You may not think twice about turning up the air conditioning when it’s sweltering outside—until you see your power bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the average U.S. home’s annual energy expenses and up to 70% of your utility expenses during the summer. If you’re frustrated by paying too much for air conditioning, follow these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly expenses.
- Prioritize routine service: Dirt and debris collect in your air conditioner over time, reducing efficiency. Schedule annual maintenance to have a technician clean your unit’s coils, replace the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving parts and more. A yearly inspection also allows your serviceman to find and fix any potential issues before they become significant problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of obstructions: Loose trash and nearby flowers growing around your air conditioner can restrict airflow and make the system work harder. Examine the unit throughout the summer, pruning back vegetation and cleaning up debris as needed to keep your cooling system operating correctly.
- Buy 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 your house or apartment and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you come back. This lowers power consumption and saves money without decreasing 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 have to change the temperature, do so by just a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature will never cool your home any faster and only serves to waste electricity.
- Utilize the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode moves air to keep rooms from becoming stuffy, HVAC professionals suggest using this setting sparingly. “Auto fan” is the more efficient setting because the blower only runs when the rest of the AC does, avoiding unwanted power waste.
- Prevent solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, putting in outdoor awnings and applying window film helps block the sun’s heat to keep your home cooler. These methods are most useful on south- and west-facing windows where the sun shines directly inside.
- Install the outdoor unit in the shade: Direct sunlight makes your system to work harder and lowers efficiency. So, if you can, 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 conserves energy. Unfortunately, this throws off the supply and return air balance, making your AC not as efficient. Generally speaking, keep at least 80% of your registers open all of the time and make sure no vents are obstructed by rugs, curtains or furniture.
- Use ceiling fans in tandem with your air conditioner: Ceiling fans circulate air throughout the room, producing a wind chill effect that makes you feel about 4 degrees cooler. This could allow you to turn up the temperature a few degrees without feeling uncomfortable, lowering 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, instead of cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier removes extra 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 getting outside. If you reside in an area 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 of the house 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 flowing through it to leaks, holes and poorly connected ducts. Hire a professional to seal your ductwork and eliminate this energy waste.
If you still have comfort issues or extreme energy expenses after trying out these tips, turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for help. We [can|are able to|will]130] diagnose and repair air conditioning issues, provide preventive maintenance, or replace your outdated, poorly performing system with a new, high-efficiency model. For your ease of mind, we back every single thing 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 Longmont.