You may not think twice about turning up the air conditioning when it’s warm outside—until you see your electricity bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the typical U.S. home’s annual energy bills and up to 70% of your utility spending during the summer. If you’re sick of overpaying for air conditioning, try these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly bills.
- Prioritize routine service: Dirt and debris accumulate in your air conditioner over time, reducing efficiency. Make appointments for annual maintenance to have a specialist clean your unit’s coils, replace the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving pieces and more. A once-per-year inspection also allows your tech to identify and fix any potential issues before they become severe problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of junk: Loose dirt and nearby trees growing around your air conditioner can restrict airflow and make the system work harder. Look at the unit throughout the summer, trimming back vegetation and sweeping debris as needed to keep your cooling system functioning correctly.
- Set up a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat helps you to set automatic temperatures based on your routine. In the summer, program a higher temperature when you’re away from your residence and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you return. This reduces electrical consumption and saves money without losing 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 need to change 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 squander energy.
- Make use of the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode moves air to stop 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, preventing needless electricity waste.
- Stop solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, getting outside 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 unit in the shade: Direct sunlight makes your system to work harder and reduces efficiency. So, if feasible, 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 unused rooms helps you to save energy. Unfortunately, this throws off the supply and return air balance, making your AC not as efficient. Generally speaking, keep at least 80% of your registers open all the time and make certain no vents are blocked by rugs, curtains or furniture.
- Use ceiling fans in tandem with your air conditioner: Ceiling fans circulate air throughout the room, creating 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 minimizing 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, instead of 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 getting outside. If you are living somewhere 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 give access to hot summer air inside even when closed, making it more difficult 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 poorly connected ducts. Hire a professional to seal your ductwork and eliminate this energy waste.
If you still have comfort problems or large energy expenses after implementing these tips, turn to McElroy 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! Call a Service Experts office near you today to learn more or request air conditioning services in Grand Island.