If you look for ways to use your air conditioner more efficiently, you'll often read that you should have your HVAC contractor come to clean the ducts, check for refrigerant leaks, and adjust the fan. Indeed, these practices will help save you money on your AC bills. However, you don't have to rely entirely on your HVAC contractor to improve your AC's efficiency. There are some simple, DIY steps you can take to improve your own AC's efficiency, too.
Clean your air vents
You can't really clean the ducts yourself, but you can clean your vents, and that will make a pretty big difference as it will allow air to flow more freely through them. When the fan does not have to work as hard, you save energy. To clean your vents, simply remove the vent covers. (You usually just need to unscrew two or four screws.) Then, wash the vent covers with soap and water, and let them air dry. Use a vacuum cleaner to clean inside the actual vent. Reach as far down as you can. Screw the vent covers back on, and you're ready to save.
Straighten the fins
Head outside, and take a look at your condenser. Do some of the fins look bent or crooked? This impedes the condenser's ability to suck in air. You can buy a little tool called a fin comb at most hardware stores. You slip it between the fins and just pull it along; it straightens the fins as you go. If you only have a couple of crooked fins, you can probably straighten them with a butter knife or small screwdriver. The straighter you keep your fins, the less energy your air conditioner will use.
Move heat-generating items away from your thermostat
Take a look at what's around your thermostat. Is there a desktop computer that gives off heat? Maybe there's a lamp. Move any heat-generating items far away from your thermostat, and the area around it will stay cooler. The thermostat will then trigger your air conditioner to turn on less often, which will save you energy. While you're at it, turn the thermostat up a degree; that's a really easy way to save.
With the DIY tactics above, you can lower your energy bills during air conditioning season. You can keep your home cool without paying a fortune as long as you're conscious and aware. Contact an HVAC technician for help with your air conditioning.