Hack Your Air Conditioning to Keep Your Energy Bills Cool When the Weather Heats Up
The dog days of summer are here, and the temperature is rising steadily. At this time of year, air conditioner is not a luxury but a necessity. But depending on where you live, running the A/C can represent up to half of your power bill! Don't let your power bill go the way of the thermometer - follow these tips to stay cool without letting your wallet go into the red.
Did you know?According to the US Department of Energy, you can cut your use of air conditioning by 20-50% by switching to high-efficiency A/C units and taking other energy-saving actions
Our Top Tips
Be sparing with your A/C use
Set your thermostat as high as is comfortably possible - the less of a difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your cooling bill will be. Resist the urge to set your thermostat at a cooler setting than normal when you first turn it on - it's not going to cool your home any faster, and will only mean that you're making it work for longer than it needs to.
A/C Tip #1Install and use a programmable thermostat - you could save up to 10% on yearly heating/cooling costs!
Go with the flow
Good ventilation in your home can go a long way towards making you feel cool and will take the pressure off your A/C use. You can use fans to maximise comfort even when it's time to turn on the A/C - try using an interior fan along with a window A/C unit to spread coool air throughout the home without increasing your power use considerably.
Watch the speed of your AC's fan as well - except for very humid days, it should be set on high. On humid days, however, it should be set to slow in order to remove more moisture from the air.
A/C Tip #2Try using ceiling fans instead of the A/C - they can allow you to raise your thermostat temperature for up to four degrees without affecting your comfort.
Stay in the dark
While you should keep your curtains open in the winter to take advantage of the sun's natural heat, you should beware the power of the sun's rays during the summer. Keep your curtains drawn during the heat of the day to block out some of the heat from the sun. Take advantage of sunny days by keeping the lights off during the day. Light can add unnecessary heat, especially if you use incandescent bulbs, and may not be necessary if you get enough light from your windows.
Give your A/C some TLC
Make sure your air conditioning unit is running efficiently as possible by keeping it maintained. Consider calling in a professional for a pre-season tune-up sometime in the spring to make sure everything is in good working order. If it's time to replace it, consider going for an Energy Star-grade model, which can be 10-15% more efficient than standard models. Whatever model you choose, go for the highest energy rating (SEER for central systems, EER for window A/C units) available to you.
A/C Tip #3Regularly change the air filters on your A/C unit (around once a month) - this can cut its energy use by up to 15%
Be appliance smart
Make sure that any appliances that give off heat (such as TVs or lamps) are placed away from your thermostat. Avoid using appliances that heat your home - consider using the microwave or an outdoor barbecue instead of the oven or the stove.
Insulate, insulate, insulate
Upgrading your insulation is an important home improvement that can deliver longtime savings. Whether it's for cooling or even heating purposes, letting your home leak hot or cold air is basically the equivalent of throwing out money!
A/C Tip #4Seal ducts and insulate - according to the US Department of Energy, up to 30% of a cooling system's energy consumption is lost through air ducts
Did you know?As market prices for electricity tend to rise in the summer, watch out for high power rates if you purchase electricity from your local utility (which can only offer you a variable rate). This is why we recommend choosing fixed rates for electricity, which are only available from alternate suppliers. Call us at phone currently not available to find out more about the options available in your area.