Summer will soon be upon us, which means school’s out, vacations at the beach, more daylight hours, picnics and outdoor sports with family and friends and…long hours of running your air conditioning system. All that cool air can cause your energy bills to add up, but there are ways to save money on air conditioning and still have a comfortable home during the long, hot days of summer. Read on for ways to stay cool without breaking the bank.
1. Use ceiling or room fans
They can’t cool a room by themselves, but in conjunction with your air conditioning system, they can circulate cool air and make a room feel up to 10 degrees cooler, allowing you to turn your thermostat up a few degrees, leading to less overall use of your air conditioning system.
2. Set your thermostat as high as comfortable
Turning your thermostat up just a few degrees can have an impact on your energy usage and monthly bills. And if you are not home, running your air conditioner wastes energy – so don’t forget to turn up your thermostat when you leave. Consider investing in a programmable or smart thermostat, which will allow you to schedule a higher set point when you are not at home and then cool your home to your desired temperature before you return.
3. Minimize Electricity Usage
Throughout the day, minimize heat-generating activities inside your home. Cook with your microwave or grill outside. Run appliances that give off heat, like your washing machine, dryer or dishwasher, after dark when air is cooler, and your home won’t heat up as quickly. And always remember to turn lights, TV, stereo and computers off when you are not in the room.
4. Make sure your air conditioning system is in good working order
Change filters according to the manufacturer’s recommendation, make sure your vents aren’t blocked with dust or debris and that your floor registers aren’t covered by furniture. If you have a heat pump, remove all leaves and other debris that has accumulated during the winter and be sure to clip all plants and trees to leave at least 2 feet of open space around the unit. Prior to the summer season, have your system checked by a professional to ensure it is operating properly and nothing mechanical needs attention. Contact Constellation to schedule a tune-up with one of our licensed air conditioning technicians.
5. Keep window shades and blinds closed during the day
By closing your blinds and curtains when sun is shining through your windows, you can prevent outdoor heat from entering your home. Light-colored window treatments are ideal, since they will reflect, rather than absorb, the sun’s rays.
6. Keep cool air inside
Seal drafty windows and doors with weather stripping. Spring is a good time to have insulation repairs or replacements done, particularly if your home felt more drafty than usual during the winter. Adequate insulation can save money on air conditioning and reduce your energy bills year-round by preventing the transfer of air in and out of your home.
7. Consider upgrading your HVAC system
If your system is more than 10 years old, it likely isn’t as efficient as the newer systems. Current systems have a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) of 13 or higher. If your system’s SEER is lower, you may be spending more money on air conditioning (and heating) than you need to. A Constellation Energy & Comfort Consultant can visit your home and determine which HVAC system would be best for your needs and could help save money on air conditioning. Contact us to request an estimate.