You may not think twice about revving up the air conditioning when it’s warm outside—until you see your electricity bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the average 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, practice these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly bills.
- Prioritize routine upkeep: Dirt and debris accumulate in your air conditioner over time, lowering efficiency. Make appointments for annual maintenance to have a technician clean your unit’s coils, exchange the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving parts and more. A yearly inspection also allows your technician to find and fix any potential issues before they become severe problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of obstructions: Loose dirt and nearby weeds growing around your air conditioner can minimize airflow and make the system work harder. Check the unit throughout the summer, clipping back vegetation and cleaning up debris as needed to keep your cooling system functioning effectively.
- Install a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat enables you to set automatic temperatures based on your routine. 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 come back. This reduces energy consumption and saves money without decreasing comfort.
- Avoid overriding programmed settings: While you are able to 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 have to modify 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 power.
- Make use of the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode spreads air to keep 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 electricity 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 methods are most useful on south- and west-facing windows where the sun shines straight in.
- Install the outdoor part of your system in the shade: Direct sunlight causes 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 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. By and large, keep at least 80% of your registers open at all times and ensure that no vents are blocked by rugs, curtains or furniture.
- Use ceiling fans along 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 may allow you to turn up the temperature a few degrees without feeling hot, 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 force you to repeatedly lower the temperature. In reality, you need less humidity, not cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier eliminates extra 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 getting outside. If you reside in an area 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 of the house 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 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 poorly connected ducts. Hire a professional to seal your ductwork and stop this energy waste.
If you still have comfort problems or high energy costs after implementing these tips, turn to A-PLUS 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 brand-new, high-efficiency model. For your ease 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 Waldorf.