How to Save Money on Air Conditioning This Summer
We can think of dozens of fun ways to spend money over the summer, and a steeper AC bill is definitely not one of them. According to research, Americans spend $22 billion a year to cool our homes. To put that in perspective, that’s nearly three times the value of all the frozen treats shipped out in a year and more than 20% of what we spend, collectively, on summer vacations.
We suspect you’d agree that forking over more money to the power company isn’t nearly as much fun as a double-scoop or a trip to the mountains. Fortunately, a few minor tweaks to your HVAC system and lifestyle can make a significant difference on your cooling bill.
Seven Ways to Decrease Your Summer Energy Bill
Install Ceiling Fans
Although ceiling fans don’t actually cool the air, they make rooms feel cooler—by up to 8oF. Make sure to choose an Energy Star-rated fan that’s appropriately sized for the room where you’re installing it. Also, your ceiling fan blades should be turning counter-clockwise during warmer months.
Close Unused Vents and Closet Doors
If you have infrequently used areas of your home, close the vents in those rooms. Don’t leave your closet doors open unless you’re using them. (Cooling down your clothing is definitely a waste of energy.)
Adjust Your Thermostat
In general, people prefer rooms that are between 73oF and 79oF. As you might expect, the best strategy for lowering your AC bill is to set your thermostat to the highest temperature you can. Does that really make a difference? It does: Every degree increase will save you 3-5% in energy costs. Bumping up the thermostat may seem unbearable, but keep in mind it takes the average person only about two weeks to adjust to warmer temperatures.
If you simply can’t stand to have a warmish home, then adjust your thermostat when you’ll be away for an extended period of time and while you’re sleeping. (Point an oscillating fan at your bed if you’re concerned about being too warm overnight.) If your mornings tend to be a bit chaotic and you’re likely to forget, consider replacing your outdated thermostat with a programmable model.
Also, be sure your thermostat is in the right location. The best spot is on an interior wall toward the center of your home, but not in the direct line of a window or air vent.
Check for Leaks and Other Inefficiencies
Door and window seals shrink and crack over time, allowing some of your (expensive) cool air to escape outside. In fact, energy.gov reports the average home has leaks equivalent to leaving a medium-sized window open every day, all day.
A home energy audit can you help uncover such problem areas and recommend solutions. Professional audits cost between $300 and $500, but you could recoup those costs in as little as one year. Home Energy Saver offers a free tool to help you determine how much you could save by making upgrades to your system. (And yes- we can do that for you, too!)
At the very least, it’s worth it to head outside when your AC is on and run your hands along door and window seals. If you feel cool air, simply caulking to seal those leaks could save you money.
Natural light is beautiful and, in the summer time, hot. If you tend to leave shades and curtains open, you’re asking your AC to work overtime. Give it a break by drawing your window coverings during the heat of the day.
Stay Out of the Kitchen
Rather than running your kitchen appliances on hot days, use your outdoor grill and hand wash your dishes. Stoves, ovens, and dishwashers generate heat, which works against your thermostat.
Do Some Preventive Maintenance
Be sure to give your HVAC system some TLC from time to time. Clogged filters can decrease efficiency by up to 15%, and giving your system a good cleaning can make a difference in how well it operates and how long it lasts.
Ask A Pro
If your AC simply isn’t keeping its cool, we’d be happy to help. Tulsa area homeowners have trusted Wortman Central Air with their heating and cooling needs for over 50 years! Give us a call today!