Tips for Saving on Your AC Bill
The sweltering heat of summer may have you cranking your AC on full blast. That is until you get your first energy bill for the season. Air conditioning can get expensive in the dead of summer as your system battles with suffocating temperatures. Fortunately, you don’t have to suffer in order to lower your monthly AC costs. Keep your home and budget comfortable with these tips for saving on your AC bill.
Look for Drafts
Remember your parents yelling “we don’t live in a barn!” anytime you left a door or window open? They had a point. Cool air will escape through even cracked doors and windows. But it goes further than that. Drafty areas of your home will also result in air loss. Replace weather stripping and recaulk areas where air is escaping. If you have old single pane windows, you should replace them with new energy efficient ones.
Cover Your Windows
Even if you have the most energy efficient windows on the market, the heat of the sun can still permeate the room. Keep your blinds closed during the day to decrease your home’s exposure to heat-producing sunlight. Thermal room darkening shades go the extra mile by blocking up to 99% of incoming light.
Avoid Using Your Stove and Oven
The stove and oven can add heat to your home, making the AC work even harder. Try to stick to cold foods during the warmer months. Salads and smoothies are refreshing and won’t generate heat. If you do need to cook, try grilling outside or use smaller appliances like a microwave, crockpot, or toaster oven.
Raise the Temperature
It sounds obvious, but you can save a lot on your AC bill by increasing the temperature on your thermostat. Set it to the highest temperature you can stand. The US Department of Energy recommends setting it to 78 degrees when you are home, and then raising it a bit higher when you leave. You can lower it at night when your system doesn’t have to work against the high temperatures of the day.
Install a Smart Thermostat
Maybe you’re not the best at remembering to reset your thermostat when you wake up or leave the house. With a smart thermostat, you can schedule temperatures for certains times of the day. For example, your system will know to keep the temp at 78 when you’re home, 82 when you’re at work, and down to 76 when you’re asleep. You can even access it remotely. When you install it, be sure to place it in a central location, away from direct sunlight. This will ensure you get an accurate temperature reading.
As air passes over your body, it will evaporate sweat and leave you feeling cooler. Fans also help circulate stale air. When you use a fan, you won’t need to rely as heavily on your AC. Just be sure to turn off the fan when you leave the room to avoid unnecessary energy use.
Hang Out in Lower Levels of the Home
We all know that heat rises, but did you know that cold air sinks? If possible, try to remain on lower levels of the house during the day. Basements and first floors will naturally be cooler so you won’t need to blast the AC to get the temperature you desire.
Regularly Change Your Filter
Dirty air filters will prevent proper air flow. If your HVAC system has to work harder to intake air, it will use up more energy. Be sure to replace the air filter every 1-3 months to keep your AC functioning optimally. If possible, forgo the expensive allergen-filtering ones and choose a basic fiberglass mesh filter instead. These allow for better air intake which puts less strain on your system.
Service Your AC
You may think that you’re saving money by opting out of your yearly HVAC inspection. However, a poorly maintained HVAC system will result in much higher monthly energy costs. Hiring a professional HVAC company to perform an annual tune-up can reduce your AC bill and prolong the life of your system. You can even schedule your furnace and AC check-ups at the same time for additional savings.
Opt for an Energy Efficient Cooling System
If your old HVAC system has reached its expiration date or you‘ve been relying on a window unit, now is the time to shop for an energy efficient cooling system. Just look for the Energy Star rating. A licensed HVAC contractor will perform a load calculation and service evaluation in order to recommend the best cooling system for your house.
Stephens Plumbing Can Help You Save on Your AC Bill
Though there is plenty you can do to lower your energy costs, there are times when you need to hire the professionals. If your HVAC system isn’t running properly or you’ve noticed