Is Your Air Conditioner Costing Too Much Money?

An efficient air conditioner is a necessity for homeowners in Wilmington, NC, when it’s hot outside. Chances are you’re running your AC system continuously to stay comfortable, and that can mean higher energy bills. Here are a few ways you can reduce the cost of running your air conditioner:

Cover Your Windows

A significant percentage of a home’s heating or cooling energy gets lost through windows. During summer, the heat from the sun entering through your clear windows will counter the cool air produced by your AC system. Therefore, your system will work harder to keep up with the temperatures set on the thermostat, consuming a lot of electricity as a result.

Some homeowners have resorted to solar screens or mesh-like window screens to intercept the heat from sunlight. Alternatively, you can tint your windows — a more cost-effective option since it reduces the amount of heat that enters your home without obstructing your view.

Another increasingly popular option is window shades. These are adjustable soft-fabric coverings that you can draw up or down depending on the amount of sunlight you want entering your home. They can be a little expensive to install but can last up to eight years with minimal maintenance.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

A smart thermostat can adjust your home temperatures at certain hours of the day, preventing your AC system from running unnecessarily. Some even come with smartphone apps that let you pre-set your preferences or schedule according to your budget and lifestyle. Others come with sensors that can tell when there are occupants in a room.

Some homeowners make the mistake of setting their thermostats as low as is comfortable, thinking it would cool the house faster. Instead, they’re wasting energy and inflating their bills because the AC system has to run longer than it should. The Department of Energy recommends 78°F when at home and about 88°F when you step out for an errand.

The location of the thermostat is also key. To get the most out of your device, you should place it on the interior wall about 60 inches from the ground and away from direct sunlight, drafts, windows and doorways. Also, don’t place it near furniture, curtains or appliances that emit heat.

Regularly Maintain Your Air Conditioner

You should service your cooling system at least twice a year to ensure it’s running efficiently and in good condition. This may require replacing the air filters once every month or two, depending on the type of air filter you have (check your model’s instruction manual).

Also, consider trimming the foliage near the outdoor unit of your AC system. When the condenser doesn’t get enough air to operate, it works harder than necessary and sometimes even freezes up, resulting in complete damage.

You can do some maintenance yourself like changing the air filter); however, it’s always best to enlist the help of experienced HVAC service technicians who can detect all issues that may be costing you money. They’re well-versed in dealing with the dangerous components of your AC system, like the refrigerant.

Install Ceiling Fans

If possible, run ceiling fans in conjunction with your air conditioning for better circulation of cool air. It can help lower your home’s temperature by about 4°F, making it easier for your AC to keep up at a higher thermostat.

It’s important to remember to run your fans counterclockwise when cooling your home. This will cause the fan blades to push the cooler air down, creating a wind chill effect where people occupy.

Consider an Alternative Cooling System

If your air conditioning system is too old or breaks down more often, you can cut your energy costs by buying a new one with a higher seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating. You can also consider alternative cooling systems, like ductless mini-splits, which are cheaper to operate and easy to install.

Heat pumps are also an excellent option for cooling. They are 400% efficient, making them the best energy-saving HVAC system in the world currently.

By taking the necessary steps, you can reduce the cost of running your air conditioner without reducing comfort levels in your home. If you live around Wilmington, NC, call Gideon Heating & Air Conditioning for any AC repairs, maintenance and installation services you may need.

Image provided by iStock

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