How to Reduce Air Conditioner Energy Usage

Perhaps the one downside of summertime is that the electric bill can be quite high. The sun is on the prowl, and so the fans and the air conditioners race to the front lines in a heroic attempt to defend the home. While this is immediately gratifying, looking at your electric bill later can be a shocking sight. However, Milani cares that you are spending the least amount of money possible on your energy consumption, because it’s a win-win for both you and the environment. So, here are three overlooked tips for how to reduce your air conditioner power consumption.

Air conditioner concept. young man sitting in home chair under air conditioning system. summer room cooling and cleaning.  image Premium Vector
Image credit: Freepik

1. Change your air filters

Because there are so many debris particles floating around in the air on a constant basis, you would not believe how quickly your filter starts to get clogged, which means dirt and dust will start getting through into your air conditioner. Moreover, an obstructed filter prohibits proper internal air flow from keeping your AC parts from functioning properly. The longer you wait to change that filter, the more likely it is that your AC will break down due to having to work extra hard to filter and push air out.

What happens when you don’t change your AC filter?

Duct and blower fan debris accumulation

  • Restricted airflow places an undue amount of tension on the entire AC system
  • Debris blocks the motile parts (like the valves and fan motors) of your AC
  • Because the system will be functioning at much higher energy levels than if the filter were unclogged, the AC will be utilizing an excessive amount of power to compensate for the restricted airflow

Moisture buildup leading to mold contamination

  • Even if you have a high efficiency filter installed in your AC system, failing to change the filter habitually can lead to a buildup of mold in the ducts, which can result in extreme infestations
  • Since pollen, germs, and mold can accumulate inside if the filter is clogged, the air that is filtered through the AC internally roughly six times a day will also push out whatever is inside the AC itself, posing serious health risks to the people who are exposed to the air being circulated out of the air conditioning system
Where Is My Ductless Mini-Split? Finding and Cleaning Mini-Split Filters - Service Champions
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With regular filter changing, your AC unit’s average life span should be approximately between fifteen and twenty years. However, neglecting to change your filter regularly can actually cut your AC’s life span short by up to ten years. By changing your AC’s filter monthly when you are using it the most frequently (it is scorching out there, and you need respite, after all), you could actually avoid annoying repair concerns and save around 15% monthly on your utilities bill.

Unsure of when you should change your AC filter? No worries — Milani has your back.

Steps to clean/change your AC filter at home

  1. Locate the filter
    • Make sure your AC is powered off
    • If you are uncertain where your filter is located, ask your service technician during your next maintenance check-up
    • Usually near the return grills by the thermostat
  2. Remove the filter
    • Using a screwdriver, open the latches, and carefully pull the filter out of position
    • A clean permanent filter should be see-through, and a disposable filter should still be white
    • If you notice that there is mold or a foul smell coming from the filter, it is most likely time to change the filter — if at any stage you are uncomfortable or unsure of what to do, feel free to contact the experts at Milani to arrange a filter replacement for you
  3. Vacuum the filter
    • If there is no grime accumulation on the filter, you can use a vacuum to clear up the dust build-up before you wash the filter
  4. Clean the filter
    • In a sink filled with warm water, put in a few drops of dish-washing detergent
    • Wash the filter in the warm, sudsy water
  5. Dry the filter
    • Put the filter out in the sun to dry completely
    • You can also use a hairdryer if you are in a rush!
  6. Fit the filter
    • Make sure the area around the filter is clean before carefully fitting the filter back into position
    • Secure external components of the AC back into place
    • If you notice any abnormalities, call a technician as soon as possible for a servicing

2. Run your AC and fan at the same time

As spring begins to melt into summer, most people start to use a fan to keep cool. However, come summertime officially, it’s time for the fan to step aside for the AC to take the spotlight. That’s what most people do, anyway, and it checks out. Fans get the job done when it’s beginning to feel a little bit stuffy, but they aren’t powerful enough to fully cool a room down when the sun is seeping into every crook and cranny of a space. So, it makes total sense that most people would turn the fan off and the AC on when it is truly sweltering, because it seems to make economical AND logical sense. But what if I told you that it actually makes MORE sense to keep them BOTH on at the same time?

Image credit: Pixabay

What temperature should your AC be set at?

At first glance, running both the AC and fan simultaneously would seem counterproductive, especially because both devices run on energy, which costs money! Be that as it may, the trick is actually to run them both on lower settings, which will save you a lot of money in the long run. The instinct is usually to turn the AC on at full blast when it’s blistering out, but you should actually be maintaining the thermostat at a similar temperature to what it is outside. This means if the temperature outside is 80ºF, your AC should be set at 75-78ºF instead of 70ºF (what you would likely be inclined to set it at). WITH the fan running synchronously, however, the temperature in the space can actually be 4ºF lower, even though your AC is still operating at the same temperature. So, if your AC was set at 75ºF because it’s 80ºF outside, turning the fan on as well can drop the overall temperature inside to 71ºF!

The science behind it

Let’s talk chemistry for a brief second. As heat rises to the top of a space, cold air will sink to the bottom. Even though that crisp, arctic air is being pushed out by your AC vents, that cold air usually settles as opposed to circulating, which means that the cold air is not being dispersed through the space as efficiently as it could be. But with the fan on, the cold air that wasn’t getting to the warmer corners of the room before will circulate to those spots that are more difficult to keep cool and comfortable, thus saving you money AND keeping you cooler. This is especially prevalent if your home has upper floors, because most of the heat inside will be trapped in those rooms upstairs; turning your fan on will evenly distribute all the cold air around your home.

Stagnant air VS circulated air for idealized airflow

3. Schedule consistent AC maintenance visits

It may not make sense now, but regular AC maintenance doesn’t cost you — it actually pays. Not only does consistent servicing pertain to your AC system being able to maintain up to 95% of its original efficiency years down the line, it also means that you will have to spend fewer and far less frequently on repairs. Having a technician come in to inspect your AC unit on a consistent basis will allow them to detect any potential issues that could worsen drastically if not attended to. As you can probably imagine, neglected problems that seem small now can quickly snowball into hefty costs that could have been avoided in the first place. Subsequently, with regular system checks, your equipment will last far longer so that you don’t have to spend on new apparatus! If you are due for a maintenance check, call Milani at 604-888-8888 (phone line available 24/7) for service by one of our expert maintenance technicians.

In general, if you are looking to maximize the cooling power in your home while minimizing costs, a central AC system would be an optimal choice for the summer, especially since Vancouver has been coming down with a bad case of the heat waves. Find out more about the range of energy-efficient and cost-saving air conditioning units Milani offers, and you can go about your summer worry-free. Don’t sweat it.

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