Let’s face it: in the dog days of summer, when the sun’s glaring and ice cream cones everywhere are melting, there’s very little more tempting than the “on” switch for the A/C. At this time of year, air conditioning is less of a comfort and more of a necessity—recent heat waves in places like Montreal, Glasgow, or Denver are creating conditions that a cold water bottle pressed against your forehead just won’t solve. But if you’re being mindful of your energy consumption and of the environment, is there a sweet spot that allows you to be comfortable while still being conscientious?
The truth is, you don’t have to sweat it. There are plenty of things you can do to keep your air conditioning unit running efficiently, which lowers your energy consumption without raising your body temperature.
When looking for an air conditioner, especially a window unit or quality portable air conditioner, it’s important to ensure that you’ve got the right size for the space you’re trying to cool. As a simple rule — the smaller the room, the smaller the A/C unit needs to be. Once you’ve found an air conditioning unit that’s right for your space, whether it’s an HVAC system or a window unit, don’t get greedy. Set the thermostat to a reasonable temperature rather than a frigid one.
Although a difference of a few degrees likely won’t make a major difference to your comfort, it can help save energy and money. If you have a unit with a programmable timer, set it to only cool down your space during times that you’re actually around. There’s no need to keep the space cool all day while you’re at work.
Clean your filters! Too often, cleaning a unit’s filters is something that slips the mind of even the most responsible homeowner. The process isn’t difficult, but it can make all the difference. Some manufacturers recommend cleaning the filters every 30 days, and it’s easy to understand why: a dirty filter restricts air flow and forces your unit to work harder — plus it means that the air you’re getting isn’t quite as clean. Regular filter cleaning means less strain on your A/C unit and the environment.
Just like owning a car, regular maintenance and upkeep can be the difference between an A/C system that lasts you a long time and an A/C that putters out just as the temperature outside starts to crawl upwards. Air conditioner repair and tune-ups are services offered by many companies, but it’s worth taking the time to find a reputable company with skilled technicians. A good technician will be able to assess whether or not your unit is working to its full potential, tell you if there are any parts in need of servicing, and notify you of any safety concerns that they may find. An A/C unit is often a big investment — it pays off in the long run to treat it as such.
Efficiency doesn’t stop with your unit, either. Once you’ve got your A/C producing that sweet, cool air, make the most of it. Make sure that you’re doing your best to keep the heat out and the cold air in by closing your blinds or curtains during the day and sealing up any cracks or gaps in your windows and doors. Also, using fans to move the cool air into other areas is a great way to cool down your living space without working your unit overtime.
For plenty of people, the choice between conscientiousness and comfort is a tough one, but it doesn’t have to be. By making responsible choices, you can maximize the efficiency and performance of your A/C unit and keep yourself and your family cool all summer long.
Photo (main) by Moja Msanii on Unsplash
Photo (Inset) Getty Embed
Post made possible by site supporter Mike John.