Your Ultimate Air Conditioner Guide:
How to Maximize Efficiency, Cut Costs, and Keep it Properly Maintained
To keep your air conditioner working properly It’s important to clean and maintain it regularly. A dirty and neglected AC unit won’t run as efficiently, increasing the energy bill, and possibly cuttings its life short. In this article, we will start with some general efficiency tips when it comes to choosing the right one for your space, how to properly size it, and where it should be placed. Then we will move on to important cleaning tasks you will need to do to keep it running smoothly all season long.
6 Tips For Increasing Your Air Conditioner’s Efficiency:
Tip # 1: Proper Placement
Where you mount your air conditioner within a room has a lot to do with how efficient it will be. If you have a window-mounted unit try to place it in a window that gets good airflow but not a lot of sunlight throughout the day. Direct sunlight shining on an AC unit makes the unit itself warmer, meaning it has to work harder to cool the room.
Tip # 2: User Other Cooling Methods
Using the fan setting on your air conditioner or having a couple of standalone fans around the house will help cool a room without using a lot of energy. Save the AC for hot afternoon weather and switch to the fan setting in the evening as the outside temperatures begin to drop. This will save you a lot of money in the long run.
If you are cooking, the oven and cooktop can create a lot of room heat. Try switching off the AC and use a fan while you cook. This will keep your AC unit from overworking to keep the room cool. It is also wise to avoid using your dryer and oven during the hottest hours of the day.
Tip # 3: Your AC Also Dehumidifies the Room
On humid, hot, summer days some people will try to beat the heat by running an air conditioner and a dehumidifier at the same time. Your AC unit is already a dehumidifier, so save yourself some money on your energy bill and put away your dehumidifier when the air conditioner is on.
Tip # 4: Wall-Mounted Units are More Efficient
While portable and window-mounted AC units work well, they aren’t as efficient as wall-mounted units. This is due to the placement of wall-mounted units in a room. The warm air rises, while cool air drops. Wall-mounted air conditioning cools the room from the top down. Portable and window mount AC units are rarely placed more than a few feet from the floor, making it tougher to completely cool a room.
Tip # 5: Avoid Using Your AC in Cooler Weather
While this may seem obvious, some people just love the frosty feeling of AC even as the summer weather begins to simmer down a bit but be aware that running your air conditioner in temperatures of 65 degrees Fahrenheit or less will slash its efficiency. The refrigerant in your AC unit needs to rise in temperature during its cycle, but cooler outdoor temperatures will make that harder to do. This makes your AC work hard and longer, which will eat up energy.
Tip # 6: Get a Properly Sized Air Conditioner
If the unit you choose doesn’t pack enough punch, it will have a hard time cooling the entire room and will be running constantly. If the unit you choose is too powerful it will cool the room quickly but create short cycle issues. Over time, this stresses out the components of the unit, and sooner or later it will break down.
What Size Air Conditioner do I Need?
To measure how powerful a unit you will need, determine the square footage of the room you want cooled. Measure the length and width of the room and multiply those two numbers to get the square footage. To get a rough estimate of the BTUs, multiply the square footage by 25.
Air Conditioner Cleaning and Maintenance
The cleaning and maintenance of your air conditioner is also another HUGE way to increase its efficiency, we thought it deserved its own section! Keeping up with important maintenance tasks, such as cleaning and/or replacing the air filter, and cleaning the coils, will allow it to perform efficiently, and will reduce the stress placed on the unit due to dirt and debris build-up. A clogged air filter hinders airflow, making your unit work harder, and not to mention, it’s not great for your health.
How Does an Air Conditioner Work?
Air conditioners draw room air through the filter into the evaporator coils where the air gets cooled and then pushes the air back into the room through an exhaust vent. Dirty air filters limit the airflow through the evaporator coil, meaning less cool air getting pushed back out into your home. Most modern air conditioners use a mesh plastic filter in a rigid plastic frame. Older units typically use a foam filter or even a fiber material.
How to Clean or Replace Your Air Conditioner Filter
Cleaning or replacing the filter in your air conditioner is part of its regular maintenance and is crucial for keeping your unit running effectively and efficiently. A dirty air filter forces the unit to work harder than it should, costing you more in electricity and shortening the life of your air conditioner. Whether you have a window unit, a wall mount, or a portable unit, they all use an air filter (or multiple).
Where is the Air Filter Located?
For most wall-mounted and window units you will need to remove the front panel to access the filter. For most portable air conditioners, the filter is typically located on the back of the unit, and a grill or panel will need to be removed. Some portable units may also have a second small filter located on the back of the unit, which should also be checked.
How do I clean my Air Conditioner Filter?
Once you have located the filter, you will need to remove it, inspect it, and clean it with a vacuum or with soapy water, letting it dry before putting it back into the unit. It is very important to refer to your user manual when doing maintenance on your air filter, as each model has different instructions on how to care for your filter. If upon inspection you notice it is damaged or too dirty to clean properly it should be replaced. Keep in mind that eReplacementParts.com sells manufacturer-approved and model-specific replacement filters.
How to Clean Air Conditioner Coils
Now that your air filter is up to date, it’s time to inspect the air conditioner’s coils. The air filter catches most of the dust and dirt from the air as it passes through the unit, however, buildup on the coils will happen over time. This buildup will lower the performance and efficiency of the unit and needs to be properly cleaned.
To inspect the cooling coil, you typically need to remove the front grille and the air filter. This should give you open access to the coil for inspection and cleaning. You can carefully vacuum off the coil, being very careful not to bend or damage it.
You can use a soft-bristle brush, like a new paintbrush (if you don’t have a coil cleaner), to clear away any dust and debris before vacuuming. If you can’t quite reach every part of the coil, we recommend removing the full front panel.
To get full access to the condenser coil you will likely need to remove the AC unit’s outer covering. This will also give access to the unit’s fan, which can build up with dust and debris. Give everything a good vacuum, including the backside of the condenser coil. because this is where you will likely find the biggest buildup of debris. Be careful not to damage the coils or any of the electrical components.
By applying these efficiency tips and maintenance tasks to your air conditioning unit, you are sure to minimize costs and get the most from your AC. If while doing your maintenance inspections you come across a worn or broken part, we sell millions of OEM parts for various models, check us out! If you found this article and videos useful, we cover a wide range of topics over on our YouTube Channel.