How to Improve Air Conditioning Efficiency and Save Your Money

ac efficiency improvement

Jake Smith, Online Marketing Strategist
Technically Reviewed by Jake Smith, Online Marketing Strategist on Sept 06, 2022 | Written by Alpha Mechanical Editorial Contributors

The HVAC system is the biggest energy user in your entire house so when utility costs begin to increase or your unit is running more than usual, it is important to take a look into how to solve that issue. If you are like most homeowners, you are probably looking to reduce your costs and energy saving solutions to become long term habits for your home and we are here to help. Read on to learn about the following tips on how to make your AC more efficient at little to no-cost to you.

Causes of Inefficiency of Air Conditioner

Increased Energy Bills

Left and right the cost of living is going up these days but if you are noticing a pattern of increasing energy use and utility costs rising together, this may be an indicator that your air conditioner isn’t running productively. Improving air conditioner efficiency is a good place to start. Check to see if you can resolve the issue before checking in with a professional and be sure to schedule regular maintenance.

Constant Cycling

The thermostat is the “brain” of your HVAC system, communicating to the unit when the home has reached the set temperature and when it needs to keep running in order to meet the set temperature. If the “on and off” schedule becomes too frequent, this may be an indication that your thermostat isn’t working or is placed in a warm spot. Increase the efficiency of air conditioning by addressing any issues with your thermostat. Either way, the problem needs to be addressed.

NOTE: If you decrease the temperature in your thermostat but still get warm air blowing, it could be a sign of a bad HVAC capacitor. The capacitor is responsible for providing the initial burst of power needed to start the compressor, so if it’s bad, the compressor won’t be able to start and your air conditioner won’t be able to cool your home. Here is additional information about bad HVAC capacitor symptoms.

Ice on the Compressor

The compressor can be another reason for decrease in air conditioner efficiency. If you observe ice on the compressor, there may be a leak in the coolant line. A dirty air filter that hasn’t been changed in a long amount of time can also lead to ice on the compressor. It is in your best interest to call a professional if this is the case.

Out of the Ordinary Sounds

Every homeowner becomes familiar with the sounds of their appliances, when something sounds off turn everything off so that the problem doesn’t become a major problem until you can have a professional HVAC team take a look at your unit to make AC more efficient.

Got problems with your thermostat device and looking for professional advice?

9 Ways to Improve Air Conditioner Efficiency

Since we have covered the potential causes of air conditioner inefficiency, let’s take a look into what you can do to solve the issues and improve the efficiency of air conditioning in your home and how to make AC work better.

1. Clean and shade your outside condenser

Walk around your home and find your outside condenser. Clean any debris or blockages out from around the unit to make sure that the airflow is clear. Taking off the vents to clean the condenser properly can be a tricky job, be sure to leave the deep polishing to the professionals to prevent any serious damage.

If you want to, shading your unit can also help with efficiency. The goal is to cover the sun from beating on your unit without enclosing or placing anything too close overhead so as not to block airflow.

2. Clean the drain line

Keeping the drain line clean will make sure that no issues related to water occur. You can start by finding the drain line next to the system’s indoor cooling coil most likely found in your basement over your furnace.

Pour one cup of chlorine bleach down the AC drain followed by a gallon of water to rinse it out, you can ensure that the line remains clear throughout the summer months.

NOTE: One way to know that it is time to clean out the drain line is when the AC safety switch is triggered. This happens when the condensation water levels in the drip pan exceed normal levels. The safety switch will turn off your AC system to prevent flooding.

3. Maximize ventilation

Another solution for how you can improve air conditioning efficiency is ductwork and ventilation. There could be something blocking your vents on the inside of your home that is cutting off the air draft causing your return and supply air vents in your air conditioner to work harder than necessary. Do a walkthrough of your home to ensure that no toys, furniture, clothes or dust is in the way of any floor or ceiling vents. Keep dressers, dog beds, and anything that can block vents away to make sure that air is circulating properly in your home.

If blockages occur, vents increase their pressure in the duct system and then air flow is reduced throughout the home. You can also vacuum the vents in each room to clean them out in between maintenance appointments to clear dust, cobwebs, and debris that buildup over time.

4. Thermostat placement

The placement of your thermostat in the home can also have an impact on the efficiency of your air conditioner. If your thermostat is installed on a wall facing the west side of your home, or where the sun can come in and shine directly on it, it may not be gauging the temperature of your home to the best of its ability. When your thermostat is getting a faulty reading, it could also be broken or old enough for an upgrade. If you are a Sacramento homeowner, Alpha Mechanical provides thermostat repair in Sacramento service and can ensure you a fix and an upgrade.

