7 Ways to Save Money on Your Air Conditioning Bill
American homeowners spend about $29 billion on air conditioning every year. This accounts for roughly 12% of home energy expenditures!
Granted, in the greater Sioux Falls area, which is blessed with cooler weather, that expenditure is closer to 5%. Still, you would rather spend as little money on AC as possible. Money is an extremely useful thing to have, and we doubt that people who have too much money spend their time reading the official PrairieSons blog. They are more likely to be drinking Champagne on yachts.
As HVAC experts, we don’t just know how to keep your AC in peak operating condition. We can also tell you how to spend as little money running your AC as possible. Here are seven ways to save money on your air conditioning bill!
Plant Shade Trees
Shade trees won’t just make your property look more distinguished. They will also cool your house down considerably, as just 17% shade coverage can shrink your AC bill by around $10 per month. A single healthy shade tree creates the same cooling effect as 10 room-sized air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. Most of that cooling effect is transferred directly to the air surrounding the tree, but you’ll be glad to have your home near so potent a natural force.
Use Ceiling Fans
Running a central AC unit for 12 hours a day costs approximately $130 per month. Running a ceiling fan for the same amount of time? About $1 a day. We don’t need to consult a math savant to appreciate such gigantic savings. A ceiling fan is most effective when you close windows near it and open others in neighboring rooms, as this creates a stronger air current throughout the entire home.
Close Your Blinds and Curtains
According to the Department of Energy, about 76% of the sunlight that hits a double pane window during the cooling seasons enters to become heat. Blinds and curtains are a low-tech yet highly effective way of preventing that sunlight from entering your home. Reflective blinds, when drawn, lower heat gain by roughly 45%. A simple drapery with a white plastic backing can reduce heat gains by 33%. Whether you prefer curtains or blinds, they are most effective when placed on windows facing the east and the west, as these come into most direct contact with sunlight.
Use Proper Thermostat Placement
You may already know that smart thermostats can save on cooling costs by adjusting your home temperature throughout the day and that setting your thermostat to 78 °F while you’re away will save energy as your AC avoids going into overdrive upon your return. But did you also know that your thermostat’s placement is important, too? It’s most efficient when installed on an interior wall that is shielded against direct sunlight and drafts, two things that dramatically impact how accurately your thermostat can measure your home temperature.
Seal Off Leaks
Small cracks around doors and windows add up! Drafts let cool air escape from your home just like they let warm air escape during the wintertime. You can quickly and cost-effectively lower your AC bill by performing a visual inspection for drafts and then sealing them off with caulk, window stoppers, and door stoppers where applicable. Be certain to check where the foundation meets your siding as well. For the most effective results, consider hiring a professional to conduct a comprehensive energy audit of your home.
Avoid Producing Heat
As intuitive as it might seem, people often forget that any heat they produce will counteract whatever work their AC does. This is why it’s best to avoid using the oven during the summertime – if you’re not yet a grilling enthusiast, become one. It’s better to spend your money on charcoal briquettes than AC. Hanging clothes to dry outside will prevent your tumble dryer from contributing to the problem. The summer is also an excellent time to become an advocate for the myriad health benefits of taking cold showers.
Service Your Air Conditioner Regularly
Maintaining any machine is paramount to preserving its efficiency. Your AC unit is no exception to this rule. Depending on which type of filter you are using, it is advised that you replace it every 30 days to six months. Doing so will prevent the unit from working too hard to draw in air, as well as getting debris stuck in its sensitive moving parts.
Regularly cleaning your AC unit’s condenser and evaporator coils is also very important. These crucial elements will fail to do their jobs efficiently if allowed to become coated with debris. To this end, keeping trees and pollen-producing plants away from your unit’s intake will help to keep these coils cleaner in the long run.
If you want your HVAC unit to run as efficiently as possible, you would ideally have it professionally inspected, cleaned, and serviced every year. Even so, the best maintained AC unit will begin to show serious signs of wear and tear after 10-15 years, at which point it begs replacement.
But if you live in the greater Sioux Falls area, you are in luck: PrairieSons is available 24/7 to make certain your AC can always do its best work for you – while also costing you as little money as possible. Please contact us today to learn more about how we can be of service!