How to Make Your Air Conditioner More Energy Efficient

Apr 28, 2023 | Energy Conservation & Savings

Air conditioning is a crucial component of modern life, especially in the great state of Texas with its hot and humid climate. So as temperatures begin to rise and we turn the corner from spring into summer, let’s look at some ways to make your air conditioner more energy efficient. Not only can it save you money on your electricity bill, but maintaining an energy-efficient AC is environmentally responsible.


Perform Annual Inspections & Regular Maintenance

Scheduling annual inspections and maintenance for your AC system is essential to keep it running efficiently and effectively. The benefits of a well-maintained AC system are many. It will run more efficiently, perform better, have a longer lifespan, and more. Additionally, regular maintenance can help prevent breakdowns and costly repairs, saving you money in the long run.


A well-maintained system can last up to 15 years, while a neglected one may need to be replaced after just a few years. Neglected systems are also more likely to develop refrigerant leaks, which can be costly to repair. By having a professional HVAC technician inspect and tune up your system, you can identify any potential issues before they turn into major problems.


Clean the Vents and Ducts

Proper airflow is essential for an air conditioning system to operate efficiently. Over time, dust and debris can accumulate in your home’s vents and ducts, hindering airflow and forcing your system to work harder to cool your home. To improve your AC’s efficiency, it’s important to regularly clean your vents and ducts. You can do this by removing vent covers and using a vacuum or brush to remove any visible debris. It’s also a good idea to have a professional air duct cleaning service come in and thoroughly clean your ducts every few years.


Regularly cleaning your vents and ducts can have a significant impact on your AC’s efficiency, as well as improving the air quality in your home. Improved airflow means your AC won’t have to work as hard to cool your home, which can lead to lower energy bills and a longer lifespan for your system. Additionally, clean vents and ducts can prevent the buildup of mold and allergens, helping to keep your family healthy and comfortable.


Replace Furnace Filters Regularly

As long as we’re talking about keeping things clean, replacing the furnace filter is another crucial step in improving the efficiency of your AC system. The filter traps dust, dirt, and other particles that can clog the system and reduce its performance. Over time, the filter gets dirty and clogged, making it harder for the air to flow through the system. This forces the AC to work harder to cool your home, which uses more energy and can lead to higher bills.


Avoid these problems by replacing the furnace filter regularly, typically every one to three months depending on the type of filter and how often you use your AC. You can find replacement filters at most hardware stores or online, and they are easy to install yourself. By keeping the filter clean and replacing it regularly, you can improve the airflow through the AC system, reduce equipment strain, and lower energy bills.


Get a Programmable Thermostat

One of the simplest and most effective ways to improve AC efficiency is by getting a programmable thermostat. These thermostats can automatically adjust the temperature in your home based on your schedule and preferences, allowing you to reduce energy usage during unoccupied hours and save money on your energy bills.


When shopping for a programmable thermostat, look for models with features like daily settings, vacation mode, and easy-to-use controls. Most thermostats can even be controlled remotely using a smartphone app. By upgrading to a programmable thermostat, you can enjoy greater comfort and convenience.


If you want to skip your search for a thermostat, Energy Texas has partnered with ecobee to bring our customers an opportunity to save both money and energy. As an Energy Texas customer, you can opt in for our ecobee Clean & Green plan or purchase your own ecobee Smart Thermostat Enhanced at a reduced price. You can learn about the plan and the thermostat’s features here


Keep Windows, Doors & Coverings Shut

When windows and doors are left open, cool air escapes while warm air enters, causing your AC to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature. This can lead to increased energy consumption and higher electricity bills. Sunlight heats up your home, especially during peak hours when the sun is directly overhead. So, make it a habit to close windows, doors, and curtains during the hottest part of the day, especially if you’re leaving the house. This will not only help to improve your AC’s efficiency, but also keeps your home cool and comfortable.


