Summers in Phoenix can be brutally hot. With area temperatures regularly reaching triple digits, your air conditioner is under constant pressure to perform. If you've seen your utility bills creep up, that could be a sign that your air conditioner is running less efficiently. You may need to schedule an appointment for air conditioner service. Phoenix has a large number of experienced and qualified HVAC professionals, including Christian Brothers Plumbing Repipe/Broken Water Pipe Service, who can inspect your air conditioning unit.
However, before you schedule a service appointment, you may want to take some easy steps to help your unit run more efficiently. A drop in efficiency doesn't necessarily mean that your air conditioner has an issue. It may just mean that there are other facets of your home's heating and cooling system that could be improved to maximize efficiency.
Try out the following four tips and you'll likely see an immediate boost in efficiency and drop in utility costs.
1) Use a programmable thermostat. If you're like most homeowners, you set your thermostat to a comfortable level and then leave it at that level throughout the day. However, that means your air conditioner may be working hard even when nobody is home. You can use a programmable thermostat to change the home's temperature at different times, depending on your schedule.
For example, you may set the thermostat to 72 degrees in the evening, when you're at home. However, you could program the thermostat to 76 or even 80 degrees during the day while you're at work. That takes some of the pressure off your air conditioning unit. It also means you'll use less energy during the day, reducing your utility bill.
2) Shade the outdoor unit, especially if it's on concrete. It's common in Phoenix for air conditioning units to sit on concrete slabs next to the homes. Those slabs can reflect sunlight and heat the air conditioner unit. That means the air conditioner has to work overtime to keep itself cool as it's cooling your home.
You can improve the air conditioner's efficiency by providing some shade. Plant a tree or bush near the unit to keep it out of the sun. Also, don't completely cover up your air conditioner. The unit needs to exhaust air. If it's covered, that exhaust may blow right back into the air conditioner. Keep it shaded and ventilated for best performance.
3) Use the right size air conditioner. Obviously, you don't want to have an air conditioner that's too small. If the air conditioner isn't powerful enough, it will never fully cool your home. However, it's also a problem if you have an air conditioner that's too large. The air conditioner will cool your home quickly, but it will automatically shut off as soon as your home reaches it's desired temperature. It will then turn back on when the home gets too warm. This constant cycle of turning on-and-off makes your home less comfortable and can make your air conditioner less efficient. If your not sure what size unit you need, you can check out this helpful chart from the Energy Star program.
4) Insulate your home. Most people consider insulating to be a winter activity. However, proper insulation helps to cool your home in the summer by keeping cold air in and warm air out. Make sure your home is properly insulated, especially around your heating and cooling system's ductwork. Similarly, seal any cracks and gaps around doors and windows.
With temperatures in Phoenix creeping up, now is the time to make sure your air conditioner is running as efficiently as possible. By taking a few simple steps of maintenance, you can improve your unit's efficiency and cut your utility bill.