1. Set your thermostat. Your thermostat should be set between 74°F and 76°F. Every 1° lower might increase running costs by up to 15%. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall A/C bill will be.
2. Pre-cool your house. In the middle of summer, pre-cool your house the night before. This is very effective if your house has a high thermal mass such as brick or rock. Pre-Cooling will allow your air conditioner to work at its peek during the cool evening, saving power and wear and tear on the unit. This also allows the air conditioner unit to keep on top of the heat load as the daytime temp warms up.
3. Change your air filter. One of the easiest things to do is change your air filter at least once per month. This ensures your family is breathing clean air and that your AC system is not being overworked. This also helps keep your cooling coils from getting clogged by dirt and dust which reduces the efficiency of your unit, saving money on operating and repair costs.
4. Solar Screens. Install Solar Screens on windows that get direct afternoon sunlight. This will reduce the amount of heat in your home letting your a/c rest more frequently.
5. Reduce the amount of usage by heat generating appliances during the daytime such as stoves, ovens, hair dryers, etc.
6. Clean the coils on your outside unit with a water hose regularly. This allows more air to flow across the coils therefore letting your unit operate more efficiently. This will save money on operating and repair costs.
7. Landscaping. Majority of the heat that accumulates inside your home comes directly from the sun shining on the roof or through the windows. Plant leafy trees or other landscaping around the outside of your home to help shade the area. This could boost your air conditioners efficiency by as much as 10% according to the US Department of Energy.
8. It is pretty common for an air conditioner to freeze up. The air conditioner drain line can also freeze, backup and cause a leak. If this happens, immediately turn off your AC by switching your thermostat to fan mode. As the ice begins to melt, make sure you have proper drainage and call a professional.
9. May need to be replaced. If your air conditioner system is old, consider buying an energy efficient model. Qualified air conditioners are about 15% more efficient than standard models.