You may not think twice about revving up the air conditioning when it’s scorching hot outside—until you see your electricity bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the average U.S. home’s annual energy bills 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 maintenance: Dirt and debris collect in your air conditioner over time, decreasing efficiency. Make appointments for annual maintenance to have a specialist clean your unit’s coils, replace the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving parts and more. A once-per-year inspection also allows your serviceman to find and fix any potential issues before they become major problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of obstructions: Loose debris and nearby vegetation growing around your air conditioner can reduce airflow and make the system work harder. Look at the unit throughout the summer, trimming back vegetation and cleaning up debris as needed to keep your cooling system functioning effectively.
- Put in a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat enables you to set automatic temperatures based on your routine. In the summertime, program a higher temperature when you’re away from home and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you return. This lowers power consumption and saves money without losing comfort.
- Try to avoid overriding programmed settings: While you are able to manually change 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 modify 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 waste energy.
- Make use of the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode spreads 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 needless energy waste.
- Block solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, installing outside awnings and applying window film helps block the sun’s heat to keep your property cooler. These strategies 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 lowers efficiency. So, if feasible, position the condensing unit so it’s shaded in the afternoon.
- Keep your air vents open: It’s a frequent misconception that closing the vents in empty rooms saves energy. Unfortunately, this throws off the supply and return air equilibrium, making your AC not as efficient. By and large, keep at least 80% of your registers open at all times and make sure no vents are blocked by rugs, curtains or furniture.
- Use ceiling fans along with your air conditioner: Ceiling fans distribute air throughout the room, producing 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, dropping your dependence on the air conditioner and lowering your bills.
- Use a dehumidifier: High humidity fosters a “cool but clammy” feeling, which is an uncomfortable sensation that may force you to frequently lower the temperature. Actually, you need less humidity, not cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier takes away extra 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 leaking out. If you reside somewhere with cool summer evenings, open the windows and doors overnight to cool off the house naturally, reducing the strain on your air conditioner.
- Seal air leaks: Leaky windows and doors allow hot summer air inside even when closed, making it more challenging and more expensive to keep things cool. Seal leaks with caulk and weatherstripping to keep conditioned air in the house where it belongs.
- Seal duct leaks: A standard home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air flowing through it to leaks, holes and poorly connected ducts. Call a professional to seal your ductwork and eliminate this energy waste.
If you still have comfort problems or large energy costs after employing these tips, turn to Stevenson 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 brand-new, high-efficiency model. For your ease of mind, 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 Dayton.