You might not think twice about turning 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 bills and up to 70% of your utility costs during the summer. If you’re sick of overpaying for air conditioning, try these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly bills.
- Prioritize routine service: Dirt and debris build up in your air conditioner over time, decreasing efficiency. Make appointments for annual maintenance to have a professional clean your unit’s coils, replace the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving elements and more. An annual inspection also makes it possible for 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 plants growing around your air conditioner can minimize airflow and make the system work harder. Examine the unit throughout the summer, clipping back vegetation and cleaning up debris as needed to keep your cooling system functioning effectively.
- Install a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat allows you to set automatic temperatures based on your routine. In the summer, program a higher temperature when you’re away from home and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you come back. This reduces electrical consumption and saves money without sacrificing comfort.
- Avoid overriding programmed settings: While you are able to 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 need to adjust the temperature, do so by only a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature won’t cool your home any faster and only serves to waste power.
- Use the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode spreads air to stop 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.
- Prevent solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, installing exterior 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 part of your system 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 unused rooms helps you to save energy. However, this throws off the supply and return air balance, making your AC not as efficient. By and large, keep at least 80% of your registers open all the time and make sure no vents are blocked by rugs, curtains or furniture.
- Use ceiling fans in tandem with your air conditioner: Ceiling fans distribute 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 unpleasant, reducing your dependence on the air conditioner and minimizing your bills.
- Use a dehumidifier: High humidity fosters a “cool but clammy” feeling, which is an uncomfortable sensation that may influence you to routinely lower the temperature. Actually, you need less humidity, rather than cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier removes unwanted 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 getting outside. 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 load 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 inside where it is supposed to be.
- Seal duct leaks: A regular 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 eliminate this energy waste.
If you still have comfort issues or high energy bills after implementing these tips, turn to Comfortech 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 security, we back 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 Jackson.