Heating and cooling account for about 48% of energy use in a typical U.S. home, and while some landlords have their tenants pick up those costs, many landlords pick up a portion of utility costs themselves. And for anyone who manages a large building, a single incident of failed heating or cooling can result in dozens of angry calls from tenants. So even though much of the U.S. is still experiencing winter temperatures, it’s never too early to start thinking about the inevitable heat wave that comes with the spring and summer months. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to maximize the efficiency of your buildings’ air conditioners and keep your property cool (and your tenants happy) all season long. Here are just a few smart tips to optimize your air conditioner’s efficiency.
Turn Up Thermostat During Off Hours
Wear and tear can have a bigger impact on your air conditioner than you might think, especially if you’re running your system constantly. It’s always important to give your unit a break, and some of the best times to do so are during off hours, such as at night. Seven to nine hours of sleep per night are what’s generally recommended, and turning down your system at night helps to conserve energy and improve your system’s lifespan. Similarly, turning up the thermostat before leaving the house for several hours is a no-brainer as well.
Of course, getting your tenants to actually use their programmable thermostats can be a challenge. However, you might be surprised how effective it can be to simply ask tenants to take this simple step. So long as these smart thermostats are installed in each unit, remind your tenants that actually programming programmable thermostats can result in lower energy bills. This way, they can save money and always fall asleep, wake up, and feel comfortable.
There’s a reason why the landscaping industry is set to experience an estimated 5.9% growth annually through 2019. Of course, landscaping projects of all types and sizes can increase home value, but carefully placed shrubs and plants can actually help to make your air conditioner more efficient. If you’re interested in exploring this route, it’s important to make sure the shrubs and plants you choose don’t restrict the condensing unit’s natural airflow. Experts say an air conditioner’s condensing unit needs a clearance of about two feet all the way around for proper airflow. It’s also important to accommodate for growth — just because the shrubs you plant may be small now, they’re likely to grow in size quicker than you might think and end up becoming a bigger problem than you originally had in the first place.
If you’re interested in using landscaping techniques to improve your air conditioner’s efficiency, it’s typically best to consult a professional landscaper and/or HVAC specialist to make sure you take the proper steps.
Consider An Upgrade
A 2017 Unilever study found that 33% of consumers, or one in three, prefer to choose brands that support social or environmental causes. If your building’s air conditioner is more than 10 to 12 years old, it’s definitely not working as efficiently as many of the new energy-efficient models are. Take the time to explore financing options for new air conditioners, as you may find that the money you’ll save on utility expenses can very much help to subsidize the overall cost. Buying a new air conditioning unit is an investment into your property’s worth as well as your tenants’ personal comfort, so the decision should not be taken lightly.
“A brand you can trust is important when selecting an air conditioning system. Choosing a reliable brand that is a leader in comfort and efficiency will ensure you have a system that will best meet your home’s needs,” says Angie’s List.
Ultimately, understanding how to make the most of your air conditioning system is the key to staying cool and comfortable all summer long while preserving energy and maximizing efficiency. Don’t hesitate to reach out to HVAC services for more summertime suggestions for heat management. It’s always better to prepare your property before the summer hits and it’s too late!