In a location near a warm window, lamp, or appliance can heat the room and affect the reading it is getting which can cause it to run extra cycles to cool the space more than is actually needed. Over time this is going to increase your utilities bill and lead to more wear and tear on the air conditioning unit.

5. Seal air leaks

Another issue that eventually leads to higher utility costs and decrease in AC system efficiency is air leakage, gaps in insulation and conditioned air leaving the home in sneaky spots. In the Northern California sector, Alpha Mechanical can be trusted for your next duct installation in Sacramento.

If there are leaks, the cool air that has been dispensed in your home is going to move outside. Insulate any exposed ductwork and that any unconditioned space or uninsulated areas is properly sealed so that leaks and air bubbles do not become an issue. Using a duct-sealing tape that is UL 181-rated, you can fix any visual leaks but leave anything major for a professional repair. Your attics insulation is another common area where sneaky leaks come in from and where ductwork may need to be addressed.

6. Increase the temperature on thermostat

In the particularly warm and cold months, 3-8 degrees on the thermostat can make a huge difference in energy efficiency. A thermostat set to 75 rather than 78 will use 18% more energy to meet the set temperature. Similarly 72 versus 78 will use 39% more energy also. Turning your thermostat up in the summer months and down in the winter months can be an adjustment for your home but thankfully there are other ways to provide content conditions. You will want to consider turning your air conditioner up more when there is no one home or invest in a programmable thermostat which makes it easier to control the temperature of your home from your smart device on the go.

Adding ceiling fans can circulate cold air and make a room feel cooler. This can also be the first step in figuring out how to make an old air conditioner work better. Keep the windows covered by blinds and every curtain drawn to avoid heat from entering your home as well. Don’t run your dryer or oven in the hottest hours of the day if you can avoid it. Purchasing energy-efficient light bulbs can be a small change that leads to bigger reductions in demands for your HVAC units.

7. Change air filters

Changing the air filters on the regularly scheduled times can not only improve the air quality in your home but improve the airflow, making the task of cooling your home much easier for your air conditioner.

Energy Star recommends changing them at least once every three months making this an easy and affordable step in preventing any air conditioner efficiency issues or having to repair any expensive damages that can result from not changing them.

8. Assess installing a zoning system

Placing a zoning system in your home will allow for you to control the temperature in your home and save the most energy and money over time. A zoning system allows you to divide your home into groups of rooms or individually to decide custom cooling levels. By managing the temperature in this way, you can resolve how to use air conditioner effectively while simultaneously improving air conditioning efficiency.

9. Schedule Regular Maintenance

The best thing to do if you believe that your air conditioner isn’t running at full capacity or your utility costs have recently soared due to lack of efficiency, scheduling a maintenance check by a professional HVAC team is the greatest step. An HVAC technician can detect issues before they become major problems and fix them on the spot. A licensed professional can also clean your equipment accurately and ensure that everything is running properly before those intense summers or long winters set in. Regular maintenance service appointments are the best solution on how to increase efficiency of air conditioning system.

Air Conditioner on its last leg? Call us for quality AC system replacement!

Consider Alpha Mechanical

Alpha Mechanical has been in business in the Sacramento area for many years. We are committed to providing exceptional service to our customers.We never seek to upsell unnecessary equipment or rip off our customers financially when it comes to their HVAC units. Our technicians know how to improve the efficiency of the air conditioning system and help you save money in the process.

We offer coupons and financing for your convenience through partnered banks. We take time to communicate to our customers the problem with the furnace and guide them to optimal and reasonable solutions at a competitive price.

Final Thoughts

When your unit is working harder, improving AC efficiency is a key step in resolving the issue at hand without breaking the bank. Your AC system accounts for 70% of your energy usage in the hot summer months so listening to tips on how to improve air conditioner efficiency and implementing them can make a big difference.

Alpha Mechanical is glad to partner with you for any HVAC repair needs, providing quality service at a great cost, answering the need for how to increase efficiency of air conditioner and more.

Contact us 916.848.5980 and we will get your AC system working great again.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Will my energy costs go down if I improve the efficiency of air conditioning unit?

Yes in short, when your air conditioning unit isn’t having frequent cycles, the energy isn’t being used up as fast and in turn, it will not cost you as much.

What's the easiest step in making air conditioning more efficient?

Making sure that the air filters are changed every 3 months is the simplest tip in ensuring that any inefficiency issue does not cause greater damage.

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