Handy tips for using your air conditioner

When temperatures soar in the summer months, your air conditioner likely works overtime. Here are some tips on using and maintaining your air conditioner so you can keep your cool — even when your electricity bill comes.

  • To save on energy, try to restrict air conditioning to where it's most needed. Closing doors to areas that don't need to be cooled is the easiest way to keep your air conditioner cooling your house efficiently.
  • Cleaning your air conditioner regularly will help it work more efficiently, and thereby save you some money when you want to cool off. Whether you have ducted air conditioning, a split system or window units, dirt and debris will restrict the airflow through the filter and around the cooling elements, forcing the unit to work harder and use more electricity. Clear away any debris or dirt that you can safely get to and your unit's performance should improve.
  • Every year, inspect the seals and gaskets around a window-mounted air conditioner to check if they're leaking air. Repair or replace parts that appear to have deteriorated to seal up any gaps.
  • Hot air rises and accumulates around the ceiling. So the best location for your air conditioning unit is also around the ceiling, not lower down or near a window.
  • Don't run a window-mounted air conditioner when the temperature dips too low. Doing so could damage the unit's compressor.
  • Window-mounted air conditioners operate less efficiently in direct sunlight. If you can't install the unit on a shaded wall or an east- or south-facing wall, you'll need to shield it with a protective awning.
  • When the weather is hot and humid, set your air conditioner's fan on "low." This won't make it as cool as when the fan's on a "high" setting, but it will help to lower the humidity in your home.
  • Many modern air conditioners that are currently available not only cool the air — they can act as heaters, too. If one of these models is switched to "heatpump" mode, it will circulate hot air around your home much more efficiently than electric bar or fan heaters.
  • Keep heat-producing items like lamps away from your air conditioner's thermostat. If it's too close to these sorts of objects, the heat that they give off might make your air conditioner run for longer than is necessary as it works harder than is necessary to cool things down.

Keeping these tips in mind will help your air conditioner run more efficiently. As a result, it will likely take less time to change the temperature of your home and you'll probably see a lower electricity bill.

Handy tips for using your air conditioner
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