Now that the weather’s warming up, it’s time to trade heating for air conditioning. It’s always a good idea to plan ahead and form some new habits around your AC use, the better to save money once we’re in the midst of the dog days of summer. Here are some simple but effective tips to save money on air conditioning, courtesy of Ace Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning.
Let’s start with the small and simple stuff.
Set the Right Temperature
While this probably won’t settle the thermostat argument once and for all, the Department of Energy suggests keeping your indoor temperature at 78 degrees during the spring and summer. This has two benefits: first, you use less energy, thereby saving money. Second, there will be less of a difference in temperature between the indoors and outdoors, which is easier on your body.
Use a Smart Thermostat
You don’t need to cool the house when nobody’s in it, so use a smart thermostat that’s programmed to keep the house warmer during the day, setting it to cool down before you arrive home. Not only will you use less electricity, you’ll prolong system life, since a longer continuous run is better than a number of shorter cycles. Regardless of the type of thermostat you use, make sure it’s not located near a window or in direct sun.
Check Your Insulation
We hope you wouldn’t leave the windows and doors open with the AC running. But if you have an older home with poor insulation and drafty windows and doors, you could be looking at a similar loss of energy efficiency. If your home isn’t as cool as it should be, your AC may not be the culprit!
Even though the steps above will save you money on your electric bill, they may not be enough on their own. There’s still more to do.
Maintain Your Air Conditioner
Like many other things in your home, your air conditioner won’t work as well if it’s filthy, or in a poor state of repair. Make sure you change filters on schedule (or a bit ahead of schedule if you smoke or own pets). Also bear in mind that your HVAC system should be serviced annually, at a bare minimum. Finally, while there’s some controversy over just how effective duct cleaning is in terms of improving the performance of heat and air conditioning systems, we find that it’s still a good idea from an air quality standpoint.
Replace Your Air Conditioner(s)
There are two circumstances under which you should consider replacing your central air to save money. If you have several window units cooling your home, you may have saved money in the short term, but longer-term, those window units cost more to operate. They’re also not as durable, so the short-term savings is also undercut by more frequent replacement.
But let’s say that you’re ahead of that particular curve and already have central air installed. You may want to look at replacing that, as well. If your unit wasn’t sized properly for your home, you’re wasting money (and may be looking at other problems as well). Newer AC units, or combined systems that provide both heat and air conditioning through heat pumps, are much more efficient than older ones. If you’ve already called us out for air conditioner maintenance, we can also advise on whether your HVAC system needs replacement.
For more tips, plus help with any of your central California air conditioning needs, get in touch with Ace Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning today.