You may not think twice about turning up the air conditioning when it’s scorching hot outside—until you see your electric 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 overpaying 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. Make appointments for annual maintenance to have a professional clean your unit’s coils, replace the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving parts and more. A once-per-year inspection also enables your serviceman to identify and fix any potential issues before they become severe problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of blockages: Loose debris and nearby vegetation growing around your air conditioner can reduce airflow and make the system work harder. Check the unit throughout the summer, trimming back vegetation and sweeping debris as needed to keep your cooling system working effectively.
- Put in a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat enables you to set automatic temperatures based on your routine. In the summer, program a higher temperature when you’re away from your residence and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you come back. This decreases energy consumption and saves money without sacrificing comfort.
- Try to avoid overriding programmed settings: While you are able to bypass 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 merely a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature won’t cool your home any more rapidly and only serves to needlessly consume electricity.
- Utilize the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode circulates 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 unnecessary electricity waste.
- Prevent solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, installing 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 directly inside the house.
- Install the outdoor components in the shade: Direct sunlight makes your system to work harder and decreases efficiency. So, if feasible, position the condensing unit so it’s out of the direct sunlight 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. Generally speaking, keep at least 80% of your registers open continuously and make sure no vents are blocked by rugs, curtains or furniture.
- Use ceiling fans in conjunction 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 could allow you to turn up the temperature a few degrees without feeling uncomfortable, reducing your dependence on the air conditioner and lowering your bills.
- Use a dehumidifier: High humidity causes a “cool but clammy” feeling, which is an uncomfortable sensation that may influence you to frequently lower the temperature. In reality, 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 carefully: When it’s hot and humid outside, keep your windows and doors closed to restrict cool air from escaping. If you reside in a place 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 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 should 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. Call a professional to seal your ductwork and eliminate this energy waste.
If you still have comfort troubles or big energy bills after trying out these tips, turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning 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 back everything we do with a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee! Get in touch with a Service Experts office near you today to learn more or request air conditioning services in Memphis.