You may very well not think twice about turning up the air conditioning when it’s scorching hot outside—until you see your electricity bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the average U.S. home’s annual energy expenditures and up to 70% of your utility costs during the summer. If you’re sick of paying too much for air conditioning, follow 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, reducing efficiency. Schedule annual maintenance to have a professional clean your unit’s coils, replace the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving pieces and more. A yearly inspection also makes it possible for your tech to discover and fix any potential issues before they become major problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of junk: Loose trash and nearby plants growing around your air conditioner can minimize airflow and make the system work harder. Check the unit throughout the summer, clipping back vegetation and removing debris as needed to keep your cooling system operating properly.
- Set up a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat helps you to set automatic temperatures based on your routine. In the warm months, program a higher temperature when you’re away from home and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you return. This decreases electrical consumption and saves money without losing comfort.
- Stay away from overriding programmed settings: While you can always manually change the temperature on your programmable thermostat, try turning on a fan or removing a layer of clothes before you change the setting. When you have to adjust the temperature, do so by merely a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature won’t cool your home any faster and only serves to squander electricity.
- Utilize the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode spreads air to keep 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, reducing needless electricity waste.
- Prevent solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, installing outside 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 right inside the house.
- Install the outdoor components in the shade: Direct sunlight causes your system to work harder and reduces efficiency. So, if feasible, position the condensing unit so it’s out of the direct sunlight in the afternoon.
- Keep your air vents open: It’s a common misconception that closing the vents in unused rooms conserves 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 all of the time and make sure no vents are hindered by rugs, curtains or furniture.
- Use ceiling fans in tandem with your air conditioner: Ceiling fans distribute 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 unpleasant, reducing 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 takes away extra 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 prevent cool air from leaking out. If you live in an area with cool summer evenings, open the windows and doors during the night 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 challenging and more expensive to keep things cool. Seal leaks with caulk and weatherstripping to keep conditioned air in the house where it belongs.
- Seal duct leaks: A standard home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air inside of it to leaks, holes and shoddily connected ducts. Call a professional to seal your ductwork and stop this energy waste.
If you still have comfort problems or extreme energy costs after trying out these tips, turn to R & M Climate Control 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 newer, high-efficiency model. For your confidence, we support 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 Knoxville.