Best Ways to Save Money When Running Your AC This Summer
We all know the shocking feeling of that first summer energy bill when you’ve been running the AC constantly just to get by. But summer doesn’t have to be a season that bleeds your wallet in exchange for comfort. With a few simple changes to your AC habits, you can make saving money and staying cool at the same time a reality.
Adjust the temperature at night
Since you’re not active while sleeping, a slightly higher temperature will suffice to feel cool, especially if you sleep without blankets or covers. Turning your thermostat up a few degrees at night will let your air conditioner work less, especially since humidity tends to decrease at night as well. A programmable thermostat is an ideal component for this, allowing you to preset when you want the air conditioning to kick in or let up.
Although many people turn to fans as a cooling method when the AC isn’t running, fans are usually forgotten once the air conditioning has taken over. It doesn’t have to be an either/or situation, however. Using a few fans to circulate the cool air from the air conditioning will give your AC an assist with minimal use of energy. Although fans don’t actually cool the air, the moving air on your skin feels cooler because it helps with evaporation.
Install a more energy efficient unit
Although the upfront cost of installing a new AC unit might deter you, replacing your aging air conditioning system with a newer, more efficient unit will quickly gain you back the investment. AC units have progressed significantly in recent years in terms of energy efficiency. If yours is old and inefficient, it might be worth upgrading to a new model sooner rather than later to see the energy savings more quickly.
Maintain your AC unit
Poor maintenance of air conditioning systems can be a significant factor in decreasing their energy efficiency. Changing filters regularly and keeping the condenser coils clean are both key to allowing airflow and ensuring maximum efficiency. If you haven’t had a professional inspection completed on your unit recently, you may also want to call and schedule one. Undetected maintenance issues are often a sneaky cause of high energy bills.
Close the curtains or blinds
Closing your curtains or blinds goes a long way toward keeping the temperature in your house down. This is particularly important for windows in your house that have direct sunlight. The sun combined with glass windows quickly increases the temperature and fights against your AC. Blinds or curtains will help keep the space cool and will provide additional insulation to prevent the cold air from seeping out the windows.
Insulate your home
Many older homes and even new ones have extensive loss of cool air through poor insulation and cracks. Whether the air is escaping through small cracks around windows and doors or through a poorly insulated attic, that air loss can significantly up your energy bill. If you haven’t had insulation replaced recently, you may want to consider an inspection or a home energy audit. A home energy audit consists of checking for leaks throughout your home and determining the best methods of sealing them.
Increase the thermostat
The higher you can tolerate the heat, the less money you’ll spend on air conditioning. If you are just as comfortable with your thermostat one or two degrees higher than you currently have it set, go ahead and turn it up. Even a one degree difference will have an impact on your energy bill. Many recommend 78 degrees as a good temperature for air conditioners to run efficiently.
Keep the AC on on hot, humid days
Turning your AC off during hot, humid days while you’re gone and turning it on when you get home means your AC will have to work twice as hard to cool your house in the evening. Leaving your AC on and your windows closed during hot, humid days will keep the humidity out and let you return to a comfortable home in the evening.
Close basement vents
Since hot air rises and cool air sinks, the basement typically ends up being the coolest space in the house. Closing the vents in the basement will help force the cool air from the air conditioning system to the top of the house first, instead of simply cooling the already cool basement. You can also spend more of your day in the basement or on the ground floor to avoid the hotter upper floors.