The air conditioner, especially in the summer time, is the most expensive asset of your home. It leaves a lot of homeowners wondering how can they spend less money while still running their air conditioner. There’s actually quite a few ways homeowners are wasting money, we’ll cover 10 of them below and tell you what you can do to improve.
1. Air Escaping From Doors and Windows
If you’re in an older home then the seals on your door ways, windows, and other parts of your home are probably loosening up which will cause air to escape. Your air conditioner works hard to keep the air in your home cool, if that air is escaping then your AC is going to be constantly losing what its working to do. Having the doorways and windows sealed will probably be necessary if its found that this is the cause.
2. Insulation and Ductwork
Insulation and ductwork are very important things to consider if you have a high utility bill, the ductwork transports the air and insulation keeps heat from entering the home. Most insulation nowadays is either stone wool or glass wool, and traps air since it’s a poor conductor of heat. The trapped air prevents the transfer of heat which insulates your home from heat. If your home is not insulated properly then there is probably heat getting into your home that’s going to cause the air conditioner to work harder since heat entering is raising the temperature. Ductwork transports the air your air conditioner is either heating or cooling. If there are leaks in the ductwork then air is going to escape and cause your system to work harder than is necessary because it will take longer to satisfy the thermostats set temperature. We recommend the Aeroseal duct sealing method for sealing ducts. Bad insulation and ductwork means high utility bills, you might need new insulation or have a ductwork seal done.
3. Temperature Settings
In the summer time keep your temperature at about 78 degrees, having it lower than that in the summer is hard on the air conditioner which will cause electric bills to be high.
4. Thermostat Placement and Possibly Zoning
The placement of your thermostat is very important because it’s the brain of your air conditioner and will tell it when to turn on and off. If you have your thermostat in a place that is warmer than other parts of the home then the unit is going to run longer. However, if you have the thermostat in a cooler place it will run less but parts of the home further away will be warmer. We recommend either have a contractor help you find a good medium between hot and cold parts of the home or if you truly want even cooling throughout your home then moving one thermostat around isn’t the best idea; if you want even cooling a zoned system will be necessary.
5. You Dont Have A Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats are great for saving money on your utility bill because you can program them to a schedule and remotely control them wherever internet is enabled. The advantage of the scheduling is that you can set what times you want the temperature set to; so for example if your at work and you forget to raise the temperature while your gone well this wont happen anymore because your thermostat is programmed to raise the temperature at the time you leave. Running your unit at higher temperatures while your gone will save you money in the long run. Remotely controlling the thermostat gives you control of the air conditioner while your out of town so that way you can save money on your trip. Programmable thermostats are a great way to save money especially along side a zoned system.
6. Window Screens and Blinds
Window screens and blinds reduce the amount of heat and light coming into your home. If you like to keep the windows open and/or don’t have any window screens then your losing money. This beautiful yet expensive habit is going to cause your air conditioner to work harder then it should be. If you want to save money one more thing you can do is to make sure you have screens outside your windows and make sure you keep the blinds closed. Also consider investing in ones that are made to keep the heat out.
7. Your Not Using Fans
Airflow is very important for your air conditioner; why not help it out a little bit. Fans will help with the airflow of your air conditioner if you put them near a supply vent (vent where air comes out of) because it will help the air come out and spread throughout the home. This will help to satisfy the thermostat, so the unit doesn’t run as much. Having the fan pointed at you will also help you feel cooler by blowing heat off your body. Fans will help your unit run less and keep you comfortable.
8. Shade Trees To Shade Your Home
Having trees with a canopy that can shade your home from the sun will reduce bills. It might take a little while to grow them but it will be worth it. The trees will keep heat from the sun from hitting your home which will let your air conditioner work less hard to cool off the home.
9. Dirty Air Filters
All the air your AC unit cools has to pass through the system’s air filters; after awhile of air passing through the filters they get dirty and restrict airflow. Air filters also keep your units coils clean and if they get dirty then there will be a loss in efficiency. Dirty coils and/or bad airflow is going to prevent your thermostat from being satisfied causing your unit to run longer. Make sure you keep your air filters changed out, so your airflow is good and your coils stay clean.
We recommend using the regular filters because they are more affordable and work better than the reusable ones. The reusable ones can restrict airflow so much that your coils can get frozen!
10. You Might Just Need A New Air Conditioner
A new air conditioner will help with the bills especially if its been while since you’ve gotten a new one. Nowadays there is a higher SEER standard for air conditioners, in case you didnt know SEER is a measurement of how efficient the system is, they have to at least be a 14 SEER. A high end air conditioner is worth more (efficiency wise) in the long run since they can be a communicating system with variable speed components. High end systems will have a higher SEER rating like the Trane XV20i, it has a rating of 21! If your air conditioner has been around for awhile and its expensive, its probably time for a new unit.
Always remember, never get a new air conditioner without knowing you’re going to get a quality installation. The installation will mean the difference of how the system will operate throughout its life and can save you some breakdowns.
What To Do…
To actually know where you can save money we recommend scheduling an AC check up because we will have one of our air conditioning technicians inspect your system which will allow them to determine what you can do to save money.