You may very well not think twice about cranking up the air conditioning when it’s scorching hot outside—until you see your electricity bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the typical U.S. home’s annual energy expenses and up to 70% of your utility expenses during the summer. If you’re frustrated by paying too much for air conditioning, try these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly expenses.
- Prioritize routine upkeep: Dirt and debris build up in your air conditioner over time, lowering efficiency. Make appointments for annual maintenance to have a technician clean your unit’s coils, switch out the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving pieces and more. An annual inspection also enables your serviceman to find and fix any potential issues before they become major problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of junk: Loose trash and nearby flowers growing around your air conditioner can reduce 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 working properly.
- Set up a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat allows you to set automatic temperatures based on your lifestyle. In the summertime, program a higher temperature when you’re away from your house or apartment and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you return. This reduces power consumption and saves money without sacrificing comfort.
- Avoid overriding programmed settings: While you could bypass 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 want to adjust the temperature, do so by only a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature won’t cool your home any faster and only serves to needlessly consume energy.
- Make use of the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode spreads 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, preventing unwanted electricity waste.
- Stop solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, getting exterior awnings and applying window film helps block the sun’s heat to keep your property cooler. These techniques are most useful on south- and west-facing windows where the sun shines straight inside the house.
- Install the outdoor unit in the shade: Direct sunlight causes your system to work harder and lowers efficiency. So, if you can, position the condensing unit so it’s shaded in the afternoon.
- Keep your air vents open: It’s a common misconception that closing the vents in unused rooms conserves energy. The truth is, 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 all of the time and ensure that no vents are blocked 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 might allow you to turn up the temperature a few degrees without feeling uncomfortable, dropping your dependence on the air conditioner and lowering your bills.
- Use a dehumidifier: High humidity fosters a “cool but clammy” feeling, which is an uncomfortable sensation that may force you to frequently lower the temperature. Actually, you need less humidity, instead of cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier removes unwanted 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 prevent cool air from escaping. If you are living in a place with cool summer evenings, open the windows and doors overnight to cool off the house naturally, reducing the burden on your air conditioner.
- Seal air leaks: Leaky windows and doors allow hot summer air inside even when closed, making it much 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 typical home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air flowing through it to leaks, holes and shoddily connected ducts. Call a professional to seal your ductwork and stop this energy waste.
If you still have comfort problems or large energy bills after trying out these tips, turn to Rolf Griffin Service Experts 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 new, high-efficiency model. For your peace of mind, we back all the work that we do with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! Call a Service Experts office near you today to learn more or request air conditioning services in Fort Wayne.