Good news: the temperature is rising.
Bad news: your hydro bill is soaring, too.
You want to stay cool this season, but at what cost?
For most Canadians, central air conditioning only accounts for 3% of their overall energy use. But if your wallet is feeling the heat, it could be because you’re driving up costs without knowing it.
These are among the most common, avoidable mistakes we see on air conditioner repair calls that have a big impact on your cooling efficiency.
1. Having A Clogged Filter
The air filter is an essential component of any air conditioner. It catches dust and debris so it doesn’t blow around your home. A dirty filter can lead to poor air flow or freezing up your unit’s evaporator coil and can add 5 to 15 % to your hydro bill.
Solution: Filters should be changed once every 3 months on a central air system, more often if it is running all the time.
2. Not Installing the Right Size System
Air conditioners are sized according to the amount of space they need to cool. An air conditioner that is too big will create inconsistent temperatures throughout your house and cycle on and off frequently. One that is too small will work too hard trying to cool your space trying to keep up with the thermostat and wear out prematurely.
Solution: Consult an HVAC professional to make sure you get the right size for your home.
3. Not Installing your Unit in The Right Location
Choosing a poor location for your air conditioner can hamper the ability of your unit to perform at its best. In the wrong location, it has to work harder to cool your home, sending your hydro bills up.
Solution: Make sure your air conditioning unit is located in a shady spot out of direct sunlight and not blocked by bushes.
4. Opening Windows
Keeping windows open is a good way to undermine your HVAC system’s ability to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. If your aim is to take advantage of a cool breeze, don’t run your A/C unit at the same time. Otherwise, your unit will have to work harder to keep down the humidity.
Solution: Instead of opening the windows, consider running a ceiling fan.
5. Not Making Use of Window Coverings
Keep blinds and shutters closed, and curtains drawn on hot sunny days to block the sun’s rays from heating up your place.
6. Not Using A Thermostat
A programmable thermostat can save you hundreds on your annual A/C bill by adjusting the temperature when you are not at home and when you return. The newest generation of smart thermostats are user-friendly and easy to program.
Solution: Install a programmable or smart thermostat like the iComfort® S30, which features a beautiful 7” HD colour touchscreen.
7. Incorrect Positioning of Thermostat
Most thermostats measure the temperature of its immediate surroundings. Positioning one right beneath the sun’s rays could throw off temperature readings and cause your unit to run unnecessarily.
Solution: Make sure the thermostat is positioned in a central location away from direct sunlight or heat sources. You could also invest in a smart thermostat that uses multiple sensors like the ecobee4.
8. Incorrect Use of Thermostat
A common misconception is that you will cool your home quicker by lowering your thermostat.
In reality, your air conditioner works just as hard to lower the temperature 1 degree as it does for 20 degrees. It just takes a longer. You’ll usually end up with a colder home, and later you’ll have to adjust it again to raise the temperature, forcing your unit to work even harder.
Solution: When you consider that you will cut up to 3% off your energy bill for every degree you raise the temperature, you might want to be patient while your body adapts to the current temperature.
9. Not Running Fans
Installing any type of fan, but particularly ceiling fans, can help move cool air around your home and take the burden off of your air conditioner. You can also use a ceiling fan to help distribute warm air in the winter.
Solution: Look for an energy-star rated ceiling fan and be sure it is turning counterclockwise in the summer.
10. Cooling Unused Space
There’s no need to waste energy cooling parts of your home that are not in use. While we don’t recommend closing the registers in unused rooms, you can reduce the load on your A/C by shutting the doors.
Solution: Close doors to rooms that are not in use.
Has Your Air Conditioner Had a Tune-Up Lately?
Your air conditioner needs regular maintenance to run at its peak energy efficiency and prolong its life. Plus, you can minimize energy consumption up to 30% by having proper adjustments and regular cleaning each year.
Indoor air quality is another concern. If you have a poorly-maintained system, it can become contaminated with bacteria which can lead to health problems as well.
Investing in a Protection Plan when you purchase a new air conditioner will ensure your system gets the attention it needs to run efficiently and safely for its lifetime.