Make no mistake: air conditioning can be expensive. You probably noticed a considerable hike in your bills after you started running your AC constantly this summer. Chances are, you’ve probably written off this increase as unavoidable. After all, you can’t exactly stop using your AC altogether, can you?
What if we told you it was possible to keep using your AC and stop paying so much for it? There’s no big, technical trick to it either! Most households aren’t simply aren’t doing everything they can to save money on cooling. Any way you can help your AC unit cool your home will pay off considerably on your next power bill. Here are 10 easy ways you can start to drive down your bill without driving the temperature up.
Let it run
You should let your air conditioner run normally pretty much all the time–even when you’re not home! AC units have an easier time maintaining a cool temperature than they do re-cooling a hot home.
When you turn off your AC, it’ll have to work much harder next time you need it. It’ll run longer, use more power, and cost more money. Instead, simply find the right AC settings for your comfort and then let it run.
Seal your vents
If your ducts leak, you could be losing up to 30 percent of the cool air your AC produces. Without 30% of the air it produces, your AC will have to run a lot longer to cool your home effectively.
Look for parts of your ducts that might be leaking and seal them with caulk or insulation. The more completely you can trap the air in your ducts, the more effectively it will cool your home.
Insulate your vents
Most vent systems aren’t insulated. Insulation can help lock in the cool air flowing through your ventilation system. Locking in cool air helps it circulates through your home effectively, and cools as much as it should.
Insulating your vents is a simple way to make sure your HVAC system is as effective as possible. It’s pretty easy to do it yourself, too!
Close the blinds
You’d be surprised what can drive up the heat in your home. If your windows let in a lot of sunlight, they could drive your home’s temperature up by several degrees. Your AC has to work against that heat to cool things down, forcing it to run longer.
Consider closing the blinds during the hottest, sunniest parts of the day. This is especially important if you have a window AC unit. A little shade can go a long way toward helping out your air conditioner.
Use your fans
Fans don’t actually cool the air, but they do effectively circulate cool air. Fans pull hot air out of a room while pushing cool air in. The air’s the same temperature, but it feels cooler.
Fans can even work on your thermostat! When cool air circulates into the room, your thermostat will measure that and adjust your AC accordingly. Keep your fans going while your AC’s on to help it circulate cold air more efficiently.
Clear the area around the condenser
Your AC condenser unit is the part of the system that’s located outside your home. It has several functions, including venting out excess hot air the system pulls out of your home.
If anything blocks the exhaust fans, the condenser can’t vent hot air out of the system as effectively. Instead, it’ll get stuck inside the system and drive up the heat. Make sure the area around your condenser unit is obstruction-free.
Seal around your window unit
Window units can be tricky. If they’re not sealed correctly, they could let a lot of the cool air they produce leak right back out! If you have a window AC unit, pay close attention to whether or not it’s sealed properly.
Use tape, caulk, insulation, or foam to patch up air leaks. Feel for drafts or use the “smoke” test to see if there’s anywhere near the unit where air can escape. The better you seal, the more cold air stays where you need it.
Set the thermostat for room temperature
A common misconception about AC units is that if you set the thermostat really low, they’ll cool your home faster. That’s not true. In reality, AC units always cool at the same “speed.” The only thing you’re affecting when you turn down the thermostat is their target temperature. The AC unit will keep running until it reaches that temperature. That’s bad for your power bill.
Set your thermostat to the ideal temperature you want your home to be. Once you’ve set it, leave the thermostat alone. The AC will achieve that temperature, and then only run when it needs to re-establish that temperature. You get a home that’s comfortable, and your AC doesn’t have to waste energy running all day.
Watch where you put the thermostat
Your AC unit figures out how hot your home is based on its thermostat. In other words, your AC only actually “knows” how warm it is around the thermostat. If your home happens to be warmer around the thermostat than usual, your AC will run longer than it needs to.
All kinds of things can affect the air temperature around your thermostat. If your thermostat gets a lot of sunlight, it may read degrees higher than the home actually is. Exhaust or electrical equipment will drive up the air temperature around it, too. Make sure the area around the thermostat isn’t hotter or colder than the rest of the home.
Maybe the most important way to save money on AC is also the most obvious: make sure it’s running properly. If your AC unit is malfunctioning, it could cost you a lot of money without even doing its job!
If you’re worried your air conditioner isn’t working as efficiently as it should be, give Mike Diamond a call any time. Nobody should have to go without AC during the summer, and we want to help make sure you don’t.