Avoid These Costly Central Air
By Barbara Pronin
Air conditioning is almost a necessity for homes in very warm climates – but
considering that the cost for running the unit amounts to almost 70 percent of
your summer electric bill, it’s wise to avoid the costly mistakes that can lead
to excessive outlay.
If a new air conditioning unit is in your future, take these tips from
professional installers to help reduce usage and trim costs to a minimum:
- Buy the right size –
An oversized unit will not cool any faster, but will run far less
efficiently. A too-small unit will not properly cool the space. Don’t
guess. Consult with a professional to determine the proper size needed for
- Place it properly –
A unit placed on the southwest side of the house will almost always work
too hard. Install the air conditioner in a shady spot on the east or north
side of the house, where there is less direct sunlight.
- Don’t surround it with plants – Sure, the unit is not pretty, but trying to hide it
behind shrubs or other plants will hinder ventilation, clog condenser
coils, and make the unit run less efficiently.
- Use a programmable thermostat – Despite rumors to the contrary, it cheaper and more
efficient than letting the unit run all day.
- Be careful about closing off unused rooms – Closing the vents and doors of unused rooms can
decrease the efficiency of central air conditioning. Consult an expert
before you do.
- Use ceiling fans wisely – The air conditioner should be used in tandem with
ceiling fans. Make sure the fan Is switched to push air downward
(typically counter-clockwise.) The downward airflow creates a ‘wind chill
effect,’ which makes you feel cooler.
- Don’t ignore maintenance - Clean or replace filters every two months – more
frequently if there is a lot of dust or pet hair in your home. Check and
clean the evaporator coil once a year. Run a stiff wire through the drain
channels regularly – and check the window seals each year to be sure the
cool air is not leaking out.
Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.