Summertime Savings: Two Keys To Reducing Your Cooling Bill

Summer is the time to play, but if your AC unit is burning up a disproportionate amount of your budget, you might have less money available to fund your next great adventure. While the cost of running an AC unit is one of the most expensive bills that a homeowner has to deal with, you can improve the function of your AC system with two simple keys. 

Don't Duck Duct Maintenance

Buried inside your walls, ducts are easy to ignore. In fact, when cooling costs increase, most homeowners will look at their AC unit as the culprit. Did you know that leaky ducts can decrease your AC efficiency by 30%. Thus, you should inspect your ducts from time to time for leaks and make repairs when necessary. If all of your ducts are ensconced inside your walls, you will have to call duct professionals both to inspect and repair your ducts, but if you have exposed ducts, you can take care of it on your own, in this way:

1. Turn your thermostat to "fan."

2. Access your ducts and light a stick of incense.

3. Run the incense along the joints and seams in your ducts. 

4. If you find a place where air escaping from the joint disturbs the incense smoke, you have a leak. 

5. Mark all your leaks with a permanent marker and keep moving. Once you have covered all of your ducts, you can go back and make repairs. 

6. Use a putty knife to spread duct mastic over leaks. Make sure the mastic extends for a couple of inches beyond the leak and put down a a thick layer. 

7. Give the mastic time to dry, then turn your thermostat back to "cool."

Don't Recoil for Coil Maintenance

Your AC unit's condenser coils are located outside your home, typically at ground level. Here they are exposed to dust, yard debris, and garbage. As junk builds up on the coils, it can rob them of their efficiency. In fact, dirty coils can decrease your AC efficiency by up to 37%. To clean your coils, follow these steps:

1. Take off the protective grid that houses the coils.

2, Run a wet/dry vac over the coils to suck up any loose debris.

3. Spray the coils with a coil cleaner. You should be able to find a bottle at a home improvement store. Let the cleaner sit for several minutes to give the solvents in the cleaner time to dissolve the grime on your coils.

4. Scrub your coils with a stiff-bristle brush until clean. 

5. You may choose to rinse your coils with a gentle stream of water from your hose. 

6. Replace the protective grid. 

These two simple maintenance tips can make a huge impact on your AC costs. With a little time and very little money, you can reign in your summer cooling costs and increase your budget for summer fun. If you need further help, contact a local company, like Thermotech Inc.