You may not think twice about turning up the air conditioning when it’s warm outside—until you see your electric bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the standard U.S. home’s annual energy expenses and up to 70% of your utility spending during the summer. If you’re tired of paying too much for air conditioning, practice these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly bills.
- Prioritize routine maintenance: Dirt and debris build up in your air conditioner over time, decreasing efficiency. Plan annual maintenance to have a specialist 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 find and fix any potential issues before they become significant problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of blockages: Loose debris and nearby plants growing around your air conditioner can restrict airflow and make the system work harder. Examine the unit throughout the summer, pruning back vegetation and sweeping debris as needed to keep your cooling system functioning correctly.
- Install a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat allows you to set automatic temperatures based on your schedule. In the summer months, program a higher temperature when you’re away from your house or apartment and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you return. This lowers energy consumption and saves money without losing comfort.
- Try to avoid overriding programmed settings: While you could 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 need to adjust the temperature, do so by merely a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature will not cool your home any more rapidly and only serves to squander power.
- 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, avoiding needless energy waste.
- Block solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, getting exterior 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 directly inside.
- Install the outdoor unit in the shade: Direct sunlight causes your system to work harder and reduces efficiency. So, if possible, position the condensing unit so it’s out of the direct sunlight in the afternoon.
- Keep your air vents open: It’s a frequent misconception that closing the vents in rarely used rooms helps you to save energy. However, this throws off the supply and return air balance, making your AC less efficient. As a rule, keep at least 80% of your registers open all the time and make sure no vents are blocked by rugs, curtains or furniture.
- Use ceiling fans in tandem with your air conditioner: Ceiling fans move air throughout the room, creating 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 hot, dropping your dependence on the air conditioner and decreasing your bills.
- Use a dehumidifier: High humidity creates a “cool but clammy” feeling, which is an uncomfortable sensation that may compel you to frequently lower the temperature. Actually, you need less humidity, rather than cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier eliminates excess 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 getting outside. If you are living in a place 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 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 inside where it belongs.
- Seal duct leaks: A typical home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air inside of it to leaks, holes and poorly connected ducts. Hire a professional to seal your ductwork and stop this energy waste.
If you still have comfort issues or big energy costs after implementing these tips, turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning 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 stand behind 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 Orlando.