AC Efficiency: Everyday Factors to Watch Out For

The intense heat in Las Vegas, NV, means that your air conditioner, with its essential components such as refrigerant and condenser, runs almost every day of the year. This electronics-heavy appliance requires specific attention, especially considering the filters and insulation which contribute to its efficient functioning. If your cooling system isn’t efficient, as signaled by any leaks or performance drops, you’ll have to deal with sky-high utility bills. Instead of sacrificing your comfort to save money, you could evaluate potential ways you’re decreasing your air conditioner’s efficiency such as careless consumption patterns or lack of shade. Read on to learn more about eight everyday activities that could be lowering your AC’s energy efficiency.

1. Open Windows and Doors

Opening your windows allows fresh outdoor air to circulate in your rooms, adding a natural element to your home. If your home doesn’t have exhaust fans in the kitchen or bathroom, you might open the windows to let steam or cooking odors disperse.

However, opening the windows lets the cooled and dehumidified air leak out of your house. This, in turn, puts more pressure on your air conditioner. It will have to cycle longer and more frequently to make up for the warm air intrusion through any open windows or doors.

If you’re going to open windows or doors in your home, turn off the air conditioner. If you want more ventilation, consumption of electricity could be reduced by using exhaust fans or the fan-only function of your air conditioner as a better choice.

2. Blocked Air Vents

If your air vents are closed, the cooled air produced by your air conditioning system won’t get into your living spaces. The change of temperature won’t register on your thermostat, so the air conditioner will keep cycling.

This also happens if the vents are open but blocked. Piling boxes or positioning furniture in front of the air vents hinders airflow. You won’t feel comfortable because the chilled air won’t be able to circulate. Keep boxes and furniture at least three feet away from the intake and supply vents.

3. Forgetting to Use Exhaust Fans

Cooking generates a lot of heat and steam. When you boil water, sauté, or fry food on the cooktop, this heat and humidity increase your home’s temperature, placing unnecessary burden on your air conditioner’s performance. The thermostat will trigger your AC to cycle more frequently while you cook.

This is also true if you forget to turn on the bathroom fan when showering. The steam from your shower won’t have anywhere to go, so it will spread throughout your Las Vegas home. This decreases your comfort and increases your utility bills.

Always turn on the exhaust fan when cooking, bathing, or showering. It’s a good idea to use exhaust fans when cleaning, too. They’ll remove the cleaning fumes, making it easier for you to breathe.

4. Using Heat-Generating Appliances

On a hot day in Las Vegas, or any other day in the shade-less desert environment, your air conditioner already has enough work to do. Using heat-generating appliances in your home adds to the cooling system’s burden.

When possible, avoid using heat-generating appliances including dishwashers, clothes dryers, ovens, cooktops, or toasters during the daytime. You can run your dishwasher overnight. For clothes drying, use the dryer early in the day, before sunrise if possible.

Instead of using the oven to cook, grill outdoors. Using a slow cooker is another option. If you like to bake, do this early in the day to take advantage of lower electricity rates during off-peak hours.

5. Skipping AC Maintenance

Skipping your annual AC tune-up is a surefire way to decrease its energy efficiency. During a Las Vegas AC tune-up, The Cooling Company technicians inspect and clean your entire cooling system. A dirty air filter, responsible for catching and filtering out harmful particles and contaminants, decreases the air conditioner’s efficiency by as much as 15%. Dirty coils and fan blades, obstructed condensate lines, and dirty air ducts also hurt AC efficiency.

Skipping routine maintenance for your air conditioner also increases the risk of an unexpected malfunction or broken part, leading to possible leaks that can dramatically affect its performance. It’s vital to check the health of all components, including the refrigerant, to ensure a smooth running conditioning system for all your rooms.The last thing you want on a hot Las Vegas day that’s already challenging with scorching temperatures and sun, is an air conditioning unit, your faithful ‘cool’ companion, that doesn’t work. Extra particles of dirt and pollutants in the air can also compound the problem.

We recommend a springtime tune-up of your cooling system. If you overlooked to schedule AC maintenance in the spring, don’t let the problem linger, it’s not too late to do it now. A typical AC system tune-up only takes about one hour for our experienced technicians to perform. Not only does it clean out unwanted dirt but it helps to repair areas of wear and tear so that worn parts can be replaced before they fail.

6. Improperly Located AC Equipment

The place where your AC equipment is located makes a big difference in its efficiency. If you install your thermostat in an area that’s close to heat-generating appliances, or where dirt particles can clog up the system’s air filters, it will cause your air conditioner to cycle more frequently. This will unnecessarily increase your utility bills and cause potential health problems due to pollutants in the air.

Avoid placing your thermostat near a refrigerator, oven, microwave, computer, lamp, or dishwasher. Small appliances, including toasters, coffeemakers, and toaster ovens also generate heat. In addition, thermostats should not be placed on a wall that gets direct sunlight.

An optimal location for a thermostat is on an interior hallway wall. The location of your air conditioner’s outdoor unit also matters. If the unit gets direct sunlight or dirt interference, it won’t do as good of a job releasing heat from your home.

A better place is in an area shaded by foliage or a fence. Make sure any shrubs, tree branches, or landscaping is cut back at least three feet away from the outdoor unit. It needs this amount of clearance for airflow and to limit problems from airborne dirt and debris.

7. Failing to Clean Air Ducts and Registers

Over time, dust and debris build up in your home’s air ducts as do microscopic particles, further polluting the air. As the buildup gets thicker, less of the cooled air will be able to push through the ducts and enter your living spaces. If the cooled air can’t get into your living areas, the thermostat will keep triggering the air conditioner to cycle. This adds stress to the AC system, leading to increased utility bills and repair needs.

It’s a good idea to schedule professional duct cleaning every one to three years. If your household includes furry pets or anyone with allergies or breathing disorders, yearly duct cleaning is a good idea especially considering the presence of air-borne pollutants.

Forgetting to clean the air vent covers or registers also decreases your AC system efficiency. Once each month, remove the vent covers. Clean them with a soapy, soft cloth. Wipe them dry with a microfiber or cotton cloth before replacing them, to ensure dust and pollutants are properly handled and your air conditioning unit remains in prime condition.

8. Leaving Blinds and Curtains Open

One of the best things about living in Las Vegas is the sunny weather. However, letting the sunshine into your home makes your house get hotter. Your air conditioner will have to work under increased temperatures and harder in order to make up for the heat increase caused by direct sunlight.

During the morning, close the shades, blinds, or drapes on the east-facing windows in your home. By mid-morning, close the window coverings on the south side of your home.

Afternoon, close the covers on the west-facing windows. Consider investing in room-darkening curtains, shades, or blinds. They block almost all of the relentless Las Vegas sun.

At night, you might sleep better because they block light from neighboring homes and street lights.

At The Cooling Company, we’re prepared to provide you with quality heating and air conditioning repairs, installations, and tune-ups. Our maintenance plans offer convenience. You can also depend on us for duct replacement services to further optimize your existing air conditioning unit and deal with any potential problems. Contact us at The Cooling Company today for more information or to schedule an appointment.