You may very well not think twice about revving up the air conditioning when it’s hot outside—until you see your energy bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the standard U.S. home’s annual energy expenditures and up to 70% of your utility costs during the summer. If you’re tired of overpaying for air conditioning, try these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly expenditures.
- Prioritize routine upkeep: Dirt and debris accumulate 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. A yearly inspection also makes it possible for your serviceman to find and fix any potential issues before they become significant problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of junk: Loose dirt and nearby weeds growing around your air conditioner can minimize airflow and make the system work harder. Look at the unit throughout the summer, clipping back vegetation and sweeping 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 warm months, program a higher temperature when you’re away from home and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you come back. This lowers energy consumption and saves money without sacrificing comfort.
- Stay away from overriding programmed settings: While you could override the temperature on your programmable thermostat, try turning on a fan or removing a layer of clothes before you change the setting. When you want 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 squander electricity.
- Use the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode moves air to keep 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, preventing unwanted power waste.
- Stop solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, getting exterior awnings and applying window film helps block the sun’s heat to keep your residence cooler. These strategies are most useful on south- and west-facing windows where the sun shines right inside the house.
- Install the outdoor part of your system in the shade: Direct sunlight can force your system to work harder and decreases efficiency. So, if you can, position the condensing unit so it’s shaded 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 less efficient. As a rule, keep at least 80% of your registers open all of the time and make certain no vents are blocked by rugs, curtains or furniture.
- Use ceiling fans along 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 lowering your bills.
- Use a dehumidifier: High humidity creates a “cool but clammy” feeling, which is an uncomfortable sensation that may force you to frequently lower the temperature. Actually, you need less humidity, instead of 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 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 a place with cool summer evenings, open the windows and doors overnight to cool off the house naturally, reducing the load on your air conditioner.
- Seal air leaks: Leaky windows and doors allow 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 inside where it is supposed to be.
- Seal duct leaks: A regular home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air inside of it to leaks, holes and shoddily connected ducts. Reach out to a professional to seal your ductwork and put a stop to this energy waste.
If you still have comfort troubles or large energy expenses after employing these tips, turn to Strogen's Service Experts for help. We [can|are able to|will]130] diagnose and repair air conditioning concerns, provide preventive maintenance, or replace your outdated, poorly performing system with a newer, high-efficiency model. For your confidence, 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 Rochester.