Here’s How to Use Air Conditioner Effectively & Economically in 2021
Having an air conditioner is a blessing as you can benefit from it throughout the year. But this blessing can turn into a nightmare if not used efficiently, leaving your budget drained.
Even if you prioritize your comfort over your wallet, keeping your air conditioner turned on all day increases your contribution to global climate change exponentially.
You must be wondering how one can use an air conditioner effectively. All you have to do is to turn the AC on, and it’ll give its best. If this is how you think, then we’re here to change that!
To increase your HVAC’s efficiency, you’d need to automate it with a smart thermostat or AC control.
Let’s jump directly to the tips to smartly using an air conditioner:
Tips to Use Air Conditioner Effectively All Year Round
Following are some general tips and tricks on how to use air conditioner effectively throughout the year.
1. Check and Change the Air Filter
One of the most important things is to check the air filters of your HVAC system regularly. This not only keeps your air conditioner’s efficiency in check but also keep your electricity bills low.
According to the US department of energy, dirty air filters can increase your AC’s energy consumption by up to 15%.
How often do you need to change the air filters depends on several factors, including household size, number of pets in the house, indoor air quality, and type of air filter that you are using.
As a general rule, the recommended time period is 3-4 months, and just before extreme weather conditions, such as the peak of summer, hits the area you live in. The more frequently you change the air filters, the better would be the air quality. Daikin recommends every two weeks to be the best time.
You can use a smart AC controller for ductless units that tracks your air conditioner’s usage. Based on how many hours your AC is used, it calculates the best time for an AC air filter clean up and notifies you exactly when it’s the time.
2. Use Smart Thermostat or AC Controllers
The latest HVAC technology involves programmable and smart thermostats. This is, yes, extra equipment and more expensive than their dumb counterparts, BUT they are so much more effective and efficient! You can notice a decrease of up to 25% in your electric bills by utilizing smart thermostats and smart AC controllers.
With automation and intelligent triggers, you can allow your thermostat to know your desired temperature, when you will be home, and when you will be away, and it will efficiently maintain the best room environment for you.
3. Avoid Steep Temperature Changes
For increased air conditioner efficiency, it is crucial to maintain a consistent temperature and avoid making massive temperature shifts. It is often one of the main reasons behind increased energy bills. Blasting your cooling on full power during summer or the heat mode during winter can be very effective in achieving the desired temperature but not very efficient due to higher energy costs.
One of the best ways to maintain a stable temperature is by weatherizing your home before the start of every season. Check out these 15 tips to winterize your home.
Prepping your home not only saves your energy expenditure on your HVAC systems but also improves your overall comfort.
You can also utilize smart thermostats or AC controllers to maintain the perfect room temperature with intelligent triggers or set schedules for your air conditioner.
4. Utilize Best Thermostat Setting
Thermostat settings play a significant role in increasing your air conditioner’s efficiency. While you may be intrigued to change the thermostat settings frequently, especially in extreme weather conditions, it is not considered a best practice.
The US Department of Energy recommends that you keep your thermostat setting to 68 degrees while you’re awake and lower when away or sleeping in winters. While in summer, keep it at 78 degrees when at home.
To know more about the perfect thermostat settings in different situations, head over to this article detailing the perfect thermostat setting for every situation.
If you have a mini-split, portable, or window air conditioner, you can utilize a smart AC controller to maintain the perfect room temperature and humidity settings.
5. Create Zones
Many people don’t pay attention when it comes to creating zones with the HVAC system. However, it proves to be beneficial in reducing energy bills and is an excellent method to use an air conditioner effectively.
HVAC zoning allows you to set a specific temperature setting for a designated area. This way, you won’t be conditioning your entire home while sitting in your living room. Other than that, by creating zones, you’ll be able to set a different temperature for each zone. If you don’t need a certain area of your house to be cooled, don’t cool it and save energy!
6. Keep an Eye on Indoor Humidity
When it comes to maintaining the temperature indoors, humidity is the most ignored yet a really contributing element. The recommended range for ideal indoor humidity is from 30% to 50%.
However, maintaining the best humidity level is quite tricky and depends on various other factors, including the season, clothing, and personal requirements. Now, whenever you feel like you’re having trouble maintaining the perfect climate inside your home, consider checking the humidity levels.
You can make use of the dry mode on your air conditioner when humidity levels are considerably high. This will be more efficient than using the energy-intensive cool mode. (link to dry mode article)
Humidity can also be monitored using smart thermostats and smart AC controllers. These devices can work to automate your indoor humidity levels.
7. Utilize the Fan Mode
Do you always run your AC on the cool mode during summer? Try using the other, less energy-intensive modes, such as the fan mode. When it’s not extremely hot, and you only require a refreshing breeze, the fan mode can be pretty effective!
8. Look Out for Debris
You may forget about the outer unit of your AC since it’s out of sight. Therefore, it would be best to set reminders and check if the outside unit area is clean from any debris.
If dirt, leaves, and debris enter the ducts or outer unit of your air conditioner, they block the air vents preventing your air conditioner from working at its best. If the outdoor compressor is blocked, you may be limiting ventilation. Create a nice, cool, shady place for your outdoor unit and keep your air conditioner running effectively.
