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Lowering Your Room Air-Conditioner's Energy Use

  • A little planning before installing your air-conditioner will save you energy and money. The unit should be level when installed, so that the inside drainage system and other mechanisms operate efficiently. If possible, install the unit in a shaded spot on your home's north or east side. Direct sunshine on the unit's outdoor heat exchanger decreases efficiency by as much as 10%. You can plant trees and shrubs to shade the air-conditioner, but do not block the airflow.

  • Don't place lamps or televisions near your air-conditioner's thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air-conditioner to run longer than necessary.

  • Set your air-conditioner's thermostat as high as is comfortably possible in the summer. The less difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be. And don't set your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air-conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, unnecessary expense.

  • Set the fan speed on high, except on very humid days. When humidity is high, set the fan speed on low for more comfort. The low speed on humid days will cool your home better and will remove more moisture from the air because of slower air movement through the cooling equipment. Consider using an interior fan in conjunction with your window air-conditioner to spread the cooled air more effectively through your home without greatly increasing electricity use.

  • Proper maintenance of your air-conditioner will also save energy. Be sure to do the following:

  • At the start of each cooling season, inspect the seal between the air-conditioner and the window frame to ensure it makes contact with the unit's metal case. Moisture can damage this seal, allowing cool air to escape from your house.

  • Check your unit's air filter once a month and replace or clean filters as necessary. Keeping filters clean can lower your air-conditioner's energy consumption by 5% to 15%.

  • Occasionally pass a stiff wire through the unit's drain channels. Clogged drain channels prevent a unit from reducing humidity, and the resulting excess moisture may discolor walls or carpet.

  • In the winter, either cover your room air-conditioner or remove and store it.

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