You might not think twice about revving up the air conditioning when it’s warm outside—until you see your electric bill. Air conditioning accounts for about 12% of the typical U.S. home’s annual energy expenses and up to 70% of your utility spending 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 bills.
- Prioritize routine upkeep: Dirt and debris build up in your air conditioner over time, reducing efficiency. Plan annual maintenance to have a technician clean your unit’s coils, replace the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving parts and more. An annual inspection also enables your technician to identify and fix any potential issues before they become major problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of junk: Loose trash and nearby trees growing around your air conditioner can minimize airflow and make the system work harder. Check the unit throughout the summer, trimming back vegetation and cleaning up debris as needed to keep your cooling system functioning correctly.
- Put in a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat allows 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 reduces energy consumption and saves money without losing comfort.
- Try to avoid overriding programmed settings: While you can always override 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 faster and only serves to needlessly consume energy.
- Utilize the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode circulates air to prevent 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 energy waste.
- Prevent solar heat gain: Closing blinds and curtains, getting outdoor awnings and applying window film helps block the sun’s heat to keep your residence 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 lowers efficiency. So, if feasible, position the condensing unit so it’s shaded in the afternoon.
- Keep your air vents open: It’s a common misconception that closing the vents in empty rooms saves energy. Unfortunately, this throws off the supply and return air symmetry, making your AC not as efficient. As a rule, keep at least 80% of your registers open at all times and ensure that 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, generating 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 hot, lowering your dependence on the air conditioner and minimizing your bills.
- Use a dehumidifier: High humidity causes a “cool but clammy” feeling, which is an uncomfortable sensation that may compel you to routinely lower the temperature. Actually, you need less humidity, instead of cooler air. Running a whole-house dehumidifier removes excess 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 stop cool air from escaping. If you are living somewhere with cool summer evenings, open the windows and doors at night to cool off the house naturally, reducing the strain on your air conditioner.
- Seal air leaks: Leaky windows and doors give access to hot summer air indoors 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 should be.
- Seal duct leaks: A regular home loses 20% or more of the conditioned air inside of it to leaks, holes and badly connected ducts. Hire a professional to seal your ductwork and eliminate this energy waste.
If you still have comfort troubles or big energy expenses after implementing these tips, turn to McKinley Heating Service Experts for help. We [can|are able to|will]130] diagnose and repair air conditioning issues, provide preventive maintenance, or replace your outdated, poorly performing system with a newer, high-efficiency model. For your confidence, we support 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 Edmonton.