There’s one way to save on summer cooling costs – to reduce the amount of time that your air conditioner runs. For starters, make sure your system is running properly with good maintenance and service. Next, follow these tips to cool for less:
- Set the thermostat as high as comfortably possible during hot weather. The less difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your cooling bill will be. Keep your house warmer when you aren’t home during the day, but cooler when you come home at night.
- Use a smart or programmable thermostat, which saves you money by consistently turning up the thermostat when you’re away. You may set different temperatures for your home depending on whether you’re at work, at home, or in bed at night.
- Clean your system’s filters and coils periodically. A dirty system deteriorates air conditioning performance and increases operating time. Filters should be changed every one to three months and the outdoor coil should be cleaned every year.
- Install LED lights, which emit pleasant light using less energy and without generating heat.
- Keep cooled air inside the home. Caulk and weather strip around doors and windows, close the fireplace damper and fill holes and gaps where wiring and pipes enter the house.
- Insulate your attic to the maximum practical depth of insulation.
- Use kitchen, bath and other ventilation fans only as long as needed. In just one hour, these fans can pull out a houseful of cooled air.
- Don’t use your oven on hot days.
- Line dry your clothes when possible.
- Install shades, blinds, awnings, sun screens or window films on your sunny-side windows.
- Circulate air with ceiling fans. Fans don’t actually cool a room – they just cool you – so be sure to switch the fan off when you’re not in the room.
- Keep the outside air conditioner unit free of air flow obstructions and trim back trees and shrubs at least two feet.
- Maintain your equipment to prevent problems. To keep your system at peak performance, maintenance should be done annually by a professional.
- Select energy-efficient equipment when you buy new heating and cooling equipment. Look for the Energy Star label.
- Closing registers in unused rooms doesn’t usually help to reduce operating hours and may reduce your system’s efficiency.
Certain telltale signs indicate it’s time to replace cooling equipment or improve parts of your system to enhance performance. It may be time to call a professional contractor to help you make a change if:
- Your cooling equipment is 10 years old or more. New Energy Star labeled equipment uses 25 to 40 percent less energy than typical 10-year-old models.
- Your equipment needs frequent repairs and your bills are increasing.
- Your system turns on and off frequently. This can indicate that your cooling system is not the right size leading to poor dehumidification and less comfort.
- Some of your rooms are too hot or too cold. Improper equipment operation or duct problems could be the cause.
- Your home has humidity problems.
- Your home has excessive dust. Leaky ducts can pull particles and air from attics and crawlspaces. Sealing your ducts could be a solution.
- Your cooling system is noisy.