You may not think twice about turning up the air conditioning when it’s sweltering outside—until you see your power bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the standard U.S. home’s annual energy bills and up to 70% of your utility costs during the summer. If you’re frustrated by spending too much for air conditioning, follow these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly expenses.
- Prioritize routine service: Dirt and debris collect in your air conditioner over time, decreasing efficiency. Make appointments for annual maintenance to have a professional clean your unit’s coils, exchange the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving elements and more. A once-per-year inspection also enables your tech to discover and fix any potential issues before they become severe problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of blockages: Loose dirt and nearby plants growing around your air conditioner can minimize airflow and make the system work harder. Examine the unit throughout the summer, pruning back vegetation and sweeping debris as needed to keep your cooling system functioning effectively.
- Buy 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 your residence and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you return. This reduces electrical consumption and saves money without sacrificing comfort.
- Stay away from overriding programmed settings: While you are able to 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 need to modify the temperature, do so by only a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature will not cool your home any more rapidly and only serves to squander energy.
- Utilize the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode moves air to stop 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 power waste.
- Block solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, putting in outside awnings and applying window film helps block the sun’s heat to keep your property cooler. These techniques are most useful on south- and west-facing windows where the sun shines directly inside.
- Install the outdoor part of your system 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. The truth is, this throws off the supply and return air symmetry, making your AC much less efficient. Generally speaking, keep at least 80% of your registers open continuously and make sure 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, producing 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 routinely lower the temperature. In reality, you need less humidity, rather than cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier takes away excessive 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 getting outside. If you live somewhere with cool summer evenings, open the windows and doors during the night to cool off the house naturally, reducing the load on your air conditioner.
- Seal air leaks: Leaky windows and doors give access to hot summer air inside even when closed, making it harder 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 typical home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air flowing through it to leaks, holes and poorly connected ducts. Call a professional to seal your ductwork and eliminate this energy waste.
If you still have comfort troubles or large energy bills after trying out these tips, turn to Stark Services for help. We [can|are able to|will]130] diagnose and repair air conditioning problems, provide preventive maintenance, or replace your outdated, poorly performing system with a new, high-efficiency model. For your peace of mind, 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 Fort Worth.