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 standard U.S. home’s annual energy bills and up to 70% of your utility spending during the summer. If you’re frustrated by paying too much for air conditioning, practice these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly expenses.
- Prioritize routine service: Dirt and debris build up in your air conditioner over time, reducing efficiency. Schedule annual maintenance to have a specialist clean your unit’s coils, switch out the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving elements and more. An annual inspection also allows your serviceman to find and fix any potential issues before they become major problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of obstructions: Loose debris and nearby weeds growing around your air conditioner can minimize airflow and make the system work harder. Check the unit throughout the summer, trimming back vegetation and removing debris as needed to keep your cooling system working correctly.
- Install a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat enables you to set automatic temperatures based on your schedule. In the summer months, program a higher temperature when you’re away from your house or apartment and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you get back. This decreases electrical consumption and saves money without sacrificing comfort.
- Avoid overriding programmed settings: While you could 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 have to change the temperature, do so by only a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature will not cool your home any faster and only serves to waste electricity.
- Utilize the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode moves 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, preventing unwanted electricity waste.
- Block solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, putting in outdoor 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 in.
- Install the outdoor unit in the shade: Direct sunlight can force 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 unused rooms saves energy. However, this throws off the supply and return air symmetry, making your AC less efficient. By and large, 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 conjunction with your air conditioner: Ceiling fans distribute air throughout the room, creating 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 decreasing your bills.
- Use a dehumidifier: High humidity fosters a “cool but clammy” feeling, which is an uncomfortable sensation that may influence you to routinely lower the temperature. In fact, you need less humidity, rather than cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier eliminates 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 stop cool air from getting outside. If you reside 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 allow hot summer air indoors 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 is supposed to be.
- Seal duct leaks: A regular home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air flowing through 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 troubles or large energy expenses after employing these tips, turn to Chief/Bauer 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 security, we support 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 Champaign.