An AC unit consists of two basic parts: the evaporator coils and the condenser coils. The evaporator coils are responsible for extracting heat from the air in your home. They accomplish this by forcing freon to vaporize, which absorbs heat from its surrounding as it does so. The super-heated freon then cycles to condenser coils, which cool the vapor back down so that it can start the cycle all over again. If the condenser coils are not working properly, the freon will not cool down like it should and your unit will not be as efficient as it should be. The following two suggestions should help you improve your AC efficiency.
Replace Freon Line Insulation
The freon that leaves your condenser coils should not heat up until it hits your evaporator coils. If it heats up prematurely, it can vaporize sooner than it should and then it won't be able to absorb heat from the air in your house. To prevent this from happening, installers will place a tube of foam insulation around the coolant lines. Over time, this insulation can rot and when it does, it needs to be replaced. You can strip off the old insulation and install a new tube on your own or call a professional to do the repair for you.
Shade Your Coils
The direct onslaught of the sun's UV rays will heat up whatever surface they fall on. As the sun heats up the fins of your condenser coils, they will take longer to cool the the freon running through them, and this will decrease your AC efficiency. Shading your coils can help to keep them cool. Simply building a wall or box around coils is really not the answer. A wall that is too close to your coils will block airflow and further decrease AC efficiency, and walls that are too far away will not shade like they should. Planting a tree, on the other hand, should provide shade without blocking airflow.
A further benefit of a tree is that it will cool the air in your yard through a process known as evapotranspiration. Trees are constantly releasing water vapor into the air through their leaves. This vapor absorbs heat from the air, and then the air thus cooled settles into your yard. A ready supply of relatively cool air helps to cool down the freon flowing through your condenser coils than hot air would.
If you take care of your condenser coils, they'll help you to save money. The steps outlined above are not difficult, nor do they require technical savvy, but they can, nonetheless, help to reduce your cooling costs. If you have any questions about how to better the efficiency of your air conditioning, consider contacting a specialist, such as Nebraska Heating & Air, to discuss your concerns.