You might not think twice about cranking up the air conditioning when it’s sweltering outside—until you see your electric bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the standard U.S. home’s annual energy expenditures and up to 70% of your utility spending during the summer. If you’re tired of paying too much for air conditioning, follow these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly bills.
- Prioritize routine maintenance: Dirt and debris collect in your air conditioner over time, lowering efficiency. Schedule annual maintenance to have a specialist clean your unit’s coils, switch out the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving parts and more. An annual inspection also makes it possible for your technician to identify and fix any potential issues before they become severe problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of blockages: Loose debris and nearby trees growing around your air conditioner can restrict airflow and make the system work harder. Examine the unit throughout the summer, trimming back vegetation and removing debris as needed to keep your cooling system functioning effectively.
- Put in a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat enables you to set automatic temperatures based on your lifestyle. In the summertime, program a higher temperature when you’re away from home and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you return. This decreases power consumption and saves money without losing comfort.
- Stay away from overriding programmed settings: While you are able to 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 change the temperature, do so by just 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 moves air to stop 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, avoiding needless energy waste.
- Block solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, installing exterior awnings and applying window film helps block the sun’s heat to keep your home cooler. These techniques are most useful on south- and west-facing windows where the sun shines straight inside.
- Install the outdoor components in the shade: Direct sunlight can force your system to work harder and lowers 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 common misconception that closing the vents in unused rooms helps you to save energy. However, this throws off the supply and return air symmetry, making your AC much less efficient. By and large, keep at least 80% of your registers open all the time and ensure that no vents are hindered by rugs, curtains or furniture.
- Use ceiling fans in tandem with your air conditioner: Ceiling fans circulate 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 uncomfortable, reducing your dependence on the air conditioner and minimizing your bills.
- Use a dehumidifier: High humidity creates a “cool but clammy” feeling, which is an uncomfortable sensation that may force you to repeatedly lower the temperature. Actually, you need less humidity, rather than cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier takes away 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 escaping. If you are living 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 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 needs to be.
- Seal duct leaks: A regular home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air flowing through it to leaks, holes and badly connected ducts. Call a professional to seal your ductwork and put an end to this energy waste.
If you still have comfort troubles or large energy expenses after employing these tips, turn to Orangutan Home Services 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 confidence, 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 Tempe.