Are You Wasting Money Every Summer on AC?
Here Are 14 Easy Ways to Save Cash on Home Energy Bills
Air conditioning your home can add hundreds of dollars each month to your summer electric bill, but it doesn’t have to. Here are some simple steps you can take to keep more cash in your pocket.
It all starts with ensuring your AC unit is working efficiently. If you aren’t already following these easy energy-saving tips, cold air is flowing right out the window, and so is your money!
First, let’s determine if your AC is working correctly.
Run your air conditioner for about 15 minutes on a day when the outside temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
Use a thermometer to measure the difference in temperature between the air coming out of the ducts that are closest to the unit and the air being drawn into the return ducts. You should see a difference of about 15-20 degrees. If that’s not the case, you’ll want to take action to improve your AC’s efficiency and lessen the demand on it. Read the easy tips below for ideas.
- Get a tune-up. Just as your car needs a tune-up every now and then, so does your AC system. If it’s been more than a year, have an HVAC technician come out and check your coolant levels, clean the coils, and evaluate the airflow over the cooling coils. A thorough inspection will confirm whether all parts are in good working order. A well-tuned air conditioner runs more efficiently.
- Clean or change your filters. Dirty filters block airflow. They force your AC system to work harder to keep the air circulating.
- Give your condenser space. Your outdoor AC unit, the condenser, needs to suck air into its system. Bushes and plants can become obstructions. Clear at least several feet of space around the unit.
- Give your indoor registers space, too. Keep furniture and drapes away so they don’t block airflow. Use a shop vac to regularly clean dirt and lint from your registers.
- Create shade. It’s hotter in full sun, not just for you but also for your outdoor AC unit. The U.S. Department of Energy says creating shade over it can increase efficiency by as much as 10%.
- Get ductwork professionally cleaned. Over time, dirt and dust can gather in your ductwork and act as obstructions. They can also clog evaporator coils and damage moving parts. An AC technician has the tools and expertise to give your ductwork a thorough cleaning and check for any leaks at the same time.
- Set your fan on “auto.” It doesn’t need to stay on all the time. When set on “auto,” it will cycle on and off as needed.
- Use ceiling fans. Fans don’t cool the air, but they do keep it circulating, which makes you feel cooler. Fans also help keep temperatures even throughout your home.
- Check the ventilation in your attic. Hot air rises, but it needs somewhere to go. If your attic isn’t properly ventilated, that hot air can’t escape.
- Use drapes. The more heat that comes into your home, the harder your AC has to work. So during the heat of the day, close drapes or shades to block sunlight.
- Limit daytime use of appliances. Your oven, dishwasher, and clothes dryer all generate heat. Run them in the evening when it’s cooler.
- Turn off lights. Some lights, particularly if the bulbs are incandescent, create heat. When not in use, keep them turned off. You can also consider changing to CFL or LED bulbs, which don’t get hot.
- Check for leaks. Are you losing AC through doors, windows, or holes around plumbing or wiring? Sealing them not only keeps cold air from escaping, but also prevents hotter air from getting in.
- Set your thermostat higher. Every degree you raise the temperature translates to a lower electric bill. If you know you’re going to be out of the house for several hours, kick up that thermostat. There’s no sense in paying for cool air that you’re not there to enjoy.
While these tips will help reduce your electric bill during the hot months of summer, they’re no replacement for regular AC and HVAC maintenance and checkups. For Central Virginia residents, Fitch Services offers Charlottesville HVAC repairs, replacements and maintenance. If you’re a homeowner or business owner in the Charlottesville area, contact Fitch Services today to schedule an appointment.