You might not think twice about revving up the air conditioning when it’s warm outside—until you see your electric bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the standard U.S. home’s annual energy expenditures and up to 70% of your utility expenses during the summer. If you’re frustrated by paying too much for air conditioning, practice these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly bills.
- Prioritize routine maintenance: Dirt and debris collect in your air conditioner over time, decreasing efficiency. Schedule annual maintenance to have a technician clean your unit’s coils, replace the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving elements and more. A once-per-year inspection also allows your serviceman to discover and fix any potential issues before they become significant problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of junk: Loose debris and nearby plants growing around your air conditioner can restrict airflow and make the system work harder. Check the unit throughout the summer, pruning back vegetation and removing debris as needed to keep your cooling system working correctly.
- Buy a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat enables you to set automatic temperatures based on your lifestyle. In the summer, program a higher temperature when you’re away from your residence and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you return. This reduces power consumption and saves money without sacrificing comfort.
- Try to avoid overriding programmed settings: While you could bypass the temperature on your programmable thermostat, try turning on a fan or removing a layer of clothes before you change the setting. When you have to change the temperature, do so by just a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature won’t cool your home any more rapidly and only serves to needlessly consume power.
- Utilize the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode circulates air to keep rooms from becoming stuffy, HVAC professionals say that you should be 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.
- Prevent solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, installing exterior awnings and applying window film helps block the sun’s heat to keep your property cooler. These techniques are most useful on south- and west-facing windows where the sun shines right inside.
- Install the outdoor part of your system in the shade: Direct sunlight makes your system to work harder and reduces efficiency. So, if you can, position the condensing unit so it’s out of the direct sunlight in the afternoon.
- Keep your air vents open: It’s a frequent misconception that closing the vents in unused rooms saves energy. However, this throws off the supply and return air equilibrium, making your AC not as efficient. As a rule, keep at least 80% of your registers open at all times and ensure that no vents are hindered by rugs, curtains or furniture.
- Use ceiling fans in conjunction with your air conditioner: Ceiling fans circulate air throughout the room, generating a wind chill effect that makes you feel about 4 degrees cooler. This might allow you to turn up the temperature a few degrees without feeling hot, reducing your dependence on the air conditioner and decreasing your bills.
- Use a dehumidifier: High humidity creates a “cool but clammy” feeling, which is an uncomfortable sensation that may influence you to frequently lower the temperature. In fact, you need less humidity, rather than cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier eliminates unwanted moisture, making your home feel more comfortable for a fraction of the cost of air conditioning.
- Use natural ventilation wisely: When it’s hot and humid outside, keep your windows and doors closed to restrict cool air from leaking out. If you are living in an area with cool summer evenings, open the windows and doors at night to cool off the house naturally, reducing the burden on your air conditioner.
- Seal air leaks: Leaky windows and doors let hot summer air inside 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. Call a professional to seal your ductwork and put an end to this energy waste.
If you still have comfort troubles or extreme energy bills after employing these tips, turn to BW/Cook 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 security, we stand behind 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 Elkhart.