5 Easy Central Air Tips to Beat the Heat

By Vernon Trollinger, July 2, 2010, Energy Efficiency

It’s July and that means it’s time to really crank up the air conditioning.  If your home has a central air conditioning system, here’s a few tips that will let help it run more efficiently, keep your home comfortable, and save you some money on your Texas electricity bill.

  1. Change or clean your air filter. A clogged air filter will reduce the flow of air circulating through your system.  During the hot summer months, it s a good idea to change or replace the filter once a month (especially if you smoke or have pets).  Typically, its very easy and only takes a few minutes.  If you buy replacement filters, buy a dozen so you have them on hand for the whole year.
  2. Make sure the outside unit is free of debris. The outside part of your air conditioning unit is the heat exchanger.  It contains a compressor and fan that is used to expel heated air from the inside of your house.  Here, again, air flow is key to keeping things cool.  Make sure there is no yard debris or anything else blocking any of the unit’s venting.  Dirt and rotten leaves can be cleaned out with a hose.  Also, if you have a dog, keep it from urinating on the unit because the urine will corrode the cooling coils.
  3. Make sure that black insulation on the chilled gas line is intact. This insulation keeps the refrigerant cool as it enters your house.  The cooler it stays, the more efficient it will work.  If it is missing, buy some pipe insulation and cover this line. To secure it in place, you can use duct tape, however, it will degrade.  Black electrical tape seems to be more weather resistant.
  4. Clean and unblock any vents in the rooms you used. Close the vents in the rooms you don’t use.
  5. Do some light air sealing.

Cool air leaking from the system cuts efficiency.  Fill gaps with silicon caulk.

Use tape or silicon caulk to seal holes in your duct work.  In the first photo, the cooling line from the outside unit enters the shrouding around the inside heat exchanger.  When the system is running, cold air leaks out at this opening.  A little silicon caulk closes this problem.

The next photo shows a gap in the duct work coming off the plenum.

Gaps and holes in your ductwork robs your system.

Again, just a dab of silicon seals it.  The fewer holes you have in your system, the better it will perform.
These few tips just take a few minutes but can add up to big saving off your Texas energy and make your summer much more comfortable.

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