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Top 5 air conditioner tips

programmable digital thermostat

During the summer months your energy bills are likely to skyrocket, reflecting the drain of having to rely on your air conditioner for cooling. According to Good Housekeeping the average homeowner will spend close to $400 annually on AC costs.

There are ways to avoid paying this much for cool air during the scorching days of summer. Power saving practices and habits can drastically improve your AC's efficiency, saving you money. Even the decision about what AC you get in the first place can save you cash down the road. Following these simple tips will allow you to mitigate that summer energy bill spike and cut down on the cash you pay for cooling.

5. Buy the right size AC

Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes people make when buying an AC unit for their home is to buy the biggest, highest capacity unit they can afford. An oversized unit will certainly cool your home faster but it won't remove the humidity with the same effectiveness as a properly sized air conditioner, leaving your house feeling cold and damp. In addition, a larger AC means more money in cooling costs, so getting the right size also saves you from overpaying. On the other extreme, if you buy a unit that's too small for your house, you'll be paying a big energy bill and get very little cooling for it. Using this chart from the department of energy, you should be able to properly gauge how much cooling capacity you need from your AC so you get the size that's right for your home.

4. Placing the condenser

The condenser unit might not be aesthetically pleasing, but it's important that it is left in an open space instead of being hidden. Placing shrubs and bushes around the unit might hide the big unsightly box from the neighbors and visitors but it also reduces cooling capacity. Optimal ventilation is key to the condenser doing its job efficiently. Also be sure that it's also placed in a shaded area, out of direct sunlight - the less heat that gets to the unit the better.

3. Don't leave the AC on all day

Despite some rumors to the contrary, leaving the AC on all day is not an energy efficient practice. If you want to come home to a cool house after work, the best course of action would be to install a programmable or timed thermostat. Have it come on just before you get home from work so the house is comfortable when you walk in.

2. Don't set the thermostat lower than you need it

Another popular myth is that turning the thermostat down low will make the house cooler much faster than it normally would. The truth is if you're comfortable at 76 degrees but you set the thermostat to 60, it won't get cooler faster. Instead it'll reach 76 at the normal pace then continue going down till it reaches 60 degrees. You'll be paying extra for those 16 degrees you didn't need and, according to the Department of Energy, every degree higher you set your thermostat is 5 percent  of your energy bill saved.

1. Keep up with regular maintenance

Just because your AC is running doesn't mean its functioning as efficiently as it could be. Not performing regular maintenance could result in your system draining your wallet. Remember to clean or change the air filters on the condenser unit every two months. It's also important to clean the condenser and evaporator coils. Make sure the drainage tubes aren't blocked and have a professional perform an annual maintenance check. For these inspections, you can trust the Washington DC, Springfield, Virginia and Silver Spring, Maryland AC maintenance professionals at John C Flood. We'll make sure your AC stays in top condition and keeps saving you money for years to come.