Improve Insulation

Proper insulation and can keep cool air inside your home and prevent hot outdoor air from entering. This can help reduce the workload on your AC system and lower your energy bills. So get up in the attic and look for any areas where insulation is lacking, and add more accordingly.


The type of insulation you use will depend on your climate and the type of structure you have. Common types of insulation include fiberglass, cellulose, and spray foam. Fiberglass is the most common type and is relatively inexpensive. Cellulose is made of recycled materials and is a good option for environmentally conscious people. Spray foam is the most expensive type of insulation, but it provides the best insulation value and can also help with soundproofing.


Seal Gaps & Air Leaks

In addition to improving insulation, it’s important to seal any gaps and air leaks around your home to ensure your AC system is running as efficiently as possible. Common areas where leaks occur include around windows and doors, in the attic, and around ductwork. These leaks can cause your AC system to work harder and consume more energy, resulting in higher energy bills.


To seal gaps and air leaks, you can use weatherstripping or caulk around windows and doors, and spray foam or foam board insulation to seal gaps in the attic or around ductwork. It’s important to inspect these areas regularly and reapply sealant as needed. In addition, consider adding door sweeps to exterior doors and sealing gaps around electrical outlets and light switches. 


Maintain the Outdoor Units

Maintaining outdoor AC units is crucial to improving AC efficiency. Outdoor units can become dirty and clogged with debris, which can reduce airflow and cause the system to work harder than necessary. Regularly clean the unit and remove any foliage that has accumulated around it. Other common problems include dirty coils, faulty motors or fans, and low refrigerant levels — another reason to consider scheduling annual maintenance with a professional.


Clear the Drain Line

Your air conditioning system has a drain line that removes excess moisture and water from the unit. Over time, this drain line can become clogged with dirt, debris, or mold, which can cause the unit to malfunction or even stop working altogether. To prevent this from happening, it’s important to clear the drain line regularly.


Clear the drain line by pouring a cup of white vinegar down the drain. This will help dissolve any buildup that may be blocking the line. You can also use a wet/dry vacuum to suction out any debris or an air compressor to blow the line clear. 


Use Ceiling Fans

Installing and using ceiling fans can be an effective way to improve your air conditioner’s efficiency. Ceiling fans work by circulating air throughout a room, which can help to distribute cool air more evenly and reduce the workload on your AC system. In fact, using a ceiling fan can make a room feel up to 10 degrees cooler, which means you can raise your thermostat by a few degrees and still feel comfortable.


Additionally, using your ceiling fan correctly is important to ensure you get the most out of it. In the summer, the fan should run counterclockwise to create a downdraft and circulate cool air, while in the winter, the fan should run clockwise to create an updraft and help to distribute warm air.


Turn Off the Lights & Switch to LED Bulbs

Turning off lights when not in use and using LED bulbs are two effective ways to reduce energy consumption and improve AC efficiency in your home. When you leave a room, turn off the lights to save energy and reduce heat. If you have incandescent light bulbs, replace them with energy-efficient LED bulbs, which use up to 80% less energy.


LED bulbs also generate less heat than incandescent bulbs, and that can reduce the amount of heat your AC needs to remove from your home. They come in a variety of colors and styles, so you can find ones that match your home’s decor. If they’re a smartbulb, you can even control them with your smartphone!


Maintain Your AC System for Long-Term Service With Energy Texas

Improving AC efficiency helps you save on energy costs and reduces your environmental impact. Annual maintenance, upgrading to a more energy-efficient system, making simple improvements like cleaning vents and ducts, installing a programmable thermostat, and improving insulation can go a long way in making your AC more efficient.


Remember that there are also many ways to stay cool without AC, such as using fans or keeping windows open during cooler hours of the day. If you encounter any difficulties or need professional help, don’t hesitate to seek assistance from a trusted HVAC technician.


Once you’ve optimized your AC system, you can get protection for the system with our American Insurance Group Partner Protection Program. Our Air Condition Protection Program provides repair coverage for the unit. You can learn more about the program here.

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