On our list of “fun things to spend money on in the summertime,” utility bills rank about 43,874th. The way we see it, every $10 we save on our A/C bills buys another round of ice cream cones or a beverage at the ballpark. But there’s no way we’re going completely without A/C—and we’re not alone. According to the Department of Energy, 75% of U.S. homes have air conditioners, and Americans spend about $29 billion per year to run them.
That’s a lot of ice cream and beer.
We’re guessing you feel the same way: You love having a cool, comfy home when it’s 110oF in the shade, but you’d sure love to spend less money on it. Fortunately, you can have your (ice cream) cake and eat it, too.
10 Ways to Save Money on Your A/C Bills This Summer
Give your A/C some TLC.
Without regular preventive maintenance, your air conditioning system will start to run less efficiently, which costs you extra money. Start by changing your filter, then clean your compressor and condenser (outside) and the evaporator coil and drain (inside). If that sounds like too much work, we’re happy to do all the de-yucking for you. Just give your Tulsa HVAC pros a call!
Use your ceiling fans.
Contrary to popular belief, ceiling fans do not decrease air temperature. However, they make rooms feel cooler, and that’s what really matters. In warmer weather, your fan blades should be turning counter-clockwise (as you’re looking up at the unit) to push air straight down. By running your ceiling fans, you’ll be able to tolerate our next tip…
Adjust your thermostat to a warmer temperature.
We know some of you prefer swinging-beef temperatures in your home, but why would you spend extra money to walk around your house in a hoodie—in August? If you want to cut down on utility bills, set your thermostat somewhere between 73oF and 79oF. And remember, the warmer the better: Every degree increase will save you 3-5% in energy costs. It won’t take you long to adjust to the warmer temps, and if you’ve been looking for an excuse to walk around the house in your underwear, here’s your chance! (Kidding. Your neighbors wouldn’t appreciate that at all.)
Program Your thermostat.
If you just can’t stand to bump up the temp when you’re home and active, at least adjust the thermostat while you’re sleeping or when you’ll be away for several hours. Yes, we said while you’re sleeping. If you’re a warm sleeper, point an oscillating fan at your head. You’re trying to save some money, remember?
Move your thermostat.
Do you sense a theme here? Saving money on your A/C bills has a lot to do with your thermostat. If you’ve programmed it to a warmer setting than you’d really like, but you’re still not getting a financial benefit, it might be in the wrong place! To accurately control your A/C unit, your thermostat should be on an interior wall toward the center of your home—but not in the direct line of a window or air vent.
Close off unused rooms.
Most of us have “spare” rooms in our home with very little activity, and there’s no sense cooling down those spaces if they’re unused. (Dust bunnies don’t care what temperature it is.) Also, be sure to keep closet doors closed unless you’re using them. The less square footage you’re cooling down, the less money you’ll be sending the electric company.
Check for Leaks and Other Inefficiencies
Depending on the age of your home, it’s possible some of your cool air is leaking through door and window seals that have shrunk or cracked over time. The average home has leaks equivalent to leaving a medium-sized window open every day, all day, according to energy.gov.
How can you tell if you’re air conditioning your front yard? A home energy audit can uncover problem areas and recommend solutions. Not sure it’ll be worth the money? Check out Home Energy Saver’s free estimator.
At the very least, head outside when your AC is on and run your hands along door and window seals. If you feel cool air, you could save money simply by caulking those seals.
Air Dry Your Clothing
Appliances put out a bit of heat, which means your clothes dryer’s working against your efforts to save money this summer. String a line outside, and let the sun do its job. Besides, is there anything better than crisp, sun-bleached bed linens?
Close the Curtains
Speaking of running around the house in your underwear: Close your curtains! Not only will your neighbors appreciate it, but also your A/C unit will catch a break from working against that warm sunlight.
Opt for Dinner Out
Instead of firing up your kitchen appliances, become a summertime grill master and keep all that extra heat outside.
Does your A/C have you hot and bothered?
If you’re unhappy with your A/C’s performance, give us a call! Tulsa homeowners have trusted us with their HVAC needs for over 50 years, and we can help you keep your cool, too.