Did you know that the average homeowner pays about $200 per month to run their whole-house air conditioning? Two-thirds of all homes have air conditioning, and combined, these units use about 5% of all the energy produced in the U.S. In other words, A/C uses a lot of energy! So, should we keep our A/C turned off on hot days? Not necessarily. There are ways to save on energy use and still stay cool.
We’re all looking for ways to save money on energy bills, but we want to be comfortable on hot days, too. Air conditioning, combined with a whole house dehumidifier, can improve indoor air quality and inhibit mold and rot. So, A/C use can actually help your home in the long run. The best way to take advantage of these benefits while keeping costs under control is to follow a few simple steps. Doing the following could reduce your energy costs by 20-50%:
1. Maintain your system- Regularly scheduled maintenance is one of the best ways to ensure that your A/C is not wasting your energy dollars. When we do an inspection we check:
– Filters- Dirty filters can cause your A/C to use 5-15% more energy than it should.
– Coils- When your coils are dirty, (in both your inside and outdoors units) air flow is reduced and heat won’t get absorbed properly.
– Fins- Coil fins sometimes get bent, blocking air flow through them. They can be straightened out with a fin comb during inspection.
– Drains- Clogged drains prevent your unit from being able to reduce humidity, which could lead to water damage and mold issues.
– Ducts- Gaps, holes and tears in ductwork cause up to 20% of your conditioned air to escape. Sealing up ducts is essential to efficient operation of your A/C.
2. Operate properly- Improper use of your A/C will negate any energy savings you gain from proper maintenance. When your A/C is on, make sure you close all windows and outside doors. Pay attention to problems before they become bigger. If your A/C trips a breaker, let the unit cool down then reset it. Check the thermostat sensor so that it reads the correct temperature coming into the coil. Of course, proper installation by a qualified professional will eliminate a lot of problems encountered by homeowners when operating their air conditioning.
3. Install an energy-efficient unit- Maybe your old system is maintained properly but not performing well. Or you don’t currently have A/C and want to install it. In both cases, installing an energy-efficient unit is a wise choice. For example, Energy Star qualified models can save you a month’s worth of operating costs in one year. That’s about $200 dollars in energy savings.
By taking simple, common-sense measures to keep your system operating efficiently, you’ll be able to stay comfortable without going broke doing it. Contact us for more money-saving tips on staying cool when the temperature soars.