You may not think twice about turning up the air conditioning when it’s hot outside—until you see your power bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the typical U.S. home’s annual energy bills and up to 70% of your utility expenses during the summer. If you’re tired of paying too much for air conditioning, follow these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly expenditures.
- Prioritize routine maintenance: Dirt and debris collect in your air conditioner over time, lowering efficiency. Plan annual maintenance to have a technician clean your unit’s coils, switch out the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving pieces and more. A yearly inspection also enables your serviceman to find and fix any potential issues before they become significant problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of junk: Loose debris and nearby flowers growing around your air conditioner can restrict airflow and make the system work harder. Look at the unit throughout the summer, pruning back vegetation and sweeping debris as needed to keep your cooling system functioning effectively.
- Put in a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat enables you to set automatic temperatures based on your lifestyle. 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 come back. This decreases energy consumption and saves money without losing comfort.
- Stay away from overriding programmed settings: While you can always 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 want to modify the temperature, do so by merely a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature will never cool your home any faster and only serves to squander power.
- Utilize the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode spreads air to prevent 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, avoiding needless energy 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 methods are most useful on south- and west-facing windows where the sun shines right inside the house.
- Install the outdoor part of your system in the shade: Direct sunlight can force your system to work harder and reduces efficiency. So, if possible, position the condensing unit so it’s shaded in the afternoon.
- Keep your air vents open: It’s a often-held misconception that closing the vents in unused rooms conserves energy. The truth is, this throws off the supply and return air symmetry, making your AC much less efficient. By and large, keep at least 80% of your registers open all the time and make sure no vents are blocked by rugs, curtains or furniture.
- Use ceiling fans along with your air conditioner: Ceiling fans circulate air throughout the room, producing 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, dropping your dependence on the air conditioner and bringing down your bills.
- Use a dehumidifier: High humidity causes a “cool but clammy” feeling, which is an uncomfortable sensation that may force 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 sensibly: When it’s hot and humid outside, keep your windows and doors closed to stop cool air from escaping. If you live in an area with cool summer evenings, open the windows and doors overnight 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 much harder and more expensive to keep things cool. Seal leaks with caulk and weatherstripping to keep conditioned air inside where it needs 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 stop this energy waste.
If you still have comfort issues or big energy costs after trying out these tips, turn to Jack Nelson Service Experts 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 brand-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 Tulsa.