As you may know, your HVAC system is the number one consumer of energy in your home and accounts for up to 58% of your energy bill! Anything you can do to make your air conditioner more efficient, especially in San Diego, is beneficial to your energy bill and the overall life of your system.
Change the air filter. Once you change it, set an alert on your phone or computer calendar to remind you to change them out every month during the summer. It may seem like a lot of upkeep but it will help extend the life of your HVAC system. Stock up on air filters at the beginning of the summer and store them away for easy access. This way you won’t forget to change it for another month and you’ll save a trip to the store! It will make the process much easier on you.
Test the system. If you haven’t already, turn the AC on and turn down the temperature to force the system to turn on. When you hear the system starting to blow air, be sure to place your hand in front of a vent to make sure the air coming through is considerably cool. If any problems arise such as the system not turning on, or warm air coming through the vents, be sure to call an air conditioning repair company to remedy the system right away. The earlier in the season that you can get the repair done, the less likely you will have to pay more during a peak-of-the-season emergency.
Check the ducts. You may have a faulty duct system if you experience uneven cooling or sky high energy bills. For some insight on how much you should be spending in relation to your energy consumption, use this Power Usage Calculator. Still not sure if your ducts are working efficiently? Many air conditioning contractors can perform a duct test to find where faulty areas are. If you use a contractor to do a duct test and you have it repaired by a registered contractor, CPS Energy will actually pay 50% of the cost of testing the duct system. There are also Air Flow Performance Rebates up to $2,500 for duct repairs and replacement. If you’re more of the do-it-yourself type, check out When Is It Time to Clean Your Ducts
Maintain the outdoor unit. A simple task you can complete on your outdoor unit is to clear any debris immediately around it. Anything that would affect the unit from pulling air into it should be removed. As long as there is a couple feet of clearance around the entire unit, it will continue to perform efficiently. To complete a thorough cleaning and checkup on your unit, call your local air conditioning contractor to perform a cleaning and inspection. Make sure this is done every year to get the most out of your air conditioner and keep it running efficiently.
Other Energy Improvement Updates...
Install a programmable thermostat. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, installing one is simple and can save you loads on your energy bill. The benefit to having a programmable thermostat is being able to schedule it to an energy-saving temperature while you aren’t home. For example, when the family leaves for work/school, you can program your thermostat to 78 or 80 degrees. This temperature may be a little warm when everyone is home, but is a great temperature to keep an empty home. Setting it any higher, or completely turning the AC off isn’t always beneficial since it needs to work that much harder to cool the home to a comfortable temperature again. CPS Energy has a residential program that includes a free digital thermostat if you don't want to pay for one and you don't mind waiting a bit.
Install attic insulation and an attic fan. Another great energy saver is attic insulation. Attic insulation keeps the hot air in your attic and not in the living spaces of your home. Install an attic fan for an inexpensive way to keep your attic even cooler and therefore keeping your home cooler.
Seal up an air leaks to the outside. Close any air leaks by windows or doors with caulk or a weather-stripping material. The more airtight your home is, the less your air conditioner needs to work!
Add a UV film to your windows. UV film is a thin plastic that sticks to your windows and can block almost all UV rays as well as a high percentage of solar heat. Not only does this film keep your home cooler when the sun is blazing, but it also protects your furniture, carpets, and wood flooring from UV damage.