Summertime means high energy bills for many homeowners. If you’re concerned about increased cooling costs, consider these five simple A/C operating tips to keep your bills manageable this summer:
- Change air filters regularly: The filters in your air conditioner help keep your air clean, but they are also important for efficiency. Your A/C has to work harder to blow air through a dirty filter, and you can reduce cooling costs by changing your filter whenever it gets dirty. During summer, this typically means providing a fresh filter every one to three months.
- Use your thermostat wisely: Every degree higher you set your thermostat saves you money, so you should try to keep the settings as high as you can without sacrificing comfort. A good way to do this is with a programmable thermostat, which automatically adjusts your air conditioner use based on your daily routine. For example, you can keep cool while you’re home in the morning and evening, but maintain a higher temperature while you’re at work or asleep.
- Cool off with fans: A fan can’t completely replace the air conditioner in most homes, but it can significantly reduce the burden on your A/C unit. The average ceiling fan uses less electricity than a light bulb, and creates a cooling breeze that allows you to cut costs by running your air conditioner less.
- Keep the heat out: The less heat you allow into your home, the easier it is for your air conditioner to keep you cool. You can accomplish this by providing shade for windows and glass doors, using ovens and stoves only on cool mornings and evenings, and replacing incandescent light bulbs with fluorescents, which produce less heat and use less energy.
- Schedule annual maintenance: An annual service call for your air conditioner boosts efficiency, trims cooling costs, and lengthens the lifespan of your HVAC system. The best time for maintenance is spring, before the cooling season gets under way.