Nothing feels worse than feeling like you’re living in a pressure cooker. Except maybe that bill that comes at the end of the month. The cost of cooling a home in the middle of summer is astronomical. Especially in some of the hottest areas of the country where cooling costs are easily a few hundred dollars per month.
Luckily, there are a few ways to save money on air conditioning by helping your air conditioner to run better, which will save you a little cash throughout the summer.
These low-cost (or no-cost) tips keep you cool, and save you money, as you beat the heat this summer.
1. Seal Windows and Doors
Most homeowners are losing precious cold air conditioning through unsealed windows and doors. An easy way to check for this is to go outside and run your hand along doors and windows to check for leaking cold air. If you notice a draft, make sure windows and doors are completely shut and freshly caulked around the edges.
Solar screens, window films, and mesh window screens are other options to save money on air conditioning by blocking up to 70 percent of solar energy before it gets into the house. As long as you keep your windows securely closed, these additions can make a big difference.
2. Proper Thermostat Placement
If your thermostat is placed on an exterior wall or near a window, it can register an incorrect reading and prematurely kick on your air conditioner more frequently. You’ll need an HVAC contractor to reposition your thermostat, but it might be worth the call to save money on air conditioning every year. This could also be a great time to upgrade to a smart thermostat which can help you regulate your temperature more carefully.
3. What Temperature Should I Set My Air Conditioner in the Summer?
Before you head out for dinner or on vacation, turn off your air conditioner or turn the temperature up a few degrees. The smaller the difference between the outdoor and indoor temperature, the more money you will save on air conditioning.
You can save 10 percent a year on your air conditioning bills by setting your thermostat just 10 to 15 degrees higher for eight hours each day, according to the Energy Office. The US Department of Energy recommends aiming for an indoor temperature of 78 degrees F when you’re not at home. Having a programmable thermostat, you can control from your phone makes this a lot easier to control your setting while you’re away and still ensure your home is comfortable when you arrive.
My Trusted Contractor is proud to work with local contractors all throughout the states of Indiana and Kentucky, including the cities of Indianapolis, IN, Fort Wayne, IN, Jeffersonville, IN, Louisville, KY, and Lexington, KY. Find a local contractor for your next HVAC project!
4. Avoid Adding More Heat
Try to avoid activities that generate a lot of heat, such as cooking on the stovetop and using the dishwasher or clothes dryer. Instead, cook outside, hang clothes on a line, wash dishes by hand, anything you can do to reduce heat can save money on air conditioning by reducing the overall temperature of the home naturally.
5. Utilize What You Already Have
There are lots of ways to use alternative methods to cool your space. Go old school and turn on fans, close curtains, and blinds. While turning on a fan won’t cool your whole home, it can help your air conditioner to work more efficiently. Ceiling fans can make a huge difference in circulating the air to keep things cool. If you have a basement, chill out there during scorching hot days.
6. Plant Trees Around Your Home
OK, this one might not help next month’s bills, but it will make a huge difference over time. If you can reduce the amount of sunlight that comes through your windows you can also reduce the need to crank up the air conditioning. Using trees or shrubs to shade your home can increase your air conditioner’s efficiency by up to 10 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. In the meantime, you can use blackout curtains in west- or east-facing windows to save money on your air conditioning bill.
7. Keep Up with Repairs and Maintenance
Even if you have the most advanced HVAC system, it won’t save money on air conditioning bills if you don’t care for your equipment. Dirty filters can quickly block airflow and make units work harder to cool your home. Simply cleaning and/or replacing filters once per month can lower your energy consumption by 5% to 15%. Also, be sure that floor registers aren’t blocked with dust—or furniture. The outdoor AC units should also be clear of dirt, leaves, branches, and grass. Make sure indoor and outdoor units are free and clear to give your system the freedom it needs to perform at its best.
During the hot days of spring and summer, you want to do everything you can to keep your home cool without breaking the bank. Try a few of these tips for 2-3 months and see what a difference they can make. Simple and inexpensive actions can create maximum savings throughout the year.
If you find that these tips are not saving you money on your air conditioning bill, then the best option is to call a professional HVAC contractor to come out and take a look. Find a licensed local HVAC contractor near you to help keep you cool this summer.