Your air conditioner works hard to keep you cool throughout the long, hot Richmond summer. An inefficient system reduces your comfort level while raising your energy bills, and will likely fail prematurely. There are several things you can do this summer to increase A/C efficiency and keep your cooling costs in check. Schedule preventive maintenance If you haven't already had your annual tune-up by a qualified HVAC technician, it's not too late to reap the benefits. Preventive maintenance considerably improves your system efficiency, lowers your cooling costs, extends the life of your air conditioner and helps prevent midsummer breakdowns. Change your air filter A dirty air filter impedes the airflow to your system and makes it work harder to keep you comfortable, resulting in undue wear on your air conditioner. Check your filter every month. When it's too dirty to see through, replace it with a good-quality, pleated filter for the best results. Install a programmable thermostat A programmable thermostat can save you a considerable amount of money on your cooling costs. Program higher thermostat settings while you're at work and asleep to optimize your energy use while maintaining a high level of comfort while you're home. Seal and insulate ducts The typical home loses about 20 percent of its conditioned air through leaky ductwork. Seal loose joints and cracks with metal tape or mastic sealant and insulate ducts in unconditioned areas such as the attic and crawl spaces to save on your energy bill. Seal air leaks Hot air enters your home and cool air escapes through gaps and cracks in doors and windows. Caulk around stationary components of doors and windows and apply weatherstripping around movable parts to increase your system's efficiency and your comfort. Keep your registers free of obstructions Furniture and draperies that block your supply registers can considerably reduce your comfort level, and blocked return ducts can hamper the airflow to your system and decrease its efficiency. For more expert advice about improving your A/C efficiency, please feel free to contact us at Gilman Heating & Cooling, serving the Richmond area with a high level of customer satisfaction.