Efficiently Cooling Your Home All Summer Long
Struggling to keep your house cool with tenants cranking up the AC all summer? Don’t break a sweat over warm weather months. Implementing a few strategies to more efficiently cool your property can lower the energy bill for your tenants, increase the lifespan of your system and help everyone get less heated about it.
- Warning Signs for Your AC
- Do It Yourself AC Solutions
- Choosing an Efficient AC System
- Essential Tips for Better AC
Signs Your AC is Not Operating Efficiently
Before diving into how you can more efficiently cool your property, review what an inefficient cooling system looks and sounds like. Here are the most common red flags that indicate your AC is struggling:
Problems include AC blowing warm air, the fan is blowing but not cooling, thermometer won’t cool to the desired temperature. Some issues are solved with simple actions like cleaning your filter, others may require an HVAC technician.
Odd Sounds Coming from your AC Unit
Each sound may indicate a different issue and could include:
- Banging – often a loose part
- Buzzing & Humming – Possible loose parts, dirty filter, debris, electrical issues, refrigerant leaks and more
- Clicking – typically an electrical issue if it’s ongoing
- Whistling – A high pitch squeal or scream may mean a refrigerant leak or elevated pressure in the condenser
Unusually High Energy Bill
When your monthly energy statement skyrockets, the cause may go beyond constant use during hot weather. You may have a dirty filter, a leak in your duct system, low levels of refrigerant or it’s possible you’ve reached the predicted age of an older unit.
Do It Yourself Solutions to Improve AC Efficiency
Where safety becomes a noticeable issue (refrigerant leaks, electrical issues, and similar), be sure to make a call to a professional HVAC specialist. Troubleshooting often begins with Do-It-Yourself efforts. Here are some popular DIY solutions to consider when your air conditioner isn’t behaving properly.
Maintain a Warmer Temperature on Your Thermostat
To keep costs down, The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that you keep your property warmer than normal when you are not home, and to set the thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit when you are home and require cooling.
Keep a Clean Filter
The U.S. Department of Energy also recommends that you replace or clean your filter at least monthly to increase the system’s efficiency and promote better air quality throughout your property. Many filters are reusable and can be cleaned easily with warm water, a mild detergent like dish soap or even baking soda to help with odor. You’ll want to use care since filters can be easily torn.
Tidy Up a Dirty AC Condenser
Debris can build up on the condenser, causing your AC to run without actually cooling. An easy solution is to spray down the condenser — the outdoor portion of your AC — with a hose to clear it up. It may get your air conditioner running — and looking — like new.
Follow Regular AC Maintenance Recommendations
Nearly all manufacturers recommend or even require regular annual maintenance on AC systems to honor their warranties and guarantee the lifespan for the air conditioning unit. Have an HVAC professional inspect your unit and work through a regular checklist each year. Be sure to ask for cleaning and efficiency steps you can take for your specific system.
Choosing The Best AC System to Cool Your Property
Cooling systems are an amenity that will surely set your property apart. When choosing the best cooling system for your rental space, you need to consider many factors, including the local climate, the existing HVAC system, and who will be paying the utility bill.
Traditional Central Air Conditioning
Central AC, the most common systems found in houses, condos, and apartments is typically the best cooling option for rentals with ductwork, especially larger properties with multiple rooms. A central AC can be a split air conditioner, which is divided into separate outdoor and indoor units, or a packaged AC, an all-in-one unit. Both cool your home the same by moving warm indoor air across the evaporator coil, where it is cooled by refrigerant and then circulated throughout your property.
Tenants can benefit from the even cooling of Central AC, without the noise or bulkiness of room or window AC units. Landlords of smaller properties may prefer packaged air conditioners like roof-top units due to their compact design and easy installation.
Heat Pump Systems
Heat pumps also utilize ductwork, but have the benefit of being able to both heat and cool your property. This can make heat pumps more attractive for properties lacking heating systems. There’s not really a significant difference in terms of energy costs, operation, or efficiency between heat pumps and central AC, unless choosing more eco-friendly options like geothermal heat pumps which are rising in popularity.
Ductless Air Conditioning Systems
Ductless AC systems have 3 main components: an outside unit, one or several indoor units and remote controls. Ductless AC, also known as “mini-splits,” transfer cooled air between an outside compressor and one or more wall-mounted units inside your property. They save space, energy and costs by only cooling rooms where the AC unit is installed — an appealing alternative when a central system is too expensive or not practical for a property.
Essential Steps to Increase AC Efficiency
Among the most popular tips for improving the use of your air conditioning systems, definitely consider these solutions:
Invest In A Smart Thermostat
Swap your obsolete thermostat for a smarter one. Smart thermostats monitor and regulate your property’s temperature, and can be controlled remotely from your phone or mobile device—perfect for keeping tabs on your property’s temps from anywhere.
Install A Whole House Fan
A whole house fan moves cool air into your house through the windows, and expels hot air through the attic. A whole house fan functions best when it’s cooler outside than inside (mornings, evenings). Consider this a great addition to a cooling system because of its low cost and energy-efficient design.
Take These Simple Steps to Help Your Cooling System
- Plant trees or shrubs to provide additional shade to your property
- Reflect sunlight by painting your property a lighter color
- Replace traditional incandescent lights with fluorescent bulbs to reduce heat output
- Consider new, energy-efficient appliances that don’t generate as much heat as older models
- Block sunlight and provide more shade with curtains and awnings
- Install ceiling fans for use when it’s not too hot
Efficiency for air conditioning comes down to more than just a solid system. Be sure to put the time and care required to maintain these workhorses, especially with the changing of the seasons. Take simple steps to improve overall performance and call the HVAC professionals when safety becomes an issue or a problem cannot be easily resolved. The more you put into your AC, the cooler you’ll remain all summer long.