You may not think twice about cranking up the air conditioning when it’s scorching hot outside—until you see your power bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the typical U.S. home’s annual energy expenditures and up to 70% of your utility spending during the summer. If you’re tired of spending too much for air conditioning, practice these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly expenses.
- Prioritize routine upkeep: Dirt and debris build up in your air conditioner over time, lowering efficiency. Schedule annual maintenance to have a professional clean your unit’s coils, switch out the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving parts and more. A yearly inspection also allows your technician to discover and fix any potential issues before they become significant problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of blockages: Loose trash and nearby plants 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 working correctly.
- Buy a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat helps you to set automatic temperatures based on your schedule. In the summer months, program a higher temperature when you’re away from home and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you return. This lowers electrical consumption and saves money without decreasing comfort.
- Try to avoid overriding programmed settings: While you could override the temperature on your programmable thermostat, try turning on a fan or removing a layer of clothes before you change the setting. When you want to modify the temperature, do so by only a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature will never cool your home any more rapidly and only serves to needlessly consume electricity.
- Utilize the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode spreads air to keep 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, preventing unwanted electricity waste.
- Prevent solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, installing exterior awnings and applying window film helps block the sun’s heat to keep your home cooler. These strategies are most useful on south- and west-facing windows where the sun shines straight inside.
- Install the outdoor components 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 common 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. As a rule, keep at least 80% of your registers open all the time and ensure that no vents are blocked by rugs, curtains or furniture.
- Use ceiling fans along with your air conditioner: Ceiling fans move air throughout the room, generating 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 hot, dropping your dependence on the air conditioner and lowering 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, not 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 restrict cool air from getting outside. If you are living in an area with cool summer evenings, open the windows and doors at night to cool off the house naturally, reducing the burden on your air conditioner.
- Seal air leaks: Leaky windows and doors let hot summer air inside even when closed, making it more challenging and more expensive to keep things cool. Seal leaks with caulk and weatherstripping to keep conditioned air inside of your home where it needs to be.
- Seal duct leaks: A regular home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air moving through it to leaks, holes and poorly connected ducts. Reach out to a professional to seal your ductwork and stop this energy waste.
If you still have comfort issues or extreme energy bills after implementing these tips, turn to Norrell 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 new, high-efficiency model. For your confidence, we stand behind every single thing 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 Birmingham.