As rising summer temperatures begin to make their way across the country, it is time to consider the efficiency of your home’s cooling system. The cooling efficiency of your system is crucial to your family’s comfort this time of year. However, it also affects how much you will spend on utilities this summer.
Factors That Affect Cooling Efficiency
In order to get the most out of your cooling system and keep your summer utility bills under control, it is important to understand the factors affecting your system’s efficiency. Here are just a few things that could have long-reaching effects on cooling efficiency, comfort, and your summer cooling budget.
Setting Your Thermostat
One of the biggest factors in your cooling system’s efficiency is how you set your thermostat. Thankfully, this factor is also the easiest to control.
The closer you set your thermostat to the temperature outdoors, the less stress you put on your cooling system, and the more money you will save on your bill. This may not be practical when the temperatures peak mid-summer. To stay cool during blistering heat waves, find the highest comfortable temperature, and commit to it. Frequently changing the temperature of non-programmable thermostat can make a major impact on your cooling efficiency. If you want to customize temperature settings for different times of day or days of the week, t is best to invest in a programmable thermostat model.
During the hottest weather, experts recommend setting your home’s cooling system at 78 degrees Fahrenheit for those time periods when you and your family are at home. If the house will be empty for more than four hours, consider raising the setting so energy won’t be wasted cooling an unoccupied house.
Check the Airflow
A primary factor in cooling efficiency is airflow. If your system isn’t getting the proper airflow, it will have to work harder to keep the inside of your home comfortably cool.
Check to make sure there is proper clearance around your home’s external unit. Also, make sure the system is clear of debris and your ductwork is clean. Regular filter changes are also necessary to maintain airflow and keep your system operating at peak efficiency.
Too much airflow can also affect your system’s efficiency. Make sure to seal leaky doors and windows. Winter drafts are uncomfortable, but during the summer heat, they can force your cooling system to work overtime.
Also, be sure to keep all exterior doors and windows shut once you turn on that air conditioner.
Just like your vehicle, your cooling system needs regular maintenance. Schedule a check-up at least once a year with a local HVAC professional. A qualified technician will check for potential problems and make sure your system is up to the task of cooling your home.
The ideal time to schedule maintenance is in the spring before the heat of summer rolls in. The last thing you want is to have your system break down during the sweltering summer heat waves.
Consider an Upgrade
If your cooling bills remain high even after addressing these potential efficiency issues, it may be time to upgrade to a more modern and energy efficient system. Most cooling systems have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years.
If your system is nearing its 12 birthday, especially if you find it needs frequent repairs, it is a good idea to contact your local HVAC professional to discuss the benefits of upgrading your unit. He or she will help you weigh your options and make an informed decision about the cooling efficiency of your current unit, as well as what benefits a new model will provide.
When deciding whether to purchase a new system, you will need to check the Seasonal Energy-Efficiency Ratio, or SEER rating. In general, the rating should be at least 14.5. The higher the SEER, the more energy-efficient the cooling unit is.
Keeping your cool when you have a cooling efficiency problem can be hard, both literally and figuratively. However, if you address the factors listed above, you should stay cool all summer
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your cooling system and its energy efficiency, be sure to contact a qualified cooling expert in your area.