Americans across the country are experiencing record temperatures this month. The height of summer is upon us, so those temperatures are only expected to rise even further. Balancing staying cool in your home with saving money on your air conditioning bill can seem impossible. However, it doesn’t have to be. There are several strategies you can take to keep your AC system running efficiently and save money over the summer months without sacrificing comfort.
Efficiency Begins with Your Thermostat
A blast of cold air on a hot summer day is the ultimate refresher. However, knowing how to set your thermostat for ideal efficiency can save you money each month and keep your system in good working order for years. The U.S. Energy Department recommends keeping your thermostat at a comfortable temperature (they recommend 78 degrees), keeping in mind that the closer that setting is to the outside temperature, the lower your AC bill.
They also recommended increasing the temperature setting if you plan to be away from home for a longer period – anything more than a few hours. Doing so can save up to 10% a year in utility bills
This comes with some caveats, though. First, this change should only be a 7°-10°F difference from your typical setting. Also, returning home and setting the temperature way below your “comfort” level to cool the house down quickly is NOT recommended. This doesn’t cool the home faster and will simply lead to a higher bill. Programmable thermostats make adjusting a home’s temperature much easier and allow you to still arrive home to a comfortable temperature by simply adjusting it an hour or so before returning.
Other Energy Saving Tips and Tricks
While efficiency begins with your thermostat, there are other tactics you can take to get the most out of your AC system and save money.
Add Effective Window Coverings
Coverings such as window drapes or blinds don’t just help control the lighting in your home. They also play a key role in the energy efficiency of your cooling system. Summer sun can be brutal, and about 76% of that sun that hits your windows from the outside also makes its way indoors. Any efforts to block those rays will help relieve the strain on your AC system by keeping unnecessary heat out.
There are several options for effective window coverings. Curtains, drapes, and blinds are the most popular. The quality of fabric or material used will directly influence the covering’s ability to keep the heat out. When it comes to blinds, the best options are those made from highly reflective material. For fabric options such as curtains, those with a plastic liner are more effective at limiting those heat gains inside the home as much as possible.
Window films are another great option to help keep the heat out. However, the use of these also prevents that heat from coming inside during cold winter months when you’d like it to – so these are best used in areas with longer warm seasons and shorter cold seasons.
Properly Utilize Fans
Fans don’t work to decrease the temperature inside your home. However, they do function to cool individuals so they are great for turning on when there are people in an area. The “wind” helps cool individuals who are in the immediate area. To reduce energy usage, turn off fans in rooms when you leave. Keeping them running doesn’t help keep the space cool and simply uses excess energy.
Opt for Efficient (or Natural) Lighting
Inefficient lighting options can actually heat a room. Investing in efficient options such as LED lighting saves energy over time. Not only do these options last longer, but they also don’t release heat back into the air which inevitably heats the room.
Even better than efficient lighting options is opting to rely on natural lighting when possible. The best way to do this is by taking advantage of windows and skylights that don’t receive direct sunlight. This will allow you to take advantage of the lighting from the sun without experiencing the temperature increase that is inevitable with direct rays.
AC Maintenance for Long-Term Energy Savings
Even by utilizing the previous tactics, a cooling system will not stay running efficiently over the years without regular maintenance. Preventative maintenance tasks include cleaning or changing the filter, assessing thermostat functionality, and monitoring the air temperature coming from the registers.
No need to be overwhelmed – Flotech’s offers an AC Maintenance Service that does it all. Our certified technicians inspect all components of the system and identify any potential issues that need addressing. Proactively acting on these issues helps avoid them turning into serious problems or even system failure in the future. Whether you are in the market for a new AC system or need help with the regular maintenance of your existing one, we would love to help. Contact us today to get started!