Air Conditioner Tips to Beat The Heat and Your Bill
The summer months bring on the heat, and your air conditioner might be the only way to survive it. Of course, using the air conditioner means your electric bill could triple. Do you suffer to save a few dollars, or is there a better way?
To answer that you just need to scroll down and read through these solutions that will not only improve how quickly and efficiently your home cools down, but how you can save money in the process.
1. Is it time to replace your HVAC model?
The first step in making your air conditioner work the best is making sure you have an energy efficient model, and not something that is too old. An older model will not cool as well as a newer model, and it will take more energy, meaning it will cost more on your bill. A newer model has its costs as well, of course, from purchase to installation, but when you factor in the money you save, you will pay off the unit in under five years.
2. Check your filters
Old or new, the filters on your air conditioner will make a difference in what is coming into your place and how well it comes in. A dirty air filter is much like a sink drain in that it gets dirty and needs to be cleaned or replaced. Typically, these slide in and out, making them easy to replace, and a cleaner filter creates a better airflow. You can do this yourself at a rather low cost so long as you know which size filter you need.
3. Keep your A/C in the shade
Your air conditioner unit, no matter the size, produces heat when in use. The cooler the unit is kept, the cooler the air will be coming in. Otherwise, you are paying for nothing more than a giant fan. By placing your air conditioner in a shady spot, you will use less energy and use that energy efficiently. Sometimes, a simple umbrella or shade covering will help unless your air conditioner is a ground model, which can have a covering built around it.
4. Your thermostat should be kept cool
When it comes to simple tricks for keeping your home cool, this is one of the easiest. Your thermostat reads the temperature in the house on the basis of the air around it. The hotter the air is closest to the thermostat, the higher it will read, and the more likely it will be to turn on when you really don’t need it to. Keep appliances and outlets away from the thermostat as they will produce heat which can give you a false reading. Don’t stand near the thermostat for too long either as your own body temperature can register as heat.
5. Touch that dial to save some money
If you don’t mind it being a little warm in the house, reset your dial so that it doesn’t turn on until the temperature hits 80 degrees. This will work the best in homes that have little or no carpeting. The tile or wood floor will stay cool longer, adding to the effect and allowing you to withstand a slightly higher temperature. The higher the temperature is before you turn the AC on, the less energy you will use. However, it will also take longer to cool down if you let it get too hot. Carpeted floors also take longer to cool down as they will retain the heat the longest.
6. Consider a programmed response
If you spend a little money on some technology, you can get a programmable keypad that will regulate the temperature in your home for you. You can pre-set it to the temperature you like, or have it only turn on at a certain temperature or when you specifically want it to, such as certain times of the day. It’s energy efficient, and keeps better control than a manual unit.
7. Weatherize so you don’t cool the whole neighborhood
Your windows and doors should have the right seals on them so that cool air is not flowing out when you have it flowing into your home. You want to cool down your house, not the entire neighborhood. Weatherizing your home can be done with proper seals on the doors, many of which are easy to install. Make sure the windows are properly caulked with a sealant that is best for your area. This helps by keeping the cold air in during the summer and the cold air out in the winter.
8. Watch the pavement and mind the landscaping
Concrete, asphalt, rock and any other substance that is similarly used as a gardening decoration is best kept away from your air conditioner. These absorb heat from the sun, and will generate it right in your unit if they are placed too closely to it. Keep them away unless your unit is in a spot that gets no sun. Plain dirt is best, but wood chips will do the trick as well, with a better look as well as a better feel for your home. The same can be said for solar panels or solar lights.
9. Keep gardening away from the unit
While a green yard always looks the best, it can have a negative effect on your energy costs if it’s too close to your air conditioning unit. The dirt and debris could get sucked in, causing damage or a slow progression of the fans. It could also clog the air filter that much faster. If you have foliage around the unit such as bushes or vines, keep it at least a foot away to prevent these problems. Weed the area so nothing grows too quickly, especially in the months before you plan on turning the unit on.
10. Feel the breeze from your fans
When you are feeling a little warm but it doesn’t seem quite that hot yet, you can save more energy by simply turning on the ceiling fans. If you switch them to blow counterclockwise, they will blow the cool air down instead of pulling it up. This works with or without the air conditioner on, allowing you to either cool the house down faster or keep a regular temperature. Even small stand fans will produce less energy and can keep the house cooled longer.
11. Install window film to save energy
Windows draw in the heat of the sun, which in turn will heat up your home faster, especially in that general area. If it happens to be near the thermostat, this will affect your readings as well. Window film or tinting will reduce the amount of heat that comes through the window as well as double the sun protection on furniture and carpet near that window. It can be installed professionally or by yourself if you have the patience and the time to do so.
12. Call an HVAC professional
If you are ever in doubt about your unit, you will want to call an HVAC professional. Let them run tests and clean out your air conditioner twice a year so that you are sure it is in perfect working condition. They will be able to tell you if it needs to be serviced, cleaned, replaced and more. They can even suggest what types of models would work the best in your home. Make sure you have a licensed and bonded technician looking at your equipment so that you get the best service possible.