Here’s a fact that might make you sweat: running your HVAC system (which in the summer typically means your air conditioner) can account for as much as 60% of your energy costs!
No wonder saving money is on everyone’s mind, especially as the summer months start to pick up steam. If you’re tired of watching your bank account go down as the temperature goes up, try these ideas for saving on energy costs and using your air conditioning money more efficiently.
1. Install A Programmable (And Smart) Thermostat
Ever forget to change the thermostat when you leave for the day? If you’re in the habit of raising or lowering the temperature whenever you come and go, there’s bound to be a day when you forget. And that means wasted cooling and wasted money.
How about forgetting to change the thermostat when you leave for the week? If you’ve been saving up for a great summer vacation only to watch your hard earned dollars evaporate into an empty house, the simple switch to a smart thermostat can save you big.
Not only will you be able to set automated temperature changes based on time and day, but you can even adjust it from the touch of your smart phone.
If you have an older house or HVAC system, and like the idea of saving money instead of wasting it unnecessarily, then this single change can be huge.
And here’s a bonus tip: notice where your thermostat is located. If it’s on an exterior wall, move it! Exterior walls tend to be warmer than interior walls and give your thermostat a false sense of temperature. That will force it to kick on a lot more than necessary. And try to keep it out of direct sunlight, and away from lamps and electronics, too.
2. Change Your Air Filters
Sometimes we feel like a broken record on this one. That’s because it’s one of the easiest, least expensive things you can do, not only to save money on energy costs but to save on repairs and lengthen the lifespan of your entire HVAC system.
Dirty, clogged filters are one of the top contributors to poor efficiency and unnecessarily high energy costs. What’s worse, all that dust and debris is a leading cause of allergy symptoms in the home and can even contribute to headaches and other illnesses.
The accumulation of dust, dander, pollen and other particles also puts unnecessary strain on your system, which can lead to breakdowns – and that means money.
As a general rule of thumb, replace your filters every three months minimum, and more often if you have multiple pets or other environmental conditions that can cause them to clog faster.
3. Turn Off Electronics
Want to save money on air conditioning costs? Use it less! That doesn’t mean you need to spend the summer in discomfort, either. It just means paying a little bit more attention to the things that make your air conditioner work harder.
Electronics like computers, TVs, and audio systems all generate heat, which makes your space harder to cool. That makes your air conditioning work harder, which translates to higher bills.
While it may not be practical to shut equipment down all the time, it’s easy enough to put things like your computer or AV system on a power strip that you can turn off when your components aren’t in use.
4. Get Your Air Conditioner Maintained
Here’s another item where we start to sound like a broken record, but trust us, it’s for a good reason! A regularly maintained air conditioner will outlast one that isn’t, which will save you on repairs and replacement costs in the long run.
And in the short run it will absolutely save you on energy costs. Here’s another fun fact: your air conditioner can lose as much as 15% of its efficiency every year!
With regular maintenance your system will continue working at peak efficiency, which will keep you comfortable for less cost.
5. Use A Ceiling Fan
If you want to help your air conditioner do its job a little easier, try a ceiling fan. Sounds counterintuitive – after all, you do have to run the fan, and that electricity costs money.
But the breeze from a fan can actually make it feel as much as 7 degrees cooler, so you can raise the temperature on your thermostat without compromising your comfort.
Since an air conditioner is far more power-hungry than a fan, swapping out one for the other can definitely save on energy costs.
6. Get Humidity Under Control
Humid air feels warmer. That means your air conditioner has to work harder to keep you comfortable. And if there’s one thing that comes with summer heat, it’s humidity, especially if you live anywhere near the Jersey shore!
If you have localized humidity, like a basement that needs help, you can try a portable dehumidifier. But chances are humidity is everywhere, so your best option is a whole house dehumidifier.
Much like a ceiling fan, it uses a fraction of the power of an air conditioner, and you’ll be able to raise the temperature while maintaining your comfort.
Better yet, a dehumidifier can save you money in other ways too – by protecting furniture and hardwood floors from warping and cracking, preserving musical instruments and valuable artwork, even inhibiting mold growth to keep you healthier.
7. Get A New Air Conditioner. Really.
Spending a few thousand dollars to save money on energy costs may sound a little questionable. Maybe in the back of your mind you know it’s a good long term investment, but how practical is it, really?
Well, if your unit is 10 years old or more, a new, more energy efficient unit could actually cut your cooling costs by as much as 50%. It depends on how inefficient your old system is and the quality of the new system you choose, but a good unit can pay for itself within as few as 5 summers.
Plus, you may be eligible for rebates and incentives that will reduce your investment and make the deal that much sweeter.
Bonus Tip: Order Takeout
With all that money you’re saving on energy costs, treat yourself to some great Chinese or a piping hot pizza. Not only will you enjoy the night off, but you’ll be giving your air conditioner a break, too. Cooking, whether stovetop or oven, generates heat that makes your air conditioner work harder.
If you’re thinking about replacing your air conditioner, installing a new thermostat, a dehumidifier, or just have questions about your HVAC system and energy costs, let us know. We’re happy to answer questions and we’ll provide you with a free estimate for any changes you’d like to make.