9 Easy Ways to Reduce Air Conditioning Costs
April 20, 2018
When you’re hot, the first thought is probably “air conditioning,” but you don’t forget about all the other ways you can stay cool and comfortable. This can be active mechanical means such as fans and evaporative coolers or passive energy-efficiency improvements such as proper insulation and strategic use of windows, shading, and ventilation. You can have a lower AC costs without sacrificing comfort.
Instead of paying out the ear for cooling costs with your current air conditioner, schedule a professional air conditioning tune-up and speak with your technician about improving the energy efficiency of your model. In addition to maintaining, upgrading, and replacing old air conditioners, there are plenty of simple actions you can take to beat the heat for less.
9 Ways to Lower AC Costs
By implementing these 9 easy ways to lower AC costs, not only will you reduce your utility bills, but you’ll also be improving the health and comfort of your home and household.
For example, by remembering to replace dirty, clogged air filters every 1-2 months, you can keep your air conditioner cleaner and the airflow moving, leading to a 5-15% reduction in energy consumption, cleaner air, and stronger airflow.
Use Your Doors
If you’re using your AC and staying in one room, consider closing the doors of the rooms you’re cooling. This should seal the cool air in and prevent the outside temperature from affecting the coolness level in those rooms. Come night time, take advantage of the natural coolness of the air by letting your doors stay open.
Don’t leave doors closed for too long. Your HVAC system is designed specifically for the size and rooms in your home. Leave doors open in unused rooms to allow air to circulate throughout the home. Additionally, make sure all your vents are open and unobstructed!
If you notice any air leaks around exterior-facing doors, now is the time to replace the weatherstripping.
For a professional HVAC zoning solution, ask your HVAC technician about ductless mini-split units, which each have their own thermostat, allowing you to have different temperature settings for different areas of the home.
Blinds, Blinds, Blinds
Keeping the blinds closed is a simple trick that most of us forget. According to the U.S. EPA, about 76% of the sunlight that falls on standard double-pane windows enters to become heat. By using blinds and/or curtains as shade, you should be able to reduce the solar heat gain through your windows by 60-90%.
This is especially important for windows that are facing east or west. In addition to blind and curtains, consider shutters, awnings, drapes, window films, and other energy-efficient window treatments. You’ll discover that it’s a very helpful way to cut down on energy costs while maintaining comfort inside your home.
Use ceiling fans and box fans to help circulate cool air inside your house and maximize the use of your AC. You can also try putting a large mixing bowl filled with ice in front of your fan. That should deliver cool air that might fool you into thinking the AC is running.
Keep in mind that your ceiling fan(s) may be rotating in the wrong direction. If you don’t feel any air coming down from your fan, turn the fan off; then, flip the small black switch at the base of the ceiling fan. This will reverse the ceiling fan direction so it can rotate counter-clockwise for summer.
Choose Your Linens Wisely
Choosing your linens may not sound reasonable but it actually is. During summer or hotter months of the year, use cotton linens. They allow air to breathe through them thus keep you cool while you’re in bed. Fleece blankets and flannel sheets, meanwhile, are great for keeping you warm so use them during the cold season.
Let Cool, Night Air In
The temperature drops down at night. So during summer when it’s extremely hot, take advantage of the cool night air by keeping your windows open. You may also put your fans strategically to make the cool breeze flow throughout the room.
Limit Heat Buildup
Incandescent light bulbs emit a lot more heat and use about 70-90% more energy than LED bulbs. Aside from keeping your rooms cooler, energy-saving light bulbs will also save you more energy and last much longer.
If it is hot out, try to limit heat-producing activities such as cooking, exercising, using the dishwasher or dryer. Other large energy-consuming appliances include entertainment systems, computers, and refrigerators. If you have two or more refrigerators, try to condense things down to just one energy-efficient fridge.
Try to cook your meals during the cooler temperatures during mornings and evenings. You can also use the microwave or try grilling outdoors. Consider hang-drying your clothes outside.
Use a Smart of Programmable Thermostat
Used properly, smart and programmable thermostats can save you a lot of money on cooling costs. Set your thermostat to turn itself down while you are awake or sleeping. You can also set it to reach your desired comfort level before you arrive home.
Start with this programmable thermostat schedule for spring/summer and then adjust it to fit your schedule:
- Wake 6:00 a.m. — > 78˚ F
- Day 8:00 a.m. — Setup at least 7˚ F
- Evening 6:00 p.m. — > 78˚ F
- Sleep 10:00 p.m. — Setup at least 4˚ F
Source: U.S. DOE
There are three main types of programmable thermostats, so you should pick the one that best fits your needs. Keep in mind that more scheduling options usually correlates to a rise in the purchase price.
Since the typical U.S. home loses around 20% of their conditioned air to leaks in the ductwork, professional duct sealing is well worth the investment.
While homeowners can successfully seal some air duct leaks on their own with mastic sealant or aluminum foil tape, there will be areas that are too dangerous or hard to reach.
If you want to seal all the cracks and gaps in your ductwork, you’ll need to contact an HVAC company for professional air duct sealing.
Take a Cold Shower/Bath
Though many people can’t imagine a day without their hot shower, we would like to encourage you to take cold showers and baths. There are many benefits to getting an icy start to your day, including less stress, more willpower, tighter hair and skin, improve immunity and sleep. This isn’t even to mention to reduced water and energy use.
The hardest part is the first couple of seconds. It gets harder and harder the longer you are awake, so embrace the cold as soon as you wake up. Trust us, you’ll feel a lot better!
If you must bath or shower with hot water, wait until the temperatures outside have dropped. Also, don’t forget to run the bathroom exhaust fan to remove excess heat and humidity.
Don’t Forget to Schedule Spring Air Conditioning Maintenance
We hope we gave you some fresh ideas for saving money to have lower AC costs this year. If you haven’t scheduled your annual air conditioning tune-up, contact Fix-It 24/7 as soon as possible!
You don’t want to wait for the hottest day of the year to call your HVAC company. Needless to say, they may be busy and you could end up waiting in the heat. Use these tips to have lower AC costs today!
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