As the summer months approach followed by rising temperatures, it’s almost impossible to live without air conditioning. However, with the costs of energy these days, it’s almost equally as difficult to watch our electric bills go up exponentially.
What’s a homeowner to do? While turning off the air conditioner might seem like the only option, anyone suffering from allergies and asthma will tell you that air conditioning can be a lifesaver – especially when the humidity increases. Therefore, before you switch off the A/C, below are a few tips to help you continue to keep your home comfortable in those hot months without draining your wallet.
- Perform regular maintenance on your air conditioning unit. Unfortunately, many people don’t get their air conditioning system serviced yearly, or even seasonally. However, preventative maintenance can help homeowners avoid large, disastrous system failures that can occur without warning, and always at the worst possible moment that your budget never expected. At a minimum, make sure to replace your filters monthly during the cooling season.
- If you haven’t done so already, install a programmable thermostat so you can set the air conditioning temperature according to when you’re home or away. We recommend setting your thermostat to 78 degrees when you’re home and if you’ll be out for more than a few hours, setting the air conditioning at 85 degrees can make quite a difference in electrical costs. A little known fact is that each degree below 78 percent will increase your energy use by 3-4 %.
- If you’re in the market for a new central air conditioning system or looking to replace your old one, make sure the SEER number (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) is 13 or higher. A less efficient system will cost you more money to run. Although a high efficiency air conditioning unit will cost a more upfront, it will pay for itself by reducing electricity bills.
- Be sure your air conditioning condenser is located in a shady area and has ample room to remove the hot air from your home. Did you know that condensers in the shade use up to 10% less electricity than those in direct sunlight? Make sure the unit is not crowded with shrubs, tall grass, or other debris as this can restrict airflow and use more electricity.
- Install energy efficient ceiling fans and run them on those hot days. Using the ceiling fans at the same time you run your air conditioner allows you to raise the temperature setting by five degrees, which will reduce your energy costs. Be sure you set your fan to blow down to send the air past your body and remove the hot air that surrounds your body. If your fan is blowing up, it will defeat the purpose.
Just a few simple tricks and you’ll be amazed at how much you can truly lower your electric bill – without sacrificing your comfort.