Reducing Your Central Air Conditioner's Energy Use

Reducing Your Central Air Conditioner's Energy Use
The following tips can help you reduce the amount of energy used by your central air conditioner. In addition to helping the environment, using less energy will save you money.

Set your thermostat at 78?F or higher. Each degree setting below 78?F will increase your energy consumption by approximately 8%.
Use bath and kitchen fans sparingly when the air conditioner is operating.
Inspect and clean both the indoor and outdoor coils. The indoor coil in your air conditioner acts as a magnet for dust because it is constantly wetted during the cooling season. Dirt build-up on the indoor coil is the single most common cause of poor efficiency. The outdoor coil must also be checked periodically for dirt build-up and cleaned if necessary.
Check the refrigerant charge. The circulating fluid in your air conditioner is a special refrigerant gas that is put in when the system is installed. If the system is overcharged or undercharged with refrigerant, it will not work properly. You may need a service contractor to check the fluid and adjust it appropriately.
Reduce the cooling load by using cost-effective conservation measures. For example, effectively shade east and west windows. When possible, delay heat-generating activities, such as dish washing, until the evening on hot days.
Over most of the cooling season, keep the house closed tight during the day. Don't let in unwanted heat and humidity. If practical, ventilate at night either