You might not think twice about cranking up the air conditioning when it’s hot outside—until you see your electric bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the typical U.S. home’s annual energy costs and up to 70% of your utility spending during the summer. If you’re tired of overpaying for air conditioning, follow these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly expenditures.
- Prioritize routine maintenance: Dirt and debris accumulate in your air conditioner over time, reducing efficiency. Plan annual maintenance to have a technician clean your unit’s coils, replace the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving elements and more. A yearly inspection also allows your technician to identify and fix any potential issues before they become major problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of obstructions: Loose debris and nearby trees growing around your air conditioner can restrict airflow and make the system work harder. Check the unit throughout the summer, trimming back vegetation and cleaning up debris as needed to keep your cooling system functioning properly.
- Install a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat enables you to set automatic temperatures based on your schedule. In the summer, program a higher temperature when you’re away from home and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you get back. This reduces energy consumption and saves money without sacrificing comfort.
- Avoid overriding programmed settings: While you are able to 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 have to adjust the temperature, do so by just a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature will never cool your home any more rapidly and only serves to waste energy.
- Make use of 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 needless power waste.
- Block solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, installing exterior 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 reduces efficiency. So if possible, 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. The truth is, this throws off the supply and return air balance, making your AC less 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 in tandem with your air conditioner: Ceiling fans circulate air throughout the room, creating 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 uncomfortable, reducing your dependence on the air conditioner and lowering your bills.
- Use a dehumidifier: High humidity causes a “cool but clammy” feeling, which is an uncomfortable sensation that may force you to routinely lower the temperature. In fact, you need less humidity, not cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier eliminates excess 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 somewhere 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 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 belongs.
- Seal duct leaks: A typical 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 put an end to this energy waste.
If you still have comfort problems or high energy bills after trying out these tips, turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for help. We can diagnose and repair air conditioning issues, provide preventative maintenance, or replace your outdated, poorly performing system with a new, high-efficiency model. For your peace of mind, we stand behind every single thing we do with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! Contact a Service Experts office near you today to learn more or request air conditioning services in North America.