Ways To Save Money On Your Air Conditioning Costs
If you have central air conditioning or a window air conditioning unit, you can cut your electric bills significantly, especially in very warm climates, by following these energy-saving cooling tips for when the cooling season begins.
- When buying a window air conditioning unit, more is not necessarily better. Base the size of the air conditioning unit on the size of the room or the area that you wish to cool. Also consider the other factors that will affect the temperature in the room, such as how many windows it has and what direction they face, such as north, south, etc. An air conditioning unit that is too big for the room will work more than necessary and cost you more money to operate.
- When you’re shopping for a central air conditioning system, make sure the SEER number (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) is 13 or better (14 in warmer climates). A lower SEER number means a less efficient system and while it may be less costly to purchase, it will cost you more to run. Look for an EER (energy efficiency ratio) of 11 or higher for room air conditioners. A higher efficiency unit will cost more, but if you live in a hot climate, it will pay for itself in a few years by through reduced electric bills.
- Perform regular maintenance on your air conditioning unit or system. Replace the filter monthly during the cooling season and have a professional service your system at the beginning of each cooling season.
- A cooling system is one of the biggest energy users in your home (second only to your heating system, depending on where you live). If you have an old air conditioning system with a SEER rating of less than 8, it may be worthwhile to consider replacing it with a more efficient system. You should be able to recoup the cost in just a few years.
- Install a programmable thermostat so you can vary the temperature according to when you’re home. Set it to 78 degrees when you’re home. If you’ll be gone for more than a few hours, it makes sense to set the air conditioning at 85 degrees while you’re gone. In extremely hot conditions, it may be better to leave it set at a constant temperature.
- Make sure your air conditioning condenser is located in a shady spot and has room to dispose of the heated air it removes from your house. Don’t crowd it with shrubs or anything else.
- Plant shade trees and shrubs around your house to help reduce the heat of the sun, especially on the west and south sides. This can reduce your cooling costs by up to 30%.
- Sealing up air leaks in your house will reduce your air conditioning costs as well as heating costs. Caulk or seal penetrations where utilities come into your home (such as plumbing pipes, electric lines, dryer vents, etc.). Fill gaps around chimneys. Install weather stripping around drafty windows and doors.
- Close drapes on the sunny side of your house during the day.
- Install awnings on the windows on the sunny side of your house.
- Install energy efficient ceiling fans and run them on hot days. If it’s just a little too warm for comfort, use the ceiling fan without air conditioning. If it’s hot enough to require air conditioning, using the ceiling fans at the same time allows you to raise the temperature setting by several degrees, which will reduce your costs. Use the ceiling fan only when you’re in the room, because running the fan doesn’t actually lower the temperature. The moving air increases the amount of evaporation from your skin and helps cool you off.
- Consider putting reflective window tint on your windows to reduce the amount of heat absorbed.
- If you’re building, buying, or considering repainting, choose lighter colors for the exterior of your home. The darker the color of your house, the more heat it will absorb.
- Thirty percent of the heat in your house is absorbed through the roof. Make sure your attic is properly ventilated. Soffit or eave vents allow cooler air to enter. A ridge vent or an attic fan can significantly reduce your cooling costs.
- Any heat that’s generated inside your home has to be removed by your cooling system, so avoid generating heat inside your home whenever possible. Cook on your outdoor grill as often as possible, or use a crockpot and the microwave oven. Use the ‘air dry’ setting on your dishwasher.
- Make sure the cooled air coming from your air conditioning vents is not obstructed by furniture or draperies.
- Close off rooms that you aren’t using and the cooling ducts to those rooms.
- Turn off lights when not in use. Lights produce heat, which makes your air conditioning system work harder (and cost more).
- Your computer and other home electronic office/entertainment equipment generate heat. Turn them off when they’re not in use.
Need to purchase or replace your central air conditioning system? Contact us at 717.299.5641 or email us to schedule an appointment with one of our Comfort Advisors.
See our feature Is It Better To Turn Off Air Conditioning Or Leave It On? to learn more about air conditioning system operation in hot weather.
If you would like to consider adding a ceiling fan to a room, contact us at 717.299.5641 or email us. We can prepare an estimate for you to add one.
Be sure to have your central air conditioning system checked before the first heat wave! Contact us at 717.299.5641 or email us to schedule a service call.