Most people tend to crank up their AC when the weather turns hotter. The average American home tends to spend $422 on extra energy consumption to run their AC system during the summer months. This is understandable, investing in an AC system to keep the indoor temperatures cool and comfortable is a waste of money, if it’s unused. But, it is possible to keep your home cool throughout the summer without paying exorbitant energy bills.
Is This Really Possible?
Yes, but it will take a little time and effort to make the changes that can support your AC system. When the air conditioning is performing efficiently, you may be surprised at the savings that can be made. In this article, we will look at seven ways that you can reduce the costs of running your air conditioning system during the summer months:
1. The Ceiling Fans
If you have a ceiling fan, it’s a useful way to make the rooms feel cooler than they actually are. The fans are less expensive to run than the AC system and if they are used at the same time you don’t need to set the temperature too low. In fact, you can offset the thermostat by up to 4º with no appreciable loss of cooling performance. The average cost of running a single ceiling fan is around $0.01 per hour depending on the speed and if you’re using the built-in lights. When you compare this to the average running costs of a central air conditioner system at $0.36, it’s easy to see that savings can be made.
2. A Smart Thermostat
Many aspects of modern life have had an upgrade with smart systems that allow the user unparalleled control. This is very applicable when it comes to your HVAC system which you could control remotely in real time with a handy app on your phone. Because the smart thermostat will know when you’re away you can set it to take a well earned break. It can then turn on again to save energy with no loss of performance. Of course, you can program a programmable thermostat to do the same thing. But, there is one key difference, you cannot change the timings remotely if you’re delayed for any reason. A smart thermostat can also be activated via voice commands and it will monitor key components to ensure that they’re working efficiently.
3. Consider the Thermostat Placement
If you’re considering an upgrade to a programmable or a smart thermostat, it’s a great idea to carefully consider the placement before installation. The thermostat contains a sensor that monitors the indoor temperatures and sends that data to the HVAC system. The best way to think of your thermostat is that it’s the brain of your entire heating and cooling system. So, if the sensor unit is confused because it’s been placed in direct sunlight or a colder and darker area, this will affect the entire home. The HVAC system will be confused, it will act erratically, and turning on and off again at the wrong times is a waste of energy. The ideal location for a thermostat is a centrally located wall that is located away from vents and windows.
4. Retreat to the Basement
Warm air is lighter than cold air and this is why the basement tends to feel colder than the rest of your home. So, if you have a basement room where you can hang out during the day, you can reduce the running time of your AC system. You can partially or fully close the basement vents for a while because the naturally cool environment may be enough to meet your needs.
5. Sealing Air Leaks
If your home has air leaks around the doors and windows, this will allow untreated air to enter and treated air can escape. This lowers the energy efficiency of your HVAC system and this will be reflected in your energy bills. Another location that can cause problems are leaks where the siding and brick at the foundations meet. If you have leaks in the ductwork, this is also a major problem and this is especially true if the air leak is in the attic. The best course of action is to contact your local heating and cooling specialist and ask about an energy audit. This will identify problem areas where you may have energy inefficiency that is costing you money.
6. Home Insulation Levels
Home insulation is a crucial part of any energy saving strategy and as a bonus, this is a passive technology. Once the insulation has been paid for and installed it will continue to work with input from the homeowner and it will not consume any energy. A lack of sufficient insulation is a major problem, according to the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association, around 90% of single-family U.S. homes do not have adequate insulation levels. Making an upgrade to the attic insulation in your home is a sound investment. This will lower your greenhouse gas emissions, reduce your energy bills and add to the value of your home.
7. Regular AC System Maintenance
Many people ignore the maintenance needs of their AC system and this is a bad idea. The air conditioner is complex, it works hard and it has electronic, electrical, and mechanical moving parts. When an AC system is new, it operates at peak efficiency, but it will lose a little performance and energy efficiency every year after. This can be mitigated with regular AC system maintenance that keeps the equipment working well. Another advantage is that early detection and fixing of smaller issues are less expensive than more extensive repairs later. Finally, the useful lifespan of the system will be longer with regular maintenance. When you delay the need for a replacement, you can save a lot of money in the medium to long-term.
If you want to upgrade your thermostat or schedule some essential AC system maintenance, contact your local HVAC specialist today.