6 Ways to Save Money on Your Air Conditioning Bill
By NOPEC on July 30, 2021
Summer is supposed to be a time for fun and relaxation, but all too often high utility costs can cause many Ohioans to dread the bright, warmer months. Instead of worrying about how you will cover the costs of rising energy bills, why not take the time to implement small energy-efficient changes throughout your home? Minor adjustments to your energy consumption habits can significantly reduce your home’s electricity usage.
Start looking forward to summer again when you apply these 6 simple tips that will keep you cool and save you money all season long.
Clean Your A/C Unit
As with any appliance, your air conditioning unit needs regular servicing and maintenance to optimize efficiency and avoid repair costs. Dirty air conditioner filters, fans, and fins are a surefire way to damage your unit, pollute your air, and cost you money.
When you sign up to receive NOPEC’s Maintenance Reminders, you will get reminders directly to your email inbox letting you know it is time to clean your air conditioning unit. Regular servicing such as this is one of the easiest things you can do to save on your electric utility bills and avoid expensive repair costs.
Keep Your Curtains Closed
If your home has inefficient double-pane windows, 76% of the sunlight that hits those windows is converted to heat inside your home. This heat can lead to a significant increase in indoor temperatures. Your A/C unit will compensate for this heat by burning more energy to keep your home a comfortable climate.
To reduce the energy used by your air conditioner and to limit the amount of residual heat entering your home, consider closing your curtains, shades, and blinds. Closing your curtains during the summer months has been shown to reduce heat gains by 33%.
Even if your home has energy-efficient windows, it’s always good practice to keep your windows and doors covered during peak daytime hours to reduce energy loss, lower heating and cooling bills, and improve home comfort.
Don't Set Your Thermostat Too Low
One of the easiest ways you can save money on your utility bills is to be strategic about when exactly to cool your home. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that you set your thermostat to 78 degrees while you are home, and to increase that temperature when you leave.
Homeowners can save an estimated 10 percent a year by setting the thermostat 10-15 degrees warmer for eight hours a day. You can prioritize those cooler hours for when you are home to make sure you remain comfortable. When you are not home, that is an ideal time to give your air conditioning unit a break by increasing your thermostat setting by a few degrees.
Don't Block the Registers
If you have a forced-air cooling system in your home, you likely have registers or vents that circulate cold air throughout individual rooms. The air coming from those vents should be able to freely flow into a room without any blockages or barriers. When vents and registers are blocked, air backs up into the ductwork and causes pressure to build in your home’s HVAC system. This pressure can reduce your unit’s ability to move air by 20%.
Impeding this flow of air with bulky furniture or other household items will cause your air conditioning unit to work inefficiently. Your unit will continue to pump cold air into the room to compensate for the restricted air flow.
Not only will a blocked register result in unnecessary energy usage, but the lack of airflow can also cause your unit to freeze, resulting in expensive repair costs.
If you must block or close any of your registers, make sure it is no more than one-quarter of the total registers in your home. If you cut off or restrict more than one-quarter of your home’s airflow, your A/C will no longer be cost-effective and could break.
Use Ceiling Fans to Cool Your Home
Not many people realize that fans do not actually cool the air in a room. This information does not change the fact that ceiling fans can still be incredibly useful in the summer months.
Fans utilize something called the wind chill effect to make people perceive that they are cooler. Wind chill is when moving air blows against bare skin, giving the perception that the air is lower in temperature than it really is. In some instances, this effect can make a person feel up to four degrees cooler.
To generate a wind chill effect, fans must be turning in the right direction. To make sure your fan is properly set, stand below the unit and look up at it while it is running. The blades of the fan should be rotating counterclockwise. The angle of the blades as they rotate counterclockwise forces air to circulate down onto any individuals in the room, which will create the wind chill effect.
When home, make sure you switch your fans off when you exit the room. Since your fans are incapable of actually cooling anything, leaving them on all day when no one is around does nothing but waste energy.
Replace Light Bulbs
How are light bulbs related to air conditioning? Traditional incandescent and halogen bulbs create light through heat. Energy audits show that because of this, 90 percent of the energy incandescent and halogen bulbs use goes to generating this excessive heat as opposed to the actual light they are used for.
This unnecessary heat wastes electricity and, in turn, negatively impacts your utility bills. Consider replacing incandescent bulbs with CFL (compact fluorescent light), or LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs to save energy.
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Categories: Energy Efficiency