You may very well not think twice about turning up the air conditioning when it’s hot outside—until you see your electric bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the everyday U.S. home’s annual energy costs and up to 70% of your utility costs during the summer. If you’re sick of paying too much for air conditioning, practice these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly expenditures.
- Prioritize routine maintenance: Dirt and debris build up in your air conditioner over time, lowering efficiency. Plan annual maintenance to have a specialist clean your unit’s coils, switch out the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving elements and more. An annual inspection also allows your technician to find and fix any potential issues before they become significant problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of junk: Loose trash and nearby vegetation growing around your air conditioner can reduce airflow and make the system work harder. Look at the unit throughout the summer, pruning back vegetation and sweeping up debris as needed to keep your cooling system functioning properly.
- Set up a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat permits you to set automatic temperatures based on your routine. In the warm months, program a higher temperature when you’re away from your residence and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you get back. This reduces energy consumption and saves money without sacrificing comfort.
- Avoid overriding programmed settings: While you are able to override the temperature on your programmable thermostat, try turning on a fan or shedding a layer of clothes before you change the setting. When you want to change the temperature, do so by just a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature will never cool your home any quicker and only serves to needlessly consume energy.
- Make use of the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode moves air to keep rooms from becoming stuffy, HVAC professionals advocate using this setting sparingly. “Auto fan” is the more efficient setting because the blower only runs when the rest of the AC does, preventing unwanted power waste.
- Prevent solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, putting in outside awnings and applying window film helps block the sun’s heat to keep your residence cooler. These techniques are most useful on south- and west-facing windows where the sun shines directly in.
- Install the outdoor unit in the shade: Direct sunlight causes your system to work harder and decreases efficiency. So if feasible, position the condensing unit so it’s in the shade in the afternoon.
- Keep your air vents open: It’s a common misconception that closing the vents in empty rooms saves energy. The truth is, this throws off the supply and return air balance, making your AC much less efficient. As a rule, keep at least 80% of your registers open at all times 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, producing a wind chill effect that makes you feel about 4 degrees cooler. This might allow you to increase the temperature a few degrees without feeling uncomfortable, dropping your dependence on the air conditioner and decreasing your bills.
- Use a dehumidifier: High humidity causes a “cool but clammy” feeling, which is an uncomfortable sensation that may compel you to routinely lower the temperature. In reality, you need less humidity, not cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier removes excess moisture, making your home feel more comfortable for a fraction of the cost of air conditioning.
- Use natural ventilation sensibly: When it’s hot and humid outside, keep your windows and doors closed to stop cool air from escaping. If you live in somewhere with cool summer evenings, open the windows and doors overnight to cool off the house naturally, reducing the burden on your air conditioner.
- Seal air leaks: Leaky windows and doors allow hot summer air inside even when closed, making it more difficult and more expensive to keep things cool. Seal leaks with caulk and weatherstripping to keep conditioned air inside of your home where it belongs.
- Seal duct leaks: A standard home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air inside of it to leaks, holes and shoddily connected ducts. Reach out to a professional to seal your ductwork and stop this energy waste.
If you still have comfort issues or big energy expenses after employing these tips, turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for help. We can diagnose and repair air conditioning issues, provide preventative maintenance, or replace your outdated, poorly performing system with a newer, high-efficiency model. For your confidence, we support every single thing we do with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! Reach out to a Service Experts office near you today to learn more or request air conditioning services in North America.