You may not think twice about turning up the air conditioning when it’s warm 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 costs 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 expenditures.
- Prioritize routine upkeep: Dirt and debris accumulate in your air conditioner over time, decreasing efficiency. Schedule annual maintenance to have a specialist clean your unit’s coils, switch out the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving pieces and more. An annual inspection also makes it possible for your technician to discover and fix any potential issues before they become severe problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of blockages: Loose trash and nearby flowers growing around your air conditioner can minimize airflow and make the system work harder. Look at the unit throughout the summer, clipping back vegetation and removing debris as needed to keep your cooling system functioning effectively.
- Install a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat enables you to set automatic temperatures based on your routine. In the warm months, program a higher temperature when you’re away from home and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you come back. This reduces energy consumption and saves money without sacrificing comfort.
- Stay away from overriding programmed settings: While you are able to manually change the temperature on your programmable thermostat, try turning on a fan or shedding 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 not cool your home any more rapidly and only serves to needlessly consume energy.
- Utilize the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode moves air to prevent 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.
- Block solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, putting in outdoor awnings and applying window film helps block the sun’s heat to keep your property cooler. These methods are most useful on south- and west-facing windows where the sun shines right in.
- Install the outdoor unit in the shade: Direct sunlight makes your system to work harder and decreases efficiency. So, if you can, 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. The truth is, this throws off the supply and return air symmetry, making your AC less efficient. Generally speaking, keep at least 80% of your registers open all of the time and ensure that no vents are obstructed 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 could allow you to turn up the temperature a few degrees without feeling unpleasant, lowering your dependence on the air conditioner and bringing down your bills.
- Use a dehumidifier: High humidity causes a “cool but clammy” feeling, which is an uncomfortable sensation that may compel you to repeatedly lower the temperature. In fact, you need less humidity, rather than cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier eliminates extra 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 stop cool air from escaping. If you reside 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 allow hot summer air indoors even when closed, making it much harder 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 regular home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air moving through it to leaks, holes and poorly connected ducts. Reach out to a professional to seal your ductwork and put a stop to this energy waste.
If you still have comfort issues or big energy bills after implementing these tips, turn to Becht/Givens Service Experts for help. We [can|are able to|will]130] diagnose and repair air conditioning issues, provide preventive maintenance, or replace your outdated, poorly performing system with a new, high-efficiency model. For your peace of mind, we support everything we do with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! Get in touch with a Service Experts office near you today to learn more or request air conditioning services in Louisville.