Staying closer to home this summer you may cut travel and entertainment costs, but you could face higher utility bills as you attempt to keep your home comfortable during the hot summer months. How can you run your air conditioning unit more efficiently to keep your utility costs down?
Low to No Cost
There are some measures you can take to gain efficiency that cost little to nothing. Simply setting the thermostat five to eight degrees higher and keeping blinds or curtains closed during the hottest part of the day increases your AC’s efficiency. Consider installing a programmable thermostat, one that will adjust your settings for times you are away or asleep. Clean your AC condenser, clearing any debris around the unit; vacuum indoor vents, and move any items that block them.
How drafty are your windows? Caulk leaks, seal cracks and weather strip your windows to ensure you don’t lose precious interior cool air. Seal leaks in ductwork, too. Avoid running your dryer or oven during the hottest time of day to keep from adding warm air to your home’s interior. And replace your HVAC filters to keep dust from blocking vents, preventing good air circulation, and straining your system.
Medium to Higher Cost
Install ceiling fans to circulate indoor air and lessen the burden on your air conditioning system. Remember those leaky windows? It may be time to replace them with new energy-efficient models.
Adding insulation to attics and walls also prevents air leaks. These tactics can greatly reduce cooling bills.
How old is your AC system? Older systems often leak refrigerant and need a recharge to remain efficient. These older systems often used R-22 refrigerant, a product now banned from manufacture or importation, making a recharge expensive or impossible. If your AC unit is near 15 years old, look into the cost of replacing it with a new, energy-efficient model. The money spent upfront will be saved over time by the cost savings of running a more efficient system.
Whatever the condition of your AC system, contact a HVAC professional to properly inspect your system and discuss your options for increasing its efficiency. And don’t forget to have them service your AC unit annually to keep it running efficiently and effectively for you all summer.