You may not think twice about revving up the air conditioning when it’s sweltering outside—until you see your energy bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the standard U.S. home’s annual energy expenses and up to 70% of your utility spending during the summer. If you’re tired of paying too much for air conditioning, practice these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly expenses.
- Prioritize routine upkeep: Dirt and debris collect in your air conditioner over time, reducing efficiency. Make appointments for annual maintenance to have a specialist clean your unit’s coils, exchange the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving pieces and more. An annual inspection also enables your technician to identify 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 reduce airflow and make the system work harder. Look at the unit throughout the summer, clipping back vegetation and removing debris as needed to keep your cooling system operating properly.
- Put in a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat enables you to set automatic temperatures based on your lifestyle. In the warm months, program a higher temperature when you’re away from your residence and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you come back. This lowers power consumption and saves money without sacrificing comfort.
- Stay away from overriding programmed settings: While you could manually change 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 have to change the temperature, do so by merely a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature will never cool your home any faster and only serves to squander power.
- 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, avoiding unnecessary energy waste.
- Stop solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, getting outside awnings and applying window film helps block the sun’s heat to keep your residence cooler. These methods are most useful on south- and west-facing windows where the sun shines right inside the house.
- Install the outdoor unit in the shade: Direct sunlight causes your system to work harder and reduces efficiency. So, if possible, 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 helps you to save energy. However, this throws off the supply and return air equilibrium, making your AC much less efficient. By and large, keep at least 80% of your registers open all the time and ensure that no vents are blocked by rugs, curtains or furniture.
- Use ceiling fans in conjunction with your air conditioner: Ceiling fans distribute air throughout the room, creating 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 unpleasant, dropping 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 compel you to repeatedly lower the temperature. Actually, you need less humidity, not cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier takes away 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 prevent cool air from escaping. If you live 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 indoors even when closed, making it 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 standard home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air inside of it to leaks, holes and poorly connected ducts. Reach out to a professional to seal your ductwork and put an end to this energy waste.
If you still have comfort problems or high energy costs after implementing these tips, turn to Teays Valley 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 newer, high-efficiency model. For your peace of mind, we stand behind all the work that we do with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! Get in touch with a Service Experts office near you today to learn more or request air conditioning services in Hurricane.