The summer heat in San Diego can be unrelenting. This means that you’ll need your air conditioner to keep your home cool. However, running your air conditioner for extended periods can lead to sky-high utility bills that make the summer even more miserable. That’s why it’s crucial to do all you can to help your HVAC system run effectively and efficiently so that you can have a comfortable home without the exorbitant cost. Thanks to years of experience, the technicians at Friar's Heating and Air have a few tips to help you beat the summer heat.
Upgrade Your Thermostat
The heart of your HVAC system is the thermostat. By controlling when your air conditioner runs, you can significantly cut down on your energy usage. The best way to accomplish this goal is to upgrade to a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat allows you to select the days and times when you want your air conditioner to run so that you’re not paying to keep your house cool when you’re not there. Smart thermostats, which are Wi-Fi enabled, can automatically learn your living habits so that you can save money without taking any time to program the thermostat.
Seal Your Ducts
After your air conditioner lowers the temperature of the air, that cool air should only be going to the various rooms around your home. Unfortunately, leaky ducts can cause the conditioned air to leak into attics, crawl spaces, and other uninhabited areas in your home. This means that your air conditioner will have to run longer to lower the temperature in the various living spaces. That’s why it’s a good idea to let Friar's Heating and Air seal your ducts. This process involves fixing the holes and gaps that tend to form in ducts over time. When the process is done, your home will likely be able to cool down more quickly and maintain its temperature for longer.
Insulate Your Attic
An uninsulated attic causes two problems when you’re trying to save money on cooling costs. First, when your attic isn’t insulated, there’s a good chance that some of the cool air in your living area will leak through gaps between your walls and ceilings. Second, if you have ductwork in your attic, leaving the attic uninsulated will lead to unwanted energy transfer, meaning that the cool air your system produces won’t be as cold by the time it reaches the various rooms in your home. The great thing about insulating your attic is that it provides energy savings year-round.
Have Someone Inspect Your System
Even if your air conditioner is running satisfactorily, it still may be using more energy than necessary. That’s why it’s a good idea to have Friar's Heating and Air inspect your system at least once a year. During this annual check-up, a technician will inspect each component of your system to ensure it is operating correctly. One important part of the maintenance process is when a technician checks the refrigerant level in your refrigerant line. Low refrigerant levels lead to inefficient and expensive cooling. Catching low refrigerant levels or other small problems at this early stage can help prevent expensive repairs down the road.
Understand Your Air Filter
A quick way to ruin your air conditioner’s performance is to ignore your air filter. A dirty air filter lowers efficiency by preventing the correct volume of air from entering the air conditioner. This can cause the evaporator coil to freeze during the cooling cycle and prevent the coil from removing humidity from the air. To avoid a dirty filter, Friar's Heating and Air recommends checking your filter once a month. Replace the filter when the dust darkens the color of the filter media. It’s also important to make sure that you’re not using a filter that’s too dense for what your HVAC system can handle. You’ll want to be sure that the filter has a MERV rating of 16 or less unless you have a hospital-grade system that can handle more dense filters.
Let the Air Flow
The ductwork in your HVAC system is like a circulatory system for your air conditioner. Just like in your body, you want to be sure that none of the arteries in your HVAC’s circulatory system are clogged. To do this, you need to clean your ducts. Typically, it’s best to have a professional clean your ducts to prevent the release of dust and debris into your home. Removing this dust from your ducts will improve airflow and efficiency, reduce the risk of mold growth, and improve air quality. To help further improve airflow, make sure that none of the supply or return ducts in your home are blocked by furniture or other obstacles.
Replace It If You’re Ready
If you’re only trying to figure out how to squeeze a little more efficiency out of your air conditioner this summer, then system replacement probably isn’t for you. However, if you have an older system that continues to lose efficiency every year, then it may be a good idea to look into a new system and the efficiency improvements a new system can provide. Thanks to improved minimum efficiency ratings for air conditioners, even an entry-level system from Friar's Heating and Air can help you keep your home cool and reduce your energy costs. Given the high upfront cost of system replacement, you should be sure that you’re going to be in your home for the next several years before taking on this expense.
Use Fans Wisely
When used correctly, a fan can work in tandem with your air conditioner to help you save money during the summer. The big thing to remember when using a fan of any kind is that you should only run it when you’re in the room with the fan. Fans don’t actually reduce the temperature of the air. Instead, they make the air feel cooler by increasing its speed as it passes over your skin. If you follow that simple rule, though, and make sure to turn off all fans when you leave the room, you can often adjust your thermostat to a higher temperature since your body will stay cooler without the air conditioner running as often.
Keep Exterior Windows and Doors Shut
An important part of what an air conditioner does to cool your home is remove humidity from the air. Since your air conditioner draws air from inside your home, it follows that air with less humidity will reduce the workload on your air conditioner. This means that it’s important for you to keep your windows and doors closed so that air with higher humidity levels can’t enter your home. Instead, your system will only recycle the air that’s already been dehumidified, resulting in improved efficiency and increased comfort.
Call for Help When Needed
No matter what you choose to do to improve your air conditioner’s efficiency, the pros at Friar's Heating and Air are here to help. We can perform air conditioner repair, replacement, and maintenance for all makes and models, ensuring that you’re always enjoying exceptional comfort. We can also repair furnaces, install water heaters, clean drains, replace thermostats, and much more. Our commitment to integrity spans more than 30 years, which is one reason why countless customers leave us five-star reviews. To learn more about improving your air conditioner’s efficiency in San Diego, contact us at Friar's Heating and Air today.