You may very well not think twice about cranking up the air conditioning when it’s warm outside—until you see your energy bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the average U.S. home’s annual energy expenses and up to 70% of your utility spending during the summer. If you’re frustrated by overpaying for air conditioning, try these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly expenses.
- Prioritize routine maintenance: Dirt and debris build up in your air conditioner over time, lowering 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 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 blockages: Loose trash and nearby trees growing around your air conditioner can restrict airflow and make the system work harder. Examine the unit throughout the summer, clipping back vegetation and cleaning up 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 schedule. In the warm months, program a higher temperature when you’re away from home and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you return. This reduces power consumption and saves money without losing comfort.
- Stay away from overriding programmed settings: While you can always bypass the temperature on your programmable thermostat, try turning on a fan or removing a layer of clothes before you change the setting. When you want to modify the temperature, do so by only a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature will never cool your home any quicker and only serves to needlessly consume power.
- Utilize the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode circulates air to keep rooms from becoming stuffy, HVAC professionals suggest using this setting sparingly. “Auto fan” is the more efficient setting because the blower only runs when the rest of the AC does, reducing needless energy waste.
- Stop solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, installing outside awnings and applying window film helps block the sun’s heat to keep your property 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 shaded in the afternoon.
- Keep your air vents open: It’s a often-held misconception that closing the vents in rarely used rooms conserves energy. Unfortunately, this throws off the supply and return air equilibrium, making your AC much less efficient. As a rule, keep at least 80% of your registers open continuously and make sure no vents are hindered by rugs, curtains or furniture.
- Use ceiling fans in conjunction with your air conditioner: Ceiling fans move 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, dropping your dependence on the air conditioner and bringing down your bills.
- Use a dehumidifier: High humidity fosters a “cool but clammy” feeling, which is an uncomfortable sensation that may influence you to repeatedly lower the temperature. In fact, you need less humidity, rather than 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 restrict cool air from leaking out. If you live in an area with cool summer evenings, open the windows and doors during the night to cool off the house naturally, reducing the load on your air conditioner.
- Seal air leaks: Leaky windows and doors allow 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 in the house where it is supposed to be.
- Seal duct leaks: A typical home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air flowing through it to leaks, holes and shoddily connected ducts. Hire a professional to seal your ductwork and stop this energy waste.
If you still have comfort problems or large energy bills after employing 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 brand-new, high-efficiency model. For your security, we back everything 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 Fort Myers.