In hot parts of the US such as Texas and Florida, staying cool is an expensive exercise that costs the average family hundreds of dollars a year. That does not mean everyone spends the same amount on cooling costs though. Your neighbors might be spending only half of what you are spending because they know how to save on cooling costs and you don’t – yet. After reading this article though, and applying the principles you will learn here, yours might become one of the most energy efficient houses on the block.
So if you want to become an expert on how to save money on AC keep reading.
- Replace Your Old Air Conditioner With a New, More Energy-Efficient One
Replacing your pre-2010 central or window AC unit with an energy-efficient model can reduce your residential cooling costs by up to 50 percent and could pay for itself in as little as five years. This is particularly true in areas where the climate is hot and humid. When buying a new AC, check its SEER (Seasonal Energy-Efficiency Ratio) or EER (Energy-Efficiency Ratio). While older models typically had ratings of between 6 and 7, modern units are legally required to have SEER ratios of 13 or more and EER ratios of 8 or more.
- Buy The Correct Size Air Conditioning System
When replacing your old air conditioning system with a new one, bigger is not necessarily better. Get advice from a qualified air conditioning contractor about this. If you buy a unit that’s too big for your home it will result in frequent cycling. This will lead to inefficient operation, which will in turn increase instead of decrease operating costs.
- Get A Programmable Thermostat
If you are still wondering how to save on cooling costs, getting a programmable thermostat is a very affordable and easy upgrade. After installing it, set your AC system between 4 and 6 degrees warmer when you’re at work or elsewhere. This could reduce your energy bill by as much as 20 percent. Such a thermostat should easily pay for itself within a relatively short time.
- Get a Ceiling Fan
While a ceiling fan does not actually cool a room, via the wind-chill effect it does make it feel up to 7 degrees cooler. If you use a ceiling fan with an AC unit it will help to spread the cool air more efficiently. This will make it possible to raise the AC thermostat a few degrees without causing any discomfort. Setting your ceiling fans to blow downward will also improve air circulation and further reduce cooling cost.
- Properly Maintain Your Home’s Cooling System
You can have an energy-efficient AC system with a programmable thermostat, but without properly maintaining the equipment you will just remain dreaming about how to save money on AC without any real results. Replace and/or clean all the filters every month. This could reduce energy usage by up to 15 percent. And if your home has a central AC system, ensure that dust doesn’t block the floor registers.
An AC unit’s condenser coils (outside) and evaporator should also be dirt-free without grass, branches, or fallen leaves obstructing airflow. Clip foliage regularly so it doesn’t come nearer than 2 feet to the condenser. A properly maintained home cooling system will ensure that you remain on track to own one of the most energy efficient houses in your part of town.
- Close Blinds, Curtains, And Shades
In your endeavors to reduce cooling cost you might discover that a very old trick can save as much, if not more than many high-tech solutions: Close blinds, curtains, and shades. When fully closed and lowered on a window that gets sun all day long, highly reflective blinds might be able to cut heat gain by as much as 45 percent. The lighter the color of the blinds, the better they will be able to deflect the scorching rays of the sun. Positioning shades as near as possible to window panes will also help them to prevent outdoor heat from coming inside.
- Reduce Cooling Cost By Preventing Heat From Building Up During The Day
If you are still trying to learn how to save on cooling costs, make a mental note of this: As soon as the outside temperature starts exceeding the temperature inside your home, try to keep activities such as using the clothes dryer or dishwasher and cooking on the stove to a minimum. Instead of using the stove, try using the microwave or grill the food outside. Hang wet clothes outside on the washing line. And if it’s a really hot day wash the dishes by hand. Other important heat generators include hot baths, televisions, stereos, and computers.
- Shift To Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs
If you are serious about yours becoming one of the most energy efficient houses in the suburb, here’s another tip. You are probably already aware that CFL bulbs use less energy. What you might not know is that they also reduce cooling cost. The reason is simple: dissimilar to incandescent bulbs, they emit surprisingly little heat. That is because up to 90 percent of the power used by incandescent bulbs doesn’t get converted to light but to heat. And that means higher cooling bills.
- Really Want To Own One Of The Most Energy Efficient Houses In Your Area? Fix Leaking Air Conditioning Ductwork
This is another really important tip if you want to learn how to save money on ac. If you live in a home that’s less than ten years old, chances are that the ductwork has been sealed properly. In older houses, up to 40 percent of your chill dollars might be seeping through the gaps in duct joints. When the ducts run through a basement or attic this cool air simply goes to waste. You will probably need a professional to test the system for leaks before fixing it. If you feel you have enough knowledge and experience to do the job yourself, start by examining the ductwork for splits, cracks, or bad connections. Switch the system on and feel for any cold air that might be escaping.
After sealing any leaks you may find, make sure the ducts stay cool by protecting them with fiberglass duct wrap (R-6 or higher rating) wherever they travel through a hot area such as an attic.
- Leave The Majority of Air Vents In Your Home Open
If our tip above about closing all blinds, curtains, and shades made you think keeping everything closed is always better, think again. If you really want yours to be one of the most energy efficient houses in your neighborhood, closing air vents in over 10 percent of your home’s air conditioned areas will not do the trick. It will, in fact, create an imbalance in air pressure. Instead of increasing your AC system’s effectiveness, this will actually reduce it. So if you are serious about learning how to save money on AC, keep those air vents open as much as possible.
- Set Your AC Fan to ‘Auto’ and not ‘On’
Turning the AC fan to auto turns the unit’s motor off when it’s not busy cooling the room. This saves money in two ways: while the motor is not running you save on electricity and there is less heat buildup when it’s off, so the temperature of the room will stay lower. You will be surprised how much this can help you in your ongoing search for how to save on cooling costs.
If you’ve read the whole article you are now (at least theoretically) an expert on saving energy and reducing cooling costs. If there’s something you feel we forgot to mention, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. And if you want to take the next step toward owning your dream home, complete with state-of-the-art air conditioning, feel free to browse our website to learn more about how we can help you in your quest.