As the temperature rises, unfortunately, so does the energy bill. Air conditioning in sweltering, humid climates requires a lot of electricity to keep the temperature inside your home comfortable. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, air conditioning uses 6% of all electricity produced in the United States, making the annual cost of AC around $29 billion.
Air conditioning is a great way to stay comfortable and avoid heat-related injuries or illnesses, but it’s critical to use AC efficiently to save money and energy. Keep reading below for some of our tips on how to save on your air conditioning.
Air Conditioning Maintenance
The first way to optimize the use of your air conditioning unit is to make sure it’s properly maintained. Air conditioning has two primary functions: cooling and dehumidifying your home. To do this, it requires several parts that need some care to keep running.
If you neglect regular AC maintenance, you run the risk of causing a decline in its performance and higher energy consumption.
- Routinely replace air conditioning filters. Replacement of filters is vital to ensuring AC efficiency. Whenever the filters get dirty, they can block normal airflow and reduce how efficient the system is. Some filters are reusable and require cleaning to maintain; others have to be replaced. Ask your HVAC provider for more information.
- Get an annual inspection. Having your AC unit inspected yearly before warmer weather can help to save on avoidable costs. A technician can give you an overview of anything that needs immediate repairs or replacement, so your home’s air conditioning doesn’t go out when you need it most.
- Have an energy audit on your home. Wasted cooling energy isn’t always your air conditioner’s fault. Auditing your home’s energy consumption by checking where air leaks may be occurring is a great way to prevent unnecessary electricity usage. You can hire a professional or go along your home’s walls, doors and windows and feel for any chilled air. Old attic insulation may be to blame as well. Make sure to address any cracks or leaks with caulking, insulation or sealant.
Tips to Lower Your Energy Bill
If your air conditioner is running at optimum performance, there are a few ways you can further lower your energy bill.
- Keep your thermostat at the highest satisfactory temperature. Whenever you are home, only turn down the air conditioner as much as needed. While it may feel nice to turn your thermostat to a low temperature, the cost of energy can vary significantly by just a few degrees. Turning up your AC while you are away from the house is a great way to save. However, it is best to refrain from completely turning it off during the day. Your air conditioning works as a dehumidifier, so turning it off in the middle of the day can encourage mold growth.
- Make use of your ceiling fans. According to the U.S. Energy Department, ceiling fans allow you to raise the thermostat setting about four degrees higher with no reduction in comfort. Ceiling fans can effectively circulate air in your room and create a windchill effect, making you feel cooler. The best part is they use a fraction of the energy your AC unit uses.
- Use your shades during the warmest parts of the day. Your windows are a double-edged sword. They are a great way to get fresh air into your home during the night if you want to turn off your air conditioner. However, they can let in a lot of sunlight that can warm up your house. Drawing your shades on windows that let in large amounts of sunlight can help keep your house cooler during the day.
- Effectively place your thermostat. A thermostat next to a bathroom or kitchen will measure the temperature of heat expelled by your oven or shower. Place your thermostat in a well-used part of the house that doesn’t vary in temperature.
- Install a smart thermostat. In addition to its placement, the type of thermostat you use can help you to save on your energy bill. Many smart thermostats have energy-saving features built in to help you lower the amount of electricity you use. Want to manage the temperature of your home while you are away? A smart thermostat can integrate into a smart home system, allowing you to control it while you are away.
What Temperature Should I Set My Air Conditioner to in Summer?
The general recommended temperature is 78 degrees when you are home and higher whenever you are away. Your set temperature will vary on the climate of where you live and how much heat you can tolerate. Raising your thermostat a few degrees warmer than your average temperature can make a difference on your electric bill.
Lowering the strain you put on your air conditioner can help reduce the energy you use and the amount you have to spend every month on electric bills. In addition to HVAC inspections, electrical inspections and repairs can keep you from being at the mercy of a hot summer’s day.