You may not think twice about cranking up the air conditioning when it’s scorching hot outside—until you see your energy bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the standard U.S. home’s annual energy expenses and up to 70% of your utility spending 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 expenses.
- Prioritize routine maintenance: Dirt and debris build up in your air conditioner over time, reducing efficiency. Schedule annual maintenance to have a technician clean your unit’s coils, exchange the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving elements and more. A yearly inspection also enables your serviceman to discover and fix any potential issues before they become severe problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of blockages: Loose trash and nearby flowers growing around your air conditioner can minimize airflow and make the system work harder. Examine the unit throughout the summer, trimming back vegetation and cleaning up debris as needed to keep your cooling system functioning effectively.
- 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 your residence and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you get back. This reduces power consumption and saves money without decreasing comfort.
- Avoid overriding programmed settings: While you could bypass the temperature on your programmable thermostat, try turning on a fan or removing a layer of clothes before you change the setting. When you need to change the temperature, do so by merely a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature will not cool your home any quicker and only serves to waste power.
- Use 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, reducing unnecessary electricity waste.
- Stop 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 methods are most useful on south- and west-facing windows where the sun shines directly in.
- Install the outdoor unit in the shade: Direct sunlight causes your system to work harder and lowers efficiency. So, if you can, 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 rarely used rooms helps you to save energy. The truth is, 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 certain no vents are obstructed by rugs, curtains or furniture.
- Use ceiling fans in conjunction with your air conditioner: Ceiling fans move air throughout the room, producing 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 uncomfortable, dropping your dependence on the air conditioner and bringing down your bills.
- Use a dehumidifier: High humidity fosters a “cool but clammy” feeling, which is an uncomfortable sensation that may force you to routinely lower the temperature. Actually, you need less humidity, not cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier eliminates excessive 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 leaking out. If you are living in an area with cool summer evenings, open the windows and doors overnight 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 more challenging and more expensive to keep things cool. Seal leaks with caulk and weatherstripping to keep conditioned air in the house where it should 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. Reach out to a professional to seal your ductwork and put an end to this energy waste.
If you still have comfort problems or extreme energy expenses after implementing these tips, turn to Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air 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 newer, high-efficiency model. For your ease of mind, we stand behind 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 San Antonio.