You may not think twice about revving up the air conditioning when it’s sweltering 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 expenses during the summer. If you’re sick of paying too much for air conditioning, follow these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly bills.
- Prioritize routine upkeep: Dirt and debris collect in your air conditioner over time, reducing efficiency. Plan annual maintenance to have a technician clean your unit’s coils, exchange the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving pieces and more. A yearly inspection also enables your tech to find and fix any potential issues before they become severe problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of obstructions: Loose trash and nearby plants growing around your air conditioner can restrict 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 effectively.
- Buy a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat enables you to set automatic temperatures based on your routine. 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 lowers energy consumption and saves money without sacrificing comfort.
- Try to avoid overriding programmed settings: While you could override 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 just a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature won’t cool your home any quicker and only serves to squander power.
- Utilize the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode moves air to keep 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 needless energy waste.
- Prevent solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, installing outdoor awnings and applying window film helps block the sun’s heat to keep your home cooler. These strategies are most useful on south- and west-facing windows where the sun shines straight in.
- Install the outdoor unit in the shade: Direct sunlight makes your system to work harder and lowers 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 often-held misconception that closing the vents in rarely used rooms helps you to save energy. Unfortunately, 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 continuously and ensure that no vents are hindered by rugs, curtains or furniture.
- Use ceiling fans in conjunction 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 may allow you to turn up the temperature a few degrees without feeling unpleasant, lowering your dependence on the air conditioner and decreasing your bills.
- Use a dehumidifier: High humidity fosters a “cool but clammy” feeling, which is an uncomfortable sensation that may force you to repeatedly lower the temperature. In reality, you need less humidity, not cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier eliminates excessive moisture, making your home feel more comfortable for a fraction of the cost of air conditioning.
- Use natural ventilation carefully: When it’s hot and humid outside, keep your windows and doors closed to stop cool air from getting outside. If you reside in a place with cool summer evenings, open the windows and doors during the night to cool off the house naturally, reducing the strain on your air conditioner.
- Seal air leaks: Leaky windows and doors let hot summer air inside even when closed, making it harder and more expensive to keep things cool. Seal leaks with caulk and weatherstripping to keep conditioned air inside of your home where it should be.
- Seal duct leaks: A typical home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air flowing through it to leaks, holes and poorly connected ducts. Hire a professional to seal your ductwork and put an end to this energy waste.
If you still have comfort troubles or extreme energy expenses after trying out these tips, turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning 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 peace of mind, we back all the work that 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 Roanoke.