Electric bills tend to skyrocket for Indianapolis area homeowners over the summer, as air conditioning systems run in full force to keep families cool. If it seems like cooling costs are eating up too much of your energy budget, learn how to save money on air conditioning without buying a new cooling unit or completing time-consuming home improvement projects.
Tips to Save Money on Air Conditioning
Saving money on cooling costs doesn’t require a big investment of your time or money. Simple services and changes to household habits reduce the amount of cooling your home needs to stay comfortable so your air conditioner is able to cut back on energy consumption this season. Here are some helpful tips to save money on air conditioning costs this summer.
- Schedule a maintenance tune up for your air conditioner or heat pump. Maintenance services work to undo damage caused by last season’s wear and tear and correct any performance problems or component malfunctions that force your air conditioner to work harder and waste energy while cooling your home.
- Replace your air filter on a regular basis throughout the year. When a filter is entirely filled with debris and contaminants, it becomes a barrier to airflow through the system so your air conditioner must consume more energy as it works harder to circulate air. It’s possible your air filter will need to be replaced more frequently over the summer, as heavier system usage causes more air to pass through the filter, creating more opportunities for the filter to trap particles.
- Clean up your outdoor condensing unit or heat pump to prevent airflow obstructions that cause inefficient cooling. Clean off grass clippings, leaves, bits of mulch, and other yard debris that have gathered along the unit’s fins. Remove weeds and other vegetation growing up along the base and sides of the unit. Prune nearby shrubs, and remove any items stored nearby up against the unit. Leave two feet of clearance around the air conditioning unit for good airflow.
- Set your programmable or smart thermostat with energy-efficient temperatures based around your household’s summer schedule. Use cooling when your family is home, and dial it back when everyone is out for extended periods to increase savings.
- When it’s extremely hot, resist the urge to set the thermostat’s temperature excessively low. Some homeowners mistakenly think doing so will force the air conditioning system to cool your home faster, but the only thing that will result from this bad habit is energy waste when you forget to set the temperature back to normal. If your programmable thermostat is properly programmed, you shouldn’t have to worry about a hot house!
- Make sure all supply vents and return air grilles throughout the house are open and unobstructed so all areas receive proper cooling. Use a vacuum to clean vent covers of dust buildup, which can cause louvers to stick closed or restrict airflow.
- Strategically place bushes and trees to provide shade for your outdoor condenser or heat pump, just don’t plant them too close. Adding a pergola or awnings over windows and doors can block direct sun, reducing solar heat gain indoors.
- Block direct sunlight inside your home throughout the day by using window coverings. Close curtains, blinds, and shades on east-facing windows before noon, west-facing windows from noon until dusk, and south-facing windows throughout the day. Doing so blocks radiative heat transfer from solar energy through windows into the home, which adds heat and increases the home’s cooling load. Layer window coverings and use insulated shades or curtains to help the home retain cooling energy and block out solar heat. Choose white or light-colored window dressings to reflect the sun’s heat rather than absorb it.
- Install ceiling fans, and use them when rooms are occupied. When ceiling fans rotate in a counterclockwise motion, they create a downdraft and wind chill effect for the body. This air circulation helps evaporate moisture from your skin quickly, helping your body feel cooler. Correct ceiling fan use can keep you feeling comfortable with your air conditioner set back about four degrees higher than normal, which is how to save money on air conditioning by reducing AC system use.
- Stop your home from losing the cooling produced by your air conditioner or heat pump. Add insulation to under-insulated attics, basements, and crawl spaces. Install weatherstripping around doors and windows to prevent drafts, and use caulk or other appropriate sealants to plug up cracks, gaps around penetrating pipes and wires, spaces between outlet boxes and wall cavities, and other areas prone to air leaks both inside and out.
- Stop creating more work for your cooling system. Saving money on air conditioning is easy when you reduce the amount of heat added to the home throughout the day. Save heat and moisture-producing activities and chores for after dark when it’s cool, such as showering, cooking, baking, and running your dishwasher, dryer, or washing machine. Use alternatives during the day such as grilling a meal or hanging clothes outdoors to dry.
Lower Cooling Costs with Star Heating & Cooling
Star Heating & Cooling helps keep Central Indiana families comfortable during the summer through affordable HVAC system services, including maintenance, programmable thermostat installation, and more. Are you ready to reduce your summertime cooling bills? Call Star Heating & Cooling today to start learning how to save money on AC costs!