermostats take convenience even further by allowing remote temperature adjustment via smartphone. Smart thermostats also have motion sensors to detect when you leave home, automatically entering an energy-saving mode.

Conduct Regular Maintenance

It’s easy to overlook, but routine maintenance keeps your AC operating efficiently all summer. Dirty air filters lead to reduced airflow and strain on the system. HVAC technicians recommend replacing filters once a month during heavy-use seasons. Outdoor condenser coils can accumulate debris and must be professionally cleaned at least once a year. Refrigerant levels and ductwork should also be inspected annually. Catching small issues early prevents expensive repairs down the road.

Use Ceiling Fans

Circulating air is key for evenly distributing cooled air from your AC system. Adding ceiling fans to rooms keeps air moving so you feel cooler at higher thermostat settings. The gentle breeze makes it feel several degrees cooler than the actual temperature. Look for Energy Star-rated ceiling fans that move a high air volume efficiently. The fan direction switch allows you to change the airflow pattern depending on the season. Run them counterclockwise in summer to push cool air downward.

Keep Your AC Unit in the Shade

Providing shade for your outdoor AC condenser unit improves efficiency and reduces strain on the system. Units operating in direct sunlight must work extra hard to remove heat absorbed from the exterior coils and compressor. Ideally, locate the AC condenser on the north side of your home, where it will be shaded from the hot afternoon sun. If this isn’t possible, consider planting trees or installing a shade structure to shelter the unit. A vine-covered trellis also provides shade as well as visual appeal. Keep plants trimmed back several feet away from the AC condenser. Blocking the morning sun helps most, as afternoons are the hottest.

Set the Fan Setting to Auto

Many thermostats have an Auto and On fan switch. When set to On, this runs the fan continuously even after the compressor turns off. For AC units with this function, switching to Auto can lower energy usage. With the Auto setting enabled, the fan only runs when the compressor cycles on to cool your home actively. The fan turns off automatically when the appropriate temperature is reached until cooling is required once more. After the air has been suitably cooled, there is no advantage to continuing to run the fan. However, the Department of Energy recommends leaving the fan set to On for new HVAC systems and heat pumps to circulate air and balance humidity levels in the home. Just be sure to switch it to Auto before the heating season.

Conclusion

Staying cool during summer doesn’t have to mean high electricity bills with these smart tips for energy-efficient air conditioning. From sizing your AC unit correctly to upgrading old models, small improvements add up to real savings. Maintain your system properly, seal air leaks in your home, and use cooling methods like ceiling fans for optimal efficiency.

Invest wisely in your home’s air conditioning system, and you’ll keep comfortable all summer without breaking the bank on utility costs.

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