10 Air Conditioning Tips to Conserve Energy and Save You Money
When those summer heat waves hit, your energy bills go through the roof. Unbearable heat equals more A/C use, which equals cutting your vacation budget just so you can pay your electricity bill. It’s a mathematical fact, isn’t it?
Actually, it doesn’t have to be. It’s true that there’s no way around temperature-controlling your house to prevent heat strokes in the blazing summer sun. But there are plenty of ways to save money while doing so.
We’ve collected the best of these cost-effective air conditioning tips in the guide below. Use these AC tips to stay cool while spending less.
1. Replace Old Air Conditioners.
AC units usually last around 10-15 years. If you’re still using a 15-year-old air conditioner, the best tip we can give you is, “Get it replaced.”
Getting a new, ENERGYSTAR-certified air conditioning system that’s the right size for your home will pay for itself before you know it. And it’s a much better scenario than waiting until your current system breaks down.
2. Don’t Cool an Empty House
Unless you enjoy wasting money, the worst thing you can do with your thermostat is the “set it and forget it” method. That’s where you pick a temperature you like and just keep it there, forever. Of all the inefficient ways one can use their thermostat, none will rack up your energy bill faster than this.
Think about it logically. When the lowest temperature of the day outside is 80 degrees, and you keep your thermostat at 74, it’s going to run pretty much all the time.
More importantly, you probably aren’t even home all the time. Then you’re paying to cool down an empty house. Who benefits from that?
Of course, you don’t want to come home to a 90-degree house, either. The sensible solution is to set the thermostat for 80 degrees any time you step out of the house.
If your time out of the house is very consistent, like if you have a set, 9-5 work schedule, program the thermostat for 80 during these hours. Then, you actually can set it and forget it.
3. Stop Cooling Empty Rooms
Furthermore, this same principle applies to uninhabited rooms. For example, are you paying to cool a guest bedroom with no guests in it? Because that’s kind of a weird thing to do, right?
If you have rooms that don’t normally have people in them, cut them off from the AC. Keep the AC vents in those rooms shut.
And shut the doors that connect them to the rooms you do need cooled. You might even consider weather stripping these doors or at least stuffing a towel under them to block air flow. This prevents energy-wasting air leaks between cooled and non-cooled rooms.
All-in-all, this method basically makes your house smaller as far as your AC is concerned. And that makes it faster and easier for your AC unit to cool the house.
4. Conserve in the Night
Most of us wouldn’t even notice if the temperature went up a few degrees at night. So you can program your thermostat to do just that.
When you go to bed, program your thermostat to go up a few degrees in an hour. Some thermostats have a “sleep mode” to help with this.
That way, the temperature goes up and you won’t even notice. Then, the air conditioner runs less and you save money while you sleep.
Unfortunately, this method isn’t for everyone. Those of us who are light sleepers do notice. The warmer temperature wakes us up and we have trouble getting back to sleep.
Still, it’s worth a try. Find out if it works for you.
5. Block Out Direct Sunlight
While sunlight saves you money on lighting, it costs you extra on cooling. So the best thing to do is to block the direct sunlight with the right shades or curtains. Then, you should still have enough indirect sunlight left over to light your house without overheating it.
6. DIY Air Conditioning Maintenance
You may not think there’s much you can do to make your AC unit more efficient. But the truth is quite the opposite.
DIY air conditioning maintenance takes very little effort but makes a huge difference in the performance of your HVAC system. Use these two simple steps to dramatically increase your AC’s efficiency.
Change the Filter
First, change your air filters as needed.
These filters catch dust and other particles out of your air when the system runs. When the filter becomes full, it really just sit in the duct, blocking the air flow. That means your AC system is working harder and accomplishing less, which racks up your energy bill.
Filters should be replaced every 3 months or sooner. This depends on both the specific instructions on the filter’s packaging and on usage. Heavier usage or dirtier air will cause the filter to fill up faster.
Clean the Return Vents
The return vents are usually located on the ceiling or high on the wall. These vents take in the air from the room and return it to the AC unit. Then the conditioned air is blown back into the room through the supply vents.
Because the return vents are taking in unfiltered air, they occasionally fill up with dust and become clogged. Try to make a habit of looking up once and a while to see how they’re doing. Whenever you dust or vacuum your home, dust or vacuum your return vents as well.
7. Have Your Air Conditioner Professionally Maintenanced
When was the last time you had your AC checked out by a professional heating and cooling technician? Regular professional HVAC maintenance keeps your system running efficiently and extends the life of your unit. It should be done just before each heating or cooling season.
Many companies, like this trusted company, offer yearly maintenance plans to make it easy and affordable to get the maintenance you need.
Save Money With These Air Conditioning Tips
Staying cool shouldn’t mean breaking the bank. With these easy to follow steps, you’ll conserve energy, save money, and be comfortable all summer long.
Stay cool the smart way with these money-saving air conditioning tips.