man adjusting thermostat

5 Ways to Make Your Central Air Conditioner More Efficient

When you make your home’s central air conditioning system more efficient, you reduce the amount of energy your AC needs to keep your home comfortable. Considering that your AC is one of the most energy-hungry systems in your home, the more efficient you can make it, the better! Not only will you enjoy lower cooling costs, but you’ll also reduce the wear and tear that the system goes through, which can help you avoid repairs and extend your AC’s lifespan.

Here are a few ways you can increase your air conditioner’s efficiency so that it doesn’t have to work as hard.

1. Install a zoning system.

Every home has rooms or areas that are always warmer or colder than the rest of the house. This is especially true during summer when you’ll spend a fortune trying to keep your home’s upstairs cool, while your home’s lower levels feel freezing. By installing a zoning system, you’ll have control over which rooms receive hot or cold air from your HVAC system. This means you’ll only spend money heating or cooling the areas that actually need it.

2. Repair leaky ductwork.

According to Energy Star, in homes with forced-air heating and cooling systems, “20 to 30 percent of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts.” This means that a lot of the energy your HVAC system is using to condition air is going to waste. Consider hiring an HVAC contractor to properly seal and connect your ductwork. If your ductwork is extremely old, the most energy-efficient solution may be to replace it.

3. Make sure your thermostat is in an ideal location.

If you live in tract housing, every home’s thermostat in that development is probably located in the exact same spot. The trouble is that not every home is positioned the same way relative to the sun, surrounding trees, and other factors that can affect your home’s temperature.

Your thermostat can only detect what temperature is in its immediate surroundings, so if it’s in direct sunlight or located near an electronic that gives off heat, it might think your home is warmer than it actually is. Likewise, if your thermostat is in a cold, drafty area of your home, it might not turn your AC on when you need it to.

If you feel like your HVAC system’s cycles are out of sync with the rest of your home’s temperature, an HVAC technician can help you find a better location for your thermostat to help solve the problem.

4. Seal air leaks around your home.

Air leaks allow heat to transfer easily into your home, which can cause your AC to run for longer cycles to keep your home comfortable. Some typical air leak locations include:

  • The gaps around windows and doors
  • Recessed lighting
  • The hatch into your attic
  • Holes in your walls for wiring and plumbing pipes

It can be difficult to determine every air leak’s location in your home. You may need to schedule a professional energy audit so that the auditor can detect the air leaks with their specialized equipment.

5. Keep up with maintenance.

After a long summer of running for countless cycles, your air conditioner’s parts can loosen, lose lubrication, and acquire dust, dirt, and grime that will all interfere with its performance. This is why the Department of Energy and HVAC professionals recommend getting your system a “spring tune-up.”

During this appointment, your HVAC technician will reverse some of that wear and tear your system went through and make sure it’s ready to take on the summer ahead. The technician can also point out any potential problems to you so that you have a chance to fix them before they become more significant (and expensive) issues.

Is it time to schedule your yearly AC maintenance? Get all of the care and quality you need by contacting our Northern Virginia team of AC professionals at HVAC & Plumbing Unlimited: (703) 454-5040. You can also use our online form!