Helping your air conditioner run more efficiently

Seven On Your Side
July 16, 2013 6:45:10 PM PDT
Your air conditioner might be your best friend in this brutal heat.

But what do you do when your A/C no longer cools things down enough?

If your unit is using the old freon, get rid of it, the price of the coolant not only skyrocketed by 70 percent, it's inefficient and bad for the environment.

But some older A/C's don't need to be replaced, just given a little help around the house to make them run better.

Help your cold air circulate with a fan if you can, it will make a warm room feel a few degrees cooler..

Your A/C also wont have to work so hard if you close the blinds and dim those hot lights.

Use natural light, especially during the hottest hours of the day.

Even during peak heat, energy experts recommend leaving your thermostat at 76 to 78 degrees for the most efficiency.

"Make sure that plants aren't working its way into it and into the coils," said home energy saving consultant Mike Brown.

He finds most homeowners neglect the air intake unit.

Make sure its clear of any airflow obstruction and take a look inside your outside unit fan.

"When blades are very dirty and have mold on them, two things happen," said Brown. "It slows down the efficiency of that movement, and you start getting that into your home system."

Dirt and mildew can clog an air filter quickly.

Change or clean filters frequently to help air circulate faster and cooler.

"I would suggest if you're in a dirty atmosphere, lots of pets lots of kids running around, you probably should look at every 1 or 2 months," said Brown.

If your A/C conks out in this heat, get at least 3 estimates for repairs.

if you go for a fix, help your air conditioner by feeling and sealing: close the fireplace flue and look for places cold air's leaking out like in the attic, basement and especially around doors and windows.

Here's a big secret that home energy consultant let us in on: Look for spiders.

Where there's a web, there's an airflow leak.

The spiders know that's where dinner is because insects are getting in and out, letting that hot air in and leeching out that expensive cold air.