August 16, 2017

In all likelihood, your air conditioner is the biggest energy consumer in your home. If you're using it regularly, you’re probably used to seeing huge utility bills by now, which is perfectly normal. However, you don’t have to acclimate to high electricity bills, because you can lower them even when you have your AC unit running every day. Following are some of the top AC energy saving tips that could lead to a reduced utilities tab by the end of the month.

Set your thermostat high

For air conditioners, the lower you go, the more money you blow. So, if possible, set the thermostat to the highest temperature that will still keep you feeling cool. Maintaining a temperature that’s 10 to 15 degrees higher than the one you’re used to for 8 hours should save you up to 10% on your cooling bills every year.

Keep the sun out

Some sun rays are good for us, just not during the hottest days of the summer when you and your family are melting in the heat, and your AC unit is doing the best it can to keep everyone cool. The heat that sunlight brings can make your AC unit work harder to cool your home, and an AC unit working hard means it’s consuming more power than it should. So, keep the blinds, curtains, and drapes closed to keep the sun out.

Make sure your home is well-insulated

One of the things that leads to massive energy consumption related to your AC unit is a poorly-insulated home. Older houses typically have insufficient insulation. Cracks are more common, and seals are more worn and weathered. To make sure the insulation in your home is up to par, have a utility provider or contractor perform a home energy audit. An energy auditor checks your house for leaks and makes recommendations to make your home more energy efficiency.

Keep your air filters clean

Over time, the air filters on our air conditioners collect dust and debris, and eventually restrict air flow. When air flow is interrupted, your AC unit will strain to keep your home cool, and that will make it use more energy. Do not wait for your air filters to become clogged. Cleaning and changing them every 30 to 90 days should keep the air flowing smoothly through your unit.

Don't place appliances next to your thermostat

Your thermostat is sensitive to heat. If it senses that the temperature around it remains higher than expected, it will keep the AC running until the whole area is cool enough. So, it makes sense to keep electronics and appliances that generate heat, like TVs, computers, and lamps, away from your thermostat.

Use ceiling fans

Ceiling fans help circulate cool air all throughout the house, and that means your AC doesn’t have to work as hard to pump cool air into the room. The improved air circulation should also allow you to set your thermostat four degrees higher without reducing your comfort. Ceiling fans use less electricity and they help your AC unit do its job more efficiently.

Keep a professional maintenance schedule

Your AC unit will always need regular maintenance, and it would be wise to have qualified professionals perform the task once a year. The AC maintenance technician will ensure that all its essential parts are clean, all drains are clear, and its refrigerant levels are just right, among other things. All these checks make your AC work more efficiently, leading to lower energy use and reduced energy bills.

Replace your old AC unit

An AC unit that is more than 10 years old will probably require major repairs now and then. An air conditioner that is frequently repaired is likely to become less efficient over time. When you decide to replace it, go for an ENERGY STAR room air conditioner. It uses at least 10% less energy than most new models without the ENERGY STAR label. Or, even better, try an AC unit that also has a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER).

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Michelle West, Guest Poster

Michelle West is the Senior Content Editor of New AC Unit. Michelle enjoys writing about topics that help people all over the country make their homes more efficient and environmentally-friendly.