It's an annual event at my house... the first heat wave of summer hits and after 8 hours of sweltering, I give in and flip on the A/C. I wait to hear that welcome buzz before I say ahhhhh. But 9 times out of 10, I'm swearing instead of celebrating. There's no buzz because the A/C is on strike after a long winter. I call the repair center and am put on a long wait list, along with every other homeowner who wasn't smart enough to beat the rush and get the system serviced before the thermometer started its skyward climb. According to Angie's List, a leading provider of consumer reviews, without regular maintenance, your air conditioner loses about five percent of its original efficiency for each year of operation!
Here are 8 other A/C facts that will help you stay cool and keep your cash in your pocket.
1. Don't place lamps, TV sets, or other heat producing appliances near your thermostat. The thermostat can sense the heat causing the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
2. Avoid landscaping with lots of rock, cement, or asphalt on the south or west sides of your home. If those areas aren't shaded, it will increase the temperature around the house and radiate heat.
3. Place your air conditioner in a shaded space whenever possible. Air in a shaded space is cooler than the surrounding air, meaning the A/C until will have an easier time cooling the air, but keep plants, shrubs, and other landscaping about two to four feet away from your outdoor unit to ensure adequate air flow.
4. Remember that each degree you dial below 78 increases your energy consumption by about 8 percent. If your monthly electric bill is about $100, you'll save $8 a month with EACH degree you can stand above 78.
5. Invest in a programmable thermostat or a timer for your window unit. That way you won't have to remember to adjust the temp when you leave for work each day.
6. Keep the filter clean. Check it once a month. If the filter becomes clogged, your system will have to work harder to supply the same amount of cool air. Dust and allergens are prime clogging culprits.
7. Seal air leaks with caulking and weather-stripping. Add insulation around air conditioning ducts.
8. If your home has ceiling fans, switch your ceiling fan to run counterclockwise in the summer. This will push the cool air down. Running a ceiling fan for half a day costs about $1.50 a month compared to about $25 for an air conditioner.
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Source: Angie's List