Even if you are looking forward to the warm summer weather, you probably aren’t as excited about the thought of your air conditioning bills skyrocketing. Many people struggle with wanting to keep cool in the summer heat while still keeping energy costs down. However, the good news is that there are some simple steps you can take to save money and stay cool as summer heats up.
Tips for Lowering Your Air Conditioning Bill
Use a Programmable Thermostat
Install a programmable thermostat in your home so that you can adjust temperatures according to your schedule. You don’t need your thermostat to be running at the same temperature while you’re at work as it does when you’re at home. You’ll end up spending a lot of money cooling an empty house. For instance, you can set the thermostat at 78 degrees when you’re home but move it to 85 if you’ll be gone all day. There are even Wi-Fi thermostats that allow you to adjust your thermostat from anywhere using a smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Make Sure Your A/C Unit is the Right Size
Air conditioning units are not “one size fits all.” If a system is too small, it will be unable to keep your home or building at an ideal temperature. If it’s too big, it will cost much more and will be working harder than necessary, leaving you at an uncomfortable temperature yet again. Finding an A/C system that is the proper size will give you the greatest efficiency and comfort. Call a professional if you’re unsure what size would work best for your needs.
Upgrade to an Energy Efficient Unit
All A/C units have two ratings: a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) and an EER (Energy Efficiency Rating). The higher the rating, the less energy consumed. The legal minimum SEER is 13 and then ratings go up to 20. If you desire more energy efficiency in your A/C system, look into options with higher SEER and EER ratings to see how you can optimize your home or building.
Check for Duct Leaks
If you’re blasting your air conditioning system and still feeling warm, this could indicate that some of the cool air is leaking out. The first places many people look for A/C leaks are windows and doors, but more often the culprit is a hole or gap in the air ducts. A professional can inspect your building’s system for leakage points and can even help seal them for you. Do not simply seal the holes with duct tape.
Clean Your A/C System
When dirt and debris build up in your vents and ducts, they work much harder than they need to and don’t deliver the same benefits. Have your air conditioning system cleaned at least once a year to keep it running smoothly and efficiently. Regular maintenance will also prevent damage to the system and save you money in repairs.
Take Note of Bright and Sunny Spots
Don’t underestimate the effect that natural or fluorescent light can have on your home or building’s temperature. Closing the drapes in sunny rooms will prevent temperatures from raising and affecting your thermostat’s accuracy. Furthermore, install your thermostat away from direct sunlight and turn the lights off in that room when it’s not in use. Both the sun and the room lights can heat up the thermostat and make it perceive the temperature as much warmer than it truly is.
Air conditioning can account for over half of your summer electric bill, but it doesn’t have to drain your wallet year after year. By making a few simple changes, you can cut costs without sacrificing comfort.