A ducted or central air conditioner is a must-have for many areas, but it can be expensive to run it day and night during the warmest of summer weather. However, many homeowners overlook simple tips for reducing the load on their air conditioner and in turn, actually wind up wasting energy and power overall. Note a few top tips for saving energy and, in turn, saving money when you run your home's central air conditioner.

1. Upgrade to a larger unit

This might seem like an oxymoron, that you would need to get a larger unit to save money on your air conditioning use, but a larger unit will be better able to cool your home quickly. With a smaller unit, it may use less electricity every time it comes on, but you may need to run it longer so it cools the space properly. In turn, you're using more power overall. Check the recommended BTUs for your home and ensure you're figuring in anything that might make it hotter than average, such as poor insulation, lots of cooking, being in direct sunlight, and the like, and upgrade as needed.

2. Maintenance

The harder the unit works, the more power it will use. Maintaining your air conditioner by oiling the bearings, cleaning the condenser and evaporator coils, and checking the tension of the fan belts every year will allow it to run optimally. Be sure that you also have the refrigerant levels and pressure checked, and that you clean the drain lines so that no condensation builds up in the unit.

3. Dehumidify

Your home's temperature may be cool but it may feel sticky and uncomfortable simply because it's so humid inside. Your air conditioner should work to remove this humidity along with the hot air in your home, but if it's undersized or even oversized, this might not be happening. An oversized unit will cool your home too quickly to remove humidity. It might be good to invest in a strong dehumidifier for your home and especially in a room like the kitchen or bathroom if humidity tends to get trapped there and make your space feel hot and uncomfortable.

4. Check your thermostat

Your thermostat tells the air conditioner when to kick on, according to the temperature of the room. If your thermostat is very old, it may not read the room temperature properly and the air conditioner may run too long. It may also cause the unit to cycle on and off more than it should, putting excess wear and tear on the unit overall. Have your thermostat upgraded every few years so you know it's functioning as it should and won't add to the load of your air conditioner.

For more information, talk to a ducted air conditioning professional.