You may very well not think twice about revving up the air conditioning when it’s scorching hot outside—until you see your power bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the typical 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, follow these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly expenditures.
- Prioritize routine upkeep: 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, exchange the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving pieces and more. A yearly inspection also enables your technician to discover and fix any potential issues before they become significant problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of junk: Loose trash and nearby vegetation growing around your air conditioner can reduce airflow and make the system work harder. Examine the unit throughout the summer, clipping back vegetation and sweeping debris as needed to keep your cooling system operating effectively.
- Set up a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat helps you to set automatic temperatures based on your schedule. In the warm months, program a higher temperature when you’re away from your residence and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you return. This decreases electrical consumption and saves money without decreasing comfort.
- Try to avoid 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 have to adjust the temperature, do so by just a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature will not cool your home any faster and only serves to needlessly consume electricity.
- Make use of the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode spreads air to prevent 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, avoiding unwanted electricity waste.
- Prevent solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, putting in 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 directly inside the house.
- Install the outdoor unit in the shade: Direct sunlight can force 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 frequent misconception that closing the vents in unused rooms saves energy. Unfortunately, this throws off the supply and return air equilibrium, making your AC not as efficient. As a rule, keep at least 80% of your registers open at all times and ensure that no vents are hindered by rugs, curtains or furniture.
- Use ceiling fans along 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 may allow you to turn up the temperature a few degrees without feeling hot, dropping 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 frequently lower the temperature. In fact, you need less humidity, not 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 wisely: When it’s hot and humid outside, keep your windows and doors closed to restrict cool air from getting outside. If you reside somewhere 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 give access to hot summer air inside even when closed, making it more challenging and more expensive to keep things cool. Seal leaks with caulk and weatherstripping to keep conditioned air inside of your home where it is supposed to be.
- Seal duct leaks: A standard home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air inside of it to leaks, holes and shoddily connected ducts. Hire a professional to seal your ductwork and put a stop to this energy waste.
If you still have comfort problems or high 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 concerns, provide preventive maintenance, or replace your outdated, poorly performing system with a new, high-efficiency model. For your ease of mind, we stand behind every single thing 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 Livermore.