You might not think twice about revving up the air conditioning when it’s warm outside—until you see your electricity bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the average U.S. home’s annual energy bills and up to 70% of your utility spending during the summer. If you’re frustrated by spending too much for air conditioning, try these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly bills.
- Prioritize routine service: Dirt and debris collect in your air conditioner over time, decreasing efficiency. Schedule annual maintenance to have a professional clean your unit’s coils, exchange the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving parts and more. A yearly inspection also allows your tech to find and fix any potential issues before they become major problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of blockages: 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, pruning back vegetation and removing debris as needed to keep your cooling system operating correctly.
- Set up a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat helps you to set automatic temperatures based on your routine. In the summertime, program a higher temperature when you’re away from home and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you return. This lowers energy consumption and saves money without sacrificing comfort.
- Stay away from overriding programmed settings: While you could manually change the temperature on your programmable thermostat, try turning on a fan or removing 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 will not 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 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, reducing unnecessary energy waste.
- Block solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, getting outside 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 in.
- Install the outdoor components in the shade: Direct sunlight can force your system to work harder and reduces efficiency. So, if you can, position the condensing unit so it’s out of the direct sunlight in the afternoon.
- Keep your air vents open: It’s a often-held misconception that closing the vents in empty rooms helps you to save energy. However, this throws off the supply and return air balance, making your AC not as efficient. By and large, keep at least 80% of your registers open at all times and make certain 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, generating a wind chill effect that makes you feel about 4 degrees cooler. This may allow you to turn up the temperature a few degrees without feeling hot, reducing your dependence on the air conditioner and minimizing your bills.
- Use a dehumidifier: High humidity causes a “cool but clammy” feeling, which is an uncomfortable sensation that may compel you to frequently lower the temperature. In reality, 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 sensibly: When it’s hot and humid outside, keep your windows and doors closed to restrict cool air from leaking out. If you live somewhere with cool summer evenings, open the windows and doors at night to cool off the house naturally, reducing the burden on your air conditioner.
- Seal air leaks: Leaky windows and doors give access to hot summer air inside even when closed, making it more challenging and more expensive to keep things cool. Seal leaks with caulk and weatherstripping to keep conditioned air inside where it needs to be.
- Seal duct leaks: A typical home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air moving through it to leaks, holes and badly connected ducts. Reach out to a professional to seal your ductwork and put an end to this energy waste.
If you still have comfort issues or large energy costs after trying out these tips, turn to Sunbeam 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 security, we stand behind all the work that 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 Buffalo.