You might not think twice about turning up the air conditioning when it’s hot outside—until you see your electricity bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the standard 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 maintenance: Dirt and debris collect in your air conditioner over time, decreasing efficiency. Schedule annual maintenance to have a professional clean your unit’s coils, exchange the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving pieces and more. An annual inspection also makes it possible for your serviceman to find and fix any potential issues before they become severe problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of blockages: Loose dirt and nearby vegetation 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 operating correctly.
- Set up a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat enables you to set automatic temperatures based on your schedule. In the summer, program a higher temperature when you’re away from home and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you come back. This decreases electrical consumption and saves money without losing comfort.
- Avoid overriding programmed settings: While you can always manually change the temperature on your programmable thermostat, try turning on a fan or shedding a layer of clothes before you change the setting. When you want to adjust the temperature, do so by just a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature won’t cool your home any faster and only serves to needlessly consume energy.
- Use the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode circulates air to stop 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, reducing unwanted power waste.
- Prevent 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 strategies are most useful on south- and west-facing windows where the sun shines straight inside.
- Install the outdoor unit in the shade: Direct sunlight causes your system to work harder and decreases efficiency. So, if feasible, position the condensing unit so it’s in the shade in the afternoon.
- Keep your air vents open: It’s a often-held misconception that closing the vents in empty rooms helps you to save energy. Unfortunately, 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 at all times and ensure that no vents are obstructed by rugs, curtains or furniture.
- Use ceiling fans in tandem with your air conditioner: Ceiling fans circulate air throughout the room, generating 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 unpleasant, dropping your dependence on the air conditioner and bringing down 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. In reality, you need less humidity, instead of cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier takes away excess 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 escaping. If you live somewhere with cool summer evenings, open the windows and doors overnight to cool off the house naturally, reducing the strain on your air conditioner.
- Seal air leaks: Leaky windows and doors let 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 inside where it is supposed to be.
- Seal duct leaks: A typical home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air inside of it to leaks, holes and badly connected ducts. Hire a professional to seal your ductwork and put an end to this energy waste.
If you still have comfort issues or extreme energy bills after implementing these tips, turn to Stevenson 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 brand-new, high-efficiency model. For your ease of mind, we stand behind everything we do with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! Reach out to a Service Experts office near you today to learn more or request air conditioning services in Columbus.