Summer heat and humidity require high-cost, energy-draining air conditioning. Small business owners can reduce energy costs and prevent system failures by performing simple seasonal maintenance on their own, and having a qualified technician service the system yearly.
What you can do by yourself
Here are easy things small business owners can do on their own to save money on air conditioning:
- Before the thermostat is turned to cooling mode, make sure the system is powered up for at least 8 hours to protect the compressor.
- Make sure the area around the unit is free of debris.
- Replace filters every three months. Clean filters reduce fan pressure, requiring less energy.
- Leave the thermostat’s fan switch on “auto,” so the fan runs only when the compressor runs.
- Use a programmable thermostat set seven to 10 degrees higher during off-hours to save about 10% in cooling costs a year.
- Draw shades to minimize the amount of hot sunlight entering the room.
- Use zone thermostats to shut off ducts to areas that aren’t being used.
- Use efficient lighting systems that don’t emit excessive heat.
- Ceiling fans can reduce the need for AC, resulting in a potential 15 percent savings.
The value of an annual inspection
An annual inspection by a licensed technician can further reduce your risk of lost business, repair and energy costs. A technician will:
- Check electrical connections for looseness, and signs of moisture, damage or corrosion.
- Recommend a power protection device to protect the unit from brownouts, power surges or lightning.
- Check lubricating oil in the compressor’s crankcase heater.
- Check that the condenser is clean and surrounding area is free of vegetation, trash and stored materials. A dirty unit can increase power consumption by 10%.
- Keep surfaces of the cooling coils clean with filters.
- Check for proper refrigerant levels.
© 2015 The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company. All rights reserved. This article is intended for information purposes only. All recommendations are general guidelines and are not intended to be exhaustive or complete, nor are they designed to replace information or instructions from the manufacturer of your equipment. Contact your equipment service representative or manufacturer with specific questions.