When your air conditioner is working overtime during the Summer months, the energy bill can hit hard. Even if the a/c itself is in good working order, the costs just keep on climbing. This often leads people to ask: What can I do to cool my house more efficiently? How can bring my energy costs down?
Fortunately, there are several ways to do just that. We’ve seen our fair share of people paying more than they should on energy bills, simple because they’re overlooked something obvious. Once they address it, they’re able keep the space cool with much greater efficiency.
We’ve listed the most common oversights here. We hope you find them useful!
1. Know Your Thermostat
The most basic thing to keep in mind is that your A/C will answer to one thing and one thing only: The thermostat. If the dial (or screen) is set to 68 degrees, the unit will work as hard as it needs to in order to maintain that temperature. If the outside temperature is 100 degrees, the unit will have to work fairly hard to cover the difference.
Always be aware of what you’re asking of your A/C. If the thermostat is telling it to cover a 30 degree spread, it will have to use more energy. If you can live with a warmer temperature inside, say 78 degrees instead of 68, it will use less energy.
Many thermostats are programmable. You can set them to cool the house during certain parts of the day and turn off during others. This is a great way to control and limit your A/C usage, resulting in lower monthly bills.
Other thermostats are basic, meaning they can be set to a temperature and turned on or off. If you have one of these thermostats, it’s important to be mindful of it. If not, you’ll end up paying to cool an empty space.
On other thing about thermostats: The sensor that measures the air temperature is in the thermostat itself. Avoid placing lamps or other heat sources near the thermostat, as they will affect the reading and cause the unit to kick in when it isn’t really needed.
2. Choose a Strategic Location
In terms of efficiency, it actually does matter where the A/C unit is located. When installing a new unit, qualified professionals will look for a place that is shady and not closely hemmed in by anything, such as plants or other landscaping elements. This ensures that the air around the unit is as cool as possible (since it’s in the shade) and is allowed to flow freely (since the area is unobstructed). Cooler air circulating around the unit means that less energy is needed to bring it down to the temperature indicated on the thermostat.
3. Seal the Deal
Your air conditioner may be in top form, but without a good seal against the outside environment, the cool air will simply leak out, requiring the unit to work even harder. To prevent this, pay close attention to your windows. Use caulk and weather stripping to re-seal damaged areas where the air is leaking. It may help to put installation around the A/C ducts themselves, to make sure that as much cool air as possible flows directly into the space. Yet another option is to put special films on the inside of windows. In some cases, this allows homes to trap air more efficiently.
4. Change Filters and Other Preventative Maintenance
Clogged and dirty A/C filters will slow your system down and reduce it’s ability to cool. Not only that, they make your indoor space more susceptible to allergens and odors.
Changing filters and other types of preventative maintenance are important if you want to cut costs, and should be undertaken regularly. If you don’t know how to perform such maintenance yourself, or simply don’t have time, a reputable HVAC specialist will usually be able to do it for a very affordable rate.
We hope this post has given you a better understanding of how to lower your energy bill during A/C season. If you have any questions or comments, we’d love to see them in the space below!