9. Make Sure Your Aircon Is the Right Size
An air conditioner that is too small or too large for your space will be very ineffective. It is essential to purchase the correct sized AC unit for your space as one too small will need to run for longer and at full power. An air conditioner too large will use up more energy than needed and result in higher bills.
Tips on How to Use Air Conditioner Effectively in Summers
No matter how much you long for a sunbath in summers, no one loves hot temperatures when sitting indoors. Here are some summer-specific tips for using your AC more effectively:
1. Pair It With a Ceiling fan
To beat the heat on a sunny day, all one wants is just to sit under the cool air. But we know you can’t do that all day considering the high amount of electric bills that it would result in.
The solution is to pair your air conditioner with a ceiling fan. Run your air conditioner on the lowest setting required and turn the ceiling fan on. This way, cool air will spread across a wide area, maintaining a comfortable environment. Instead of choosing between an air conditioner and a fan, it’s best to combine the two for maximum comfort and efficiency.
2. Direct AC Vanes Upwards
When using the air conditioner in cool mode, keep the direction of vanes upwards. It is because cool air circulates best in an upward direction.
3. Don’t Let Your Thermostat Take the Heat
Thermostat placement matters a lot when maintaining temperature indoors. As you already know that the thermostat reads the temperature from its surroundings and then makes changes. Therefore, while installing a thermostat, make sure it’s not placed under direct sunlight, near a door or a window, or above air vents.
Placing in an incorrect position will result in false readings and an undesired room temperature.
Tips to Use Reversible Air Conditioner Effectively in Winters
If you’re confused about whether you should use your air conditioner/heat pump in winters or not, then this article has all your questions answered.
Let’s take a look at some tips to use your heat pump or reversible air conditioner effectively in winters:
1. Freeze Protection Mode
While the onset of winter brings snow and festivity to the holiday season, it also brings a lot of inconveniences and extra work. If you live in a freezing climate area, we don’t even have to explain the hassle you’ve to go through because of freezing pipes.
The perfect solution for pipe freezing is the Freeze Protection mode, which is operational in heat mode. It allows a heat pump to run on low power at around 46 degrees so that the temperature doesn’t fall below the freezing point.
In this mode, a steady stream of hot air blows out while consuming minimum power. This works wonders for rooms or vacation homes located in extreme climate areas when not in use. You can maintain a non-freezing temperature easily while minimizing energy use.
2. Be Careful With Emergency Heat Mode
Emergency heat mode, as the name suggests, is for emergency situations. While this may break your heart, dropping temperatures outside, don’t make it to the list. Hence, only hit the button when your heat pump is having trouble working properly. Even if you have to rely on emergency heat mode, get it repaired as soon as you can, or otherwise, your bill will be much higher than usual.
3. Direct the Vanes Downwards
When heat mode is on, it is better to keep the direction of vanes downwards because, as per the law of thermodynamics, heat moves to cold places. Also, keep in mind not to direct the heat directly towards the body as it can cause dryness or itchiness.
4. Pair Your Heat Pump With a Gas Furnace
The dual-fuel system is a more efficient way to control the heating inside your home. Basically, it means having a system with two energy sources. One is the electric heat pump and the other one being the gas furnace.
The system works in a combination of both. When a moderately warm climate has to be maintained, the system works like the usual electric heat pump. But when the heating requirement increases based on outside temperature, the system shifts to the gas furnace.
Is It Better to Leave the AC on All Day?
In extreme weather conditions, you might be intrigued to leave your air conditioner on all day, even when away. But doing so will make your electric bills skyrocket. It also contributes to energy wastage and climate change on a global level.
The best solution is to make your HVAC system or ductless mini-split smart by connecting it with a smart thermostat. By going smart, you can set weekly schedules, set intelligent triggers to automate your home environment, keep a check on usage history, and many more.
How to Save Money on Air Conditioning?
When buying a new air conditioner, you should always look for a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). It indicates the relative amount of energy required to generate the output. If you need an energy-saving air conditioner, look for a model with high SEER.
You can also put effort into other things and reduce the usage of your air conditioner. Let’s have a look:
- Plant more trees around the house. It will block the sunlight and absorb all the heat, making your home cooler.
- Cover your windows with curtains or use tinted glass sheets. It keeps the warmth of sunshine from heating the objects indoor.
- Make sure that you conduct an inspection and seal all the leaks to retain the air conditioner’s cool or warm heat indoors.
- To save money on air conditioning, try to spend more time in the basement, which is cooler than the other parts of your home.
- Never delay the maintenance of your HVAC system.
These are some of the basic tips to save money on air conditioning. For more useful tips, read 14 super-easy ways to reduce your AC costs to work more on electricity expenditures.
You can have an energy-efficient AC just by acting a little smart and making small changes in your lifestyle. Now, you wouldn’t be worrying much about your AC costs, be it winters or summers. Just follow above mentioned tips for a couple of months and you’ll notice the difference yourself.