8 No-Cost Ways to Improve Air Conditioning Efficiency

September 2, 2023


Heating and cooling bills can make up over half of your total utility expenses, according to Department of Energy reports.

That makes using central air conditioning part of the largest energy expense for a typical U.S. home.

With warmer weather just around the corner, we've put together a list of easy, no-cost ways to improve air conditioning efficiency in your home to help you get the most from your system while controlling your expenses.

Bonus Content: Download our "25 Ways to Save on Heating and Cooling" eBook for free as a PDF. Easily download and save it and reference anytime.

The list of tips below is a partial list taken from our e-book "25 Ways to Save on Heating and Cooling." The eBook explains great ideas for improving both heating and cooling efficiency — most are low- or no-cost measures you can take.

In this blog, however, we are highlighting the eight best, no-cost suggestions for air conditioning maintenance. These tips can help keep air conditioning systems healthy as the weather gets warmer and homeowners will begin turning on their units.  

  1. Clean around outdoor condenser unit. Your outdoor unit will work most efficiently if it is clean and clear of debris. Click here to read our article about HVAC performance, which includes a video on how to properly clean your condenser. A more thorough, in-depth cleaning should be performed by a professional. 
  2. Vacuum indoor vents and keep vents unblocked. You can vacuum dust and any debris away from indoor supply vents to help maintain steady airflow from your system. Also, keep items like blinds, furniture and toys away from blocking the vents. 
  3. Increase your thermostat by a few degrees. Typically, adjusting temperatures 5 – 8 degrees (down in winter, up in summer) can help save money and energy. With a programmable thermostat, you can automatically adjust the temperature for different times of the day or during times you are going to be away from home for several hours.
  4. Keep lamps and other heat producing appliances away from your thermostat. Having heat producing appliances near your thermostat will tell it that the air in your home needs to be cooled more, causing the system to run longer and work harder than it may need to.
  5. Keep curtains and blinds closed in the heat of the day. When direct sun hits the windows in your home, keeping your curtains or blinds closed can keep some of the heat from warming the inside of your home.
  6. Clear your drain line. There is a drain by the indoor cooling coil, typically mounted above the
    furnace in the basement. If you flush one cup of chlorine bleach down your air conditioning drain and rinse it with a gallon of water, you can keep your drain clear through the summer. Keeping your
    drain line clear can save your basement from taking on water if the drain becomes blocked.
  7. Avoid using your dryer and oven in the hottest hours of the day. Running your dryer will cause warm air to be drawn into your home and using your oven will add additional warm air to your home, causing your air conditioner to have to work harder.
  8. Insulate any exposed ductwork. Make sure ductwork that runs through an unconditioned space is properly sealed so it doesn’t leak any of your conditioned air. You can fix visual leaks with a specialized duct-sealing tape that is UL 181-rated, but be sure a professional also checks the ductwork during your next scheduled maintenance visit. It’s also recommend that your ductwork be insulated using the proper thickness duct insulating material.

You don't always have to spend a lot of money to maintain the investment you've made in your central air conditioning system.

Understanding the different parts of your HVAC system and keeping it running efficiently will keep your system in top working condition for when you need it most this summer.

We recommend using the helpful tips described above along with regular maintenance to save money and reduce the chance of a problem developing with your system.

The tips above, along with the additional steps outlined in our "25 Ways to Save" ebook can ensure your system is working well and all its parts are in good shape.

Be sure to have your system checked by a professional at least once per year to make sure the equipment, connections and ductwork are all ready to go when the warm weather begins. 

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