It’s been reported that air conditioning units could become more common in the UK, with heatwaves and more extreme weather events on the rise. Considering the environmental impact of air conditioning units, if you do have one in your home, it’s vital to make sure that it is running efficiently.
Air conditioners consume huge amounts of energy, and an inefficient AC system has to work harder to maintain cold air in your home, which in turn uses more power – revealed in your energy bills and sadly, via its impact on the planet, too.
To help your AC unit make as environmentally low an impact as possible, here’s 7 IDEAL ways to improve home air conditioning efficiency.
INSULATE YOUR HOME
One of the biggest culprits of an AC working too overtime? A lack of proper insulation. All that effort to cool the air at home, only for you to basically throw it out of the window! It’s not the most sustainable approach, don’t you think?
Indeed, inefficient insulation means your heating and cooling systems have to work that much harder, which also results in increased wear and tear of your unit. The answer is simple; make sure your home – particularly your exterior walls – is properly insulated to maximise your home’s energy efficiency potential.
Another chunk is lost through the roof if it’s not properly insulated, and another portion flies through windows that aren’t double-glazed. Insulation helps ensure an efficient air conditioning unit, and is surprisingly affordable, at just £400 on average for cavity wall insulation for a mid-terraced house or bungalow. Make it a priority today.
Maintaining your air conditioner shouldn’t be a task that you only consider undertaking when there’s an obvious issue. Instead, regular, gentle upkeep ensures longevity from your unit.
Arrange a monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly appointment with a professional to give your AC a quick once over; these are complicated bits of kit and a professional will have a keener eye for any underlying issues.
If you’re DIY kind of a guy or gal, rest assured that you probably don’t need to be a pro to replace the unit’s filters. When it’s time to replace them, you only need to buy filters that match your system and go ahead with the swap. Your unit’s manual will tell you the specifics of the filter’s exact size and model, and the rest is as easy as changing a lightbulb.
Although your home’s AC is tasked with creating a comfortable home environment, ensuring that you have proper ventilation helps boost the unit’s efficiency. If some areas in your home aren’t well-ventilated, it means that your unit will have to work extra hard, costing you in higher energy bills in the long run.
To improve the circulation of the air in your home, regularly open windows and leave doors open, too. Even during the winter, experts recommend that for good air circulation and ventilation, you should open your windows three times a day.
And if you’re going all out, install ceiling fans as well as an extractor fan in the kitchen and bathroom. These fans help increase the airflow of the room by helping to move the hot air on. With an increase in airflow, your home will stay at a more desirable temperature, and hopefully, your need to have the AC on constantly will be lowered. In return, the fans will take the pressure off your AC.
CLOSE CURTAINS AND BLINDS DURING THE DAY
It’s good practice to make a habit of closing blinds and curtains when the sun is shining brightly outside, thus naturally bringing down the temperature in your house without the need for your AC to be on. Doing so also helps save your furniture from fading…talk about killing two birds with one stone! Actually, don’t; we’re trying to be environmentally friendly here.
INSTALL A PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT
Do you ever forget to turn down your thermostat before leaving the house? A simple way to deal with this is by installing a ‘smart’, automated thermostat. Programmable thermostats can be timed to adjust the temperatures as per your requirement, only clicking into life when the temperature drops below – or exceeds – a certain temperature. Doing so helps cut energy bills and is considered by experts to be an environmentally friendly move.
CLEAR THE INDOOR VENTS AND CLEAN AROUND YOUR OUTDOOR UNITS
The vents of your unit play a significant role in its smooth operation, helping the distribution of cool air throughout your home. If not checked, your AC unit may end up getting blocked, or worse, distribute dust and dirt around your house.
Therefore, you must ensure that you keep the ducts and pipes clear. Vacuum the vents regularly to ensure that the air flows freely and to improve effectiveness, schedule the occasional professional clean, too.
The connecting outdoor units require free and clear air circulation, too. If your unit is blocked by external dust or fallen leaves, twigs and debris, it will have to work extra hard to extract warm air. Make it a habit to rake leaves, cut back tall grass and clear weeds and shrubs that may have grown around the unit to best ensure its longevity.
SWITCH TO COOLER LED BULBS
Are you still using the old fashioned incandescent light bulbs in your home? If your answer is yes, then it’s time to switch. Aside from being bad for the environment in themselves, these energy-guzzling bulbs can have an impact on how effective your AC is, too.
Indeed, old incandescent bulbs can trigger your AC to consume more energy; the old-school bulbs are known to produce a significant amount of heat that can mess with your unit’s reading of room temperature. Modern energy efficient bulbs produce less heat and by switching to them, you will put less strain on your HVAC system and improve efficiency.
Should you be keen to consider other ways to make your home run smoothly and efficiently whilst leaving the least environmental impact possible, then check out these 5 IDEAL tips for making your home more energy efficient.