You may very well not think twice about cranking 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 expenses and up to 70% of your utility expenses during the summer. If you’re sick of overpaying for air conditioning, follow 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, reducing efficiency. Make appointments for annual maintenance to have a professional clean your unit’s coils, switch out the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving parts and more. A once-per-year inspection also allows your serviceman to identify and fix any potential issues before they become significant problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of junk: Loose dirt and nearby plants growing around your air conditioner can minimize airflow and make the system work harder. Examine the unit throughout the summer, trimming back vegetation and cleaning up debris as needed to keep your cooling system working properly.
- Set up a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat enables you to set automatic temperatures based on your routine. In the summer months, program a higher temperature when you’re away from your house or apartment and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you return. This reduces energy consumption and saves money without sacrificing comfort.
- Stay away from overriding programmed settings: While you can always manually change 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 need to adjust the temperature, do so by merely a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature won’t cool your home any faster and only serves to needlessly consume energy.
- Make use of the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode spreads air to stop rooms from becoming stuffy, HVAC professionals say that you should be using this setting sparingly. “Auto fan” is the more efficient setting because the blower only runs when the rest of the AC does, avoiding unnecessary electricity waste.
- Stop solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, installing outdoor awnings and applying window film helps block the sun’s heat to keep your residence cooler. These techniques are most useful on south- and west-facing windows where the sun shines straight inside.
- Install the outdoor part of your system in the shade: Direct sunlight can force your system to work harder and lowers 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 conserves energy. The truth is, this throws off the supply and return air symmetry, making your AC less efficient. By and large, keep at least 80% of your registers open continuously and make sure no vents are obstructed by rugs, curtains or furniture.
- Use ceiling fans in tandem 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 could allow you to turn up the temperature a few degrees without feeling unpleasant, dropping 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 influence you to repeatedly lower the temperature. In reality, you need less humidity, not cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier takes away unwanted 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 prevent cool air from leaking out. If you live 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 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 regular home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air flowing through it to leaks, holes and shoddily connected ducts. Call a professional to seal your ductwork and stop this energy waste.
If you still have comfort troubles or large energy bills after employing these tips, turn to Roland J. Down 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 stand behind everything 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 Albany.