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The increasing cost of electricity, the effects of carbon dioxide output on the environment, and the wear and tear of constant use make it essential to make your air conditioner more energy-efficient. If you live in a hot climate, your HVAC system is your most essential appliance.

Taking good care of your unit greatly increases its lifespan, saving you money in repairs over the long run. In the meantime, you can take several precautions to lower your monthly energy bill.

Most of what you can do comes down to simple maintenance, cleaning, and knowing the space for which your air conditioning system is designed. Also turning off the air conditioning unit and using the floor and ceiling fans when the temperature is bearable outside can also result in huge savings, according to Electricityrates.com.

Clean Regularly

According to Dallas HVAC, Your HVAC system relies on all the ducts, vents, filters, and other components to be clean to move air efficiently. Change your air filter about once a month or sooner if you notice it getting clogged. A dirty air filter cannot draw enough air to cool a room effectively. Check the outside part of the unit, which is the condenser. It needs to be clean, which includes getting rid of any debris that might be clogging the vents. Use a small vacuum to remove dust from the fan vents. If you try to use a brush, you risk bending them and reducing their effectiveness.

Avoid Overcooling

One of the most common culprits of a high utility bill each month is the AC is set to a lower temperature than necessary. Room temperature at 72 degrees feels nice, but in the middle of summer, when the temperature is 100 outside, it can be challenging to maintain that temperature. Instead, you may need to settle for a few degrees more. You can compensate for the increased AC temperature by using ceiling fans or tower fans. The spinning blades drive air throughout the room and create a slight wind chill. If your house has an open layout, you can position one fan in front of another and create a chain effect.

Turn Off Unused Appliances

Every electrical appliance generates heat as a byproduct. Because this heat has nowhere to go ordinarily, it builds up in the house and makes it hotter. If you can spend less time cooking, do so because stoves add to the heat level. If you’re not using an appliance, turn it off and unplug it. Doing so also shaves a few dollars off your energy bill because otherwise, devices draw phantom power. It may only be a few fractions of an ampere, but it adds up.

Use Shade to Your Advantage

If the sun shines down on your house regularly, it’s going to get hot. And if the air is hot, then the heat has nowhere to go. This holds especially when the sun shines through windows. Consider installing curtains on your windows and keep them closed on hot days. The solid mass of the curtain blocks heat and light from getting in. Alternatively, you could make use of natural shade. If your house has trees in the yard, the trees can provide shade. If not, you can plant some if you have the room and are willing to wait for a few years to see the benefits.

Caulk Doors and Windows

The areas where windows and doors join the walls of your house have to be measured precisely and caulked. Heat and moisture can cause the wood to warp over time. Caulking can dissolve or crack, which causes your home to lose sealing and insulation. Each summer, you should check underneath doors to find out whether there’s a noticeable gap. If there is, you’ll need to have it sealed to make it easier for your air conditioning to work.

Have the Right Size

The industry measures heat in BTUs (British Thermal Units) when indicating the power an air conditioner system has to cool an area. If your AC is struggling to cool a hot area, it may be because it was not designed for such a large space. Conversely, an AC that is too powerful can cool a room too quickly and not take the air’s humidity. To find the size of AC, you need, measure the length of the space and multiply it by the width to get the square footage. Your AC unit should have 20 BTUs square foot.