You may not think twice about revving 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 expenses and up to 70% of your utility spending during the summer. If you’re tired of paying too much for air conditioning, try these 13 tips to improve AC efficiency and save money on your monthly bills.
- Prioritize routine maintenance: Dirt and debris build up in your air conditioner over time, decreasing efficiency. Schedule annual maintenance to have a professional clean your unit’s coils, exchange the filter, tighten electrical connections, lubricate moving pieces and more. An annual inspection also allows your serviceman to identify and fix any potential issues before they become major problems.
- Keep the outdoor unit free of obstructions: Loose trash and nearby weeds growing around your air conditioner can minimize airflow and make the system work harder. Check the unit throughout the summer, clipping back vegetation and cleaning up debris as needed to keep your cooling system working effectively.
- Buy a programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat enables you to set automatic temperatures based on your schedule. In the summer, program a higher temperature when you’re away from home and have it resume a comfortable temperature before you come back. This reduces electrical consumption and saves money without decreasing comfort.
- Avoid overriding programmed settings: While you are able to 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 adjust the temperature, do so by merely a degree or two. Cranking down the temperature won’t cool your home any quicker and only serves to needlessly consume electricity.
- Use the auto fan setting: While fan-only mode moves air to stop 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, avoiding unwanted electricity 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 home cooler. These methods are most useful on south- and west-facing windows where the sun shines directly inside.
- Install the outdoor part of your system in the shade: Direct sunlight makes your system to work harder and reduces 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 rarely used rooms saves energy. Unfortunately, this throws off the supply and return air equilibrium, making your AC much less efficient. Generally speaking, 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 along with your air conditioner: Ceiling fans distribute air throughout the room, generating a wind chill effect that makes you feel about 4 degrees cooler. This might allow you to turn up the temperature a few degrees without feeling hot, reducing your dependence on the air conditioner and decreasing 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 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 stop cool air from leaking out. If you live in an area with cool summer evenings, open the windows and doors during the night to cool off the house naturally, reducing the burden on your air conditioner.
- Seal air leaks: Leaky windows and doors allow hot summer air inside of the house even when closed, making it 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 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 troubles or large energy costs after implementing these tips, turn to Gordon's 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 new, high-efficiency model. For your confidence, we support every single thing 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 Oklahoma City.