You might not think twice about cranking up the air conditioning when it’s scorching hot outside—until you see your electric bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the average U.S. home’s annual energy expenditures and up to 70% of your utility costs during the summer. If you’re sick of overpaying for air conditioning, practice these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly expenses.
- Prioritize routine upkeep: Dirt and debris build up in your air conditioner over time, reducing efficiency. Make appointments for annual maintenance to have a technician clean your unit’s coils, switch out the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving elements and more. A yearly inspection also enables your serviceman to find and fix any potential issues before they become severe problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of blockages: Loose dirt and nearby weeds growing around your air conditioner can minimize airflow and make the system work harder. Examine the unit throughout the summer, trimming back vegetation and sweeping debris as needed to keep your cooling system functioning effectively.
- Buy 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 your house or apartment and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you get back. This lowers power consumption and saves money without decreasing comfort.
- Stay away from overriding programmed settings: While you can always bypass the temperature on your programmable thermostat, try turning on a fan or taking off a layer of clothes before you change the setting. When you have to adjust the temperature, do so by only a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature won’t cool your home any more rapidly and only serves to needlessly consume power.
- Use 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, preventing 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 right inside.
- 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 often-held misconception that closing the vents in unused rooms saves energy. However, 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 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, 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 hot, dropping 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 influence you to routinely lower the temperature. Actually, you need less humidity, instead of cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier removes 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 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 give access to hot summer air inside of the house even when closed, making it much harder 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 typical home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air moving through it to leaks, holes and badly connected ducts. Hire a professional to seal your ductwork and put a stop to this energy waste.
If you still have comfort problems or large energy expenses after employing these tips, turn to Atmostemp 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 new, high-efficiency model. For your peace of mind, we support every single thing we do with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! Reach out to a Service Experts office near you today to learn more or request air conditioning services in Voorhees.