Lowering your AC costs and Still Staying Cool

Once you have made your decision that you want to enjoy the perks of having some sort of air conditioning system and no longer suffer in silence with the heat waves of summer – there are lots of ways that you can do that while not sending your energy costs out the roof.

Before even considering an expensive system such as central air conditioning, see if you can manage to get a similar effect through the use of better ventilation in your home. Ceiling and window fans are a great option to get the air moving to make it seem less hot. Cross and natural ventilation are other ways to get the air moving around.

If you have central air already and still want to decrease your overall home energy bill expense, then consider installing a programmable thermostat. Have pre set temperatures programmed, so you won’t forget to turn the temperature back up a little bit before you go off to work. There is no sense keep a colder home for the furniture – you can save up to 4% on your air conditioning bill for each degree you raise the temperature. Setting the regular temperature at around 78ºF/26ºC is often enough to make your home comfortable.

If you have a room or window air conditioner, it’s a good idea to keep that room isolated from the rest of the house. Those smaller units are not designed to cool a whole house and will soon be overworked if they are expected to do so. Keep the other doors and windows closed and the room will cool down in no time.

Of course the same goes for rooms that you don’t use. There is no point paying to keep those rooms cool if no one is using them. So for central AC systems, just close the vents to those rooms or turn off window air conditioners if you don’t need them.

If your room air conditioner has an ‘outside’ air option, try not to use it very often. And also remember to always keep your systems cleaned. Replace the filters regularly, especially during the time you use the AC the most. Dirty filters radically affect the efficiency of the whole system and will drive up your costs significantly.

And have your system checked professionally at least once a season to ensure that it is operating efficiently. A professional can check 1) refrigerant charge, 2) airflow, 3) cleaned coils and blower and 4) insulated and non-leaking AC ducts. These components are all very important to ensure the best performance from your home cooling system.

Other quick tips included: using the fan-only option in the nighttime when you are sleeping; use shades, blinds, awnings and window films to keep the sun’s heat off your home; on high humidity days, set the AC fan speed to low; and adjust the temperature depending on the number of people in your home.

Incorporating a few easy tips can reduce your energy bill from anywhere to 10-40% – certainly that’s worth checking into.

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