7 Summer Air Conditioning Rules to Save you Money
Don't blow all your money on your air conditioning trying to keep cool. Your electricity bill can skyrocket, but being hot and uncomfortable isn't appealing either. Use these tips and pay less and still keep your house comfortable this summer. If you can follow these 7 rules you'll be on your way to saving money and energy on air conditioning this summer.
ONLY COOL YOUR HOME, NOT THE WHOLE NEIGHBORHOOD!
Is your home brand new? If not, it's likely the cold air you're paying for to keep you comfortable is seeping out though worn door and window seals, sneaky cracks that are difficult to spot, and a poorly insulated attic.
If you are unsure just how bad this may be, consider signing up for a home energy audit with your utility provider or a local contractor. A certified home energy rater or auditor will check your home for leaks and recommend the best way to make your home more energy efficient.
Don't want to spring for an audit? Do a mini audit yourself. Stand outside your home and run your hand along windows and doors. Can you feel the cold air escaping? If you do, caulk around leaky windows and add insulation around doors.
GET SMART – UPGRADE YOUR THERMOSTAT
If you haven't upgraded to a smart thermostat – such as Ecobee, Lyric, Lux or Nest – it's time to make a change. Smart thermostats can regulate heating and cooling when you're not home to save money. Plus, you can adjust the settings remotely using an app on your phone. Some even work with Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, Apple HomeKit, Wink, Google Home and other smart home platforms. Don't be intimidated. Installation is meant to be do-it-yourself. If you do you run into trouble, you know we can help!
THERMOSTAT LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Thermostat placement can play a big part in how well your air conditioner works. If you put it on a wall right next to a hot window, for instance, your air conditioner will kick on much more often than it needs to because it will think the room is hotter than it actually is. You also don't want it too close to the vent or unit because it will think the room is cooler as a whole. So be smart about it and you'll enjoy lasting comfort.
USE A FAN
Sometimes you don't need to amp up the thermostat to feel cooler. Using a ceiling fan can make a room feel 10 degrees cooler and uses 10 percent of the energy of a central air conditioner. Remember – direction matters! Set your ceiling fan to rotate counter-clockwise during the summer months. This helps keep the air temperature in the room level.
If you want to get high-tech, you can install smart ceiling fans that connect to an app. You can schedule the times when these fans turn on and off, and you can control their speed without standing on your tiptoes.
KEEP CURTAINS AND BLINDS CLOSED
It makes no sense to let the hot sun in when you are trying to keep cool. Keep those windows closed and covered! It can also help insulate your windows, which stops the cold air from escaping.
BUMP UP THE THERMOSTAT
Don't fall into the trap that many do. You will not save money by keeping the house cool when you leave because it won't have to work as hard to recool the home. This simply isn't the case. The most inexpensive way to use your air conditioner is to turn the thermostat up when you leave the house.
Air conditioning systems operate most efficiently at full speed during longer periods of time. So kicking it on a lower temperature when you get home will save you more money than the A/C cycling on and off while you're away.
Hint, hint. Remember that tip above about installing a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat can make it super easy to keep your A/C at the right temperature. You can program the unit to work at higher temperatures while you're at work and cool down right before you get home.
DON'T SET IT LOW
Always set your thermostat to the highest temperature you can stand to save the most money. Even a small change in the temperature can save you big bucks. You can save 10 percent a year on your cooling bills by setting your thermostat just 10 to 15 degrees higher for eight hours each day (like when you are at work or out running errands for the day). The US Department of Energy recommends aiming for an indoor temperature of 78 degrees F when you're at home.