You might not think twice about cranking up the air conditioning when it’s hot outside—until you see your electric bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the standard U.S. home’s annual energy expenses and up to 70% of your utility costs during the summer. If you’re sick of spending too much for air conditioning, try these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly expenditures.
- Prioritize routine service: Dirt and debris build up in your air conditioner over time, lowering efficiency. Schedule annual maintenance to have a specialist clean your unit’s coils, exchange the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving parts and more. A yearly inspection also enables your tech to discover and fix any potential issues before they become major problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of junk: Loose debris and nearby weeds growing around your air conditioner can restrict airflow and make the system work harder. Examine the unit throughout the summer, trimming back vegetation and sweeping debris as needed to keep your cooling system working effectively.
- Install a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat enables you to set automatic temperatures based on your lifestyle. In the summer months, program a higher temperature when you’re away from home and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you get back. This lowers power consumption and saves money without decreasing comfort.
- Try to avoid overriding programmed settings: While you are able to override the temperature on your programmable thermostat, try turning on a fan or taking off a layer of clothes before you change the setting. When you need to change the temperature, do so by merely a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature won’t cool your home any faster and only serves to needlessly consume electricity.
- Utilize the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode circulates air to prevent rooms from becoming stuffy, HVAC professionals recommend using this setting sparingly. “Auto fan” is the more efficient setting because the blower only runs when the rest of the AC does, reducing needless energy waste.
- Stop solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, putting in exterior awnings and applying window film helps block the sun’s heat to keep your home cooler. These techniques are most useful on south- and west-facing windows where the sun shines right inside.
- Install the outdoor components in the shade: Direct sunlight causes your system to work harder and reduces efficiency. So, if feasible, position the condensing unit so it’s out of the direct sunlight in the afternoon.
- Keep your air vents open: It’s a common misconception that closing the vents in rarely used rooms conserves energy. Unfortunately, this throws off the supply and return air symmetry, making your AC less efficient. Generally speaking, keep at least 80% of your registers open all of the time and make certain no vents are blocked by rugs, curtains or furniture.
- Use ceiling fans along with your air conditioner: Ceiling fans move air throughout the room, generating a wind chill effect that makes you feel about 4 degrees cooler. This may allow you to turn up the temperature a few degrees without feeling hot, dropping your dependence on the air conditioner and lowering your bills.
- Use a dehumidifier: High humidity creates a “cool but clammy” feeling, which is an uncomfortable sensation that may influence you to repeatedly lower the temperature. Actually, you need less humidity, instead of cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier eliminates excessive moisture, making your home feel more comfortable for a fraction of the cost of air conditioning.
- Use natural ventilation carefully: When it’s hot and humid outside, keep your windows and doors closed to stop cool air from getting outside. If you reside in a place with cool summer evenings, open the windows and doors during the night to cool off the house naturally, reducing the burden on your air conditioner.
- Seal air leaks: Leaky windows and doors give access to hot summer air indoors even when closed, making it much harder and more expensive to keep things cool. Seal leaks with caulk and weatherstripping to keep conditioned air in the house where it is supposed to be.
- Seal duct leaks: A typical home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air flowing through it to leaks, holes and badly connected ducts. Reach out to a professional to seal your ductwork and eliminate this energy waste.
If you still have comfort issues or high energy bills after trying out these tips, turn to Fras-Air/General Service Experts for help. We [can|are able to|will]130] diagnose and repair air conditioning problems, provide preventive maintenance, or replace your outdated, poorly performing system with a new, high-efficiency model. For your ease of mind, we support everything we do with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! Call a Service Experts office near you today to learn more or request air conditioning services in Hillsborough.