Yelling “We don’t live in a barn!” was usually Dad’s way of saving money on air conditioning. Times have changed. You’re the homeowner now, and you don’t necessarily want to sound just like your father. But now that the roles are reversed, you realize there was truth in another of his favorite sayings: “We’re not made of money!” You don’t want to sweat, but you’re also keeping a close eye on your utility bills. So how do you save money on air conditioning? Ace Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning has answers.
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Set a Higher Indoor Temperature
As a rule of thumb, every degree cooler you set your air conditioning for eight hours’ run time costs you another percent on your energy bill. So even though a 67-degree house can feel nice, it’s going to cost you ten percent more on average than it would be if you set the thermostat to the 78 degrees Fahrenheit recommended by the Department of Energy.
Weather and health permitting — if it’s not rainy, and if you don’t have allergies or respiratory issues that can be aggravated by poor air quality or high heat — go outside. The exercise and sunshine will do you good, and as an added bonus, that higher temperature to which you’ve set your thermostat will feel nice and cool when you step back indoors.
Your home probably has ceiling fans. Use them! Air circulation gives your AC a helping hand, and you’ll feel cooler even with the thermostat set higher. Just make sure you change the direction of the fans if you changed them over the winter like you should have; in the summertime, you want them to pull hot air up toward the ceiling.
Your home has other fans that are easy to forget about. Vent fans in the kitchen and bathroom help remove heat and humidity when you’ve been cooking or showering. Many homes also have attic fans help cool one of the hottest parts of your home. Basement fans are somewhat less common, but they help regulate airflow and temperature as well as keeping the air from getting stagnant. Make sure these are all in good working order.
Another way to keep your kitchen from getting hot is grilling outdoors instead. If you’re not in the mood to grill, or find that it’s raining and still muggy outdoors, make sandwiches or a light, cool salad instead.
A home that’s well-insulated acts like a cooler, locking in the cold air and keeping the warm air outside where it belongs. This doesn’t just apply to the summertime, either. Good insulation in your walls, around windows and doors, and in your attic is going to help keep you toasty in the winter months, saving you money all year long.
Turn Down Your Water Heater
Your air conditioning is important, but it’s not the only target for energy savings. Keeping your water heater set to about 120 degrees keeps the shower cooler and a bit more refreshing without freezing you out.
Change Your Filters
Your HVAC system needs to “breathe.” Air filters help to remove contaminants without restricting airflow, but only up to a point; once they’ve filtered enough junk out of the air, they lose efficiency, which in turn makes your AC work harder. Even though it seems (and is) simple, the DoE calls it “the quickest way to save energy on home cooling.”
Fix or Replace Your Air Conditioner?
Annual air conditioner maintenance helps keep your system running its best, but age takes its toll on mechanical systems. Sooner or later, maintenance turns to repairs, and if you find those bills are getting more frequent or more expensive, it’s worthwhile to consider a new air conditioning installation from Ace Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning. We’ll properly size, source, and install a system that saves you money through efficiency month after month. Call us for help with all your HVAC needs!