How to Save Money on Air Conditioning Costs this Summer

HVAC Logo IconBy Tom MoorJune 13, 2024
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Keep More of Your Hard-Earned Money with These Helpful Tips

Nothing beats the feeling of stepping through the front door on a scorching summer day and being greeted by a refreshing blast of cool air. But if you’re cranking up the AC too much, especially when you’re away from home, you could be in for a rude awakening when you open your next electric bill. HVAC.com provides helpful tips to keep your air conditioning costs under control for the remainder of the summer.

Tips for Lowering Cooling Costs

During the summer, air conditioning accounts for about 19% of electricity consumption in U.S. homes, causing utility bills to increase sharply. However, that figure is typical of an average home. Implementing some energy-efficient measures can save money on air conditioning and significantly reduce your bill.

Here are a few tips to consider:

Turn Up the Thermostat

This may seem like a simple tip, but it can take some time to adjust to a different temperature in your home. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) suggests keeping your thermostat at 78 degrees during the summer for the right balance between comfort and energy efficiency.

If 78 is too warm, start by turning the thermostat up a notch or two. Every degree above 72 can save you about 3% on cooling costs. 

Preset Your Thermostat

If you don’t already own a programmable or smart thermostat, it might be worth investing in one. These devices allow you to preset temperatures based on the day of the week and time of day for increased efficiency. For example, during weekdays in the summer, setting the temperature to 78 degrees from 9 to 5 while you’re away and automatically adjusting to 74 before you return can result in significant energy savings.

Use Ceiling Fans

Consider turning on ceiling fans in occupied rooms during the summer months. Turning ceiling fans on in a counterclockwise direction creates a gentle breeze, also referred to as a “wind chill” effect on the skin. This will help you feel cooler without needing to lower the temperature on your thermostat. 

According to the DOE, using ceiling fans allows you to raise the temperature by 4 degrees during summer months without compromising comfort, potentially resulting in a 30% decrease in energy costs. Make sure you turn fans off when you leave rooms so you don’t waste energy.

Close Curtains and Blinds

Keep curtains, blinds, and window treatments closed during the hottest parts of the day to block out sunlight and prevent heat buildup. This simple practice can reduce heat gain by up to 77%.

Seal Duct Leaks

Air duct leaks can lead to a host of problems, including energy loss, increased utility bills, inconsistent temperatures, and poor air quality. It’s estimated that up to 20 to 30% of conditioned air escapes through these pesky leaks.

With the right tools and know-how, you can perform DIY duct sealing. Click here for a helpful guide on how to seal air duct leaks in your home. Consider contacting a professional if you observe extensive damage to your air ducts, or for leaks in difficult-to-reach areas. Professionals use specialized equipment and advanced techniques when sealing ducts to ensure a long-lasting seal.

Use Exhaust Fans Sparingly

While exhaust fans are great to use in bathrooms and kitchens to remove excess moisture and odors from cooking and bathing, try and use them sparingly. Exhaust fans can also pull cool air from your home, causing your air conditioner to run longer cycles and leading to high air conditioning costs.

How Regular Maintenance Can Keep Air Conditioning Costs In Check

One of the most important tips to save money on air conditioning costs is investing in regular maintenance. AC maintenance, such as replacing air filters, checking refrigerant levels, and adjusting and cleaning necessary components, ensures that your system operates at peak efficiency. By maintaining optimal performance, your AC unit consumes less energy, resulting in lower utility bills during the summer months.

Maintenance should ideally be performed in the spring before you start using the system regularly. Also, make sure to replace your HVAC system’s air filter every 2-3 months, or according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

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