Summer Survival Guide: How to Save On Your Air Conditioning Bill
As the temperature soars this time of year in Florida, so does the demand on our air conditioning systems. Has the cost of running your AC left you feeling the heat in your bank account? In this blog, we’ll guide you through a variety of smart and effective ways to save on your air conditioning bill without sacrificing your indoor comfort. From energy-efficient practices to budget-friendly adjustments, we’ve got you covered all summer long.
Homeowners spend $29 billion – with a B – running their air conditioners every year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The good news is that there are ways to lower your bill. At the top of the list, replacing your old unit with a high-efficiency air-conditioning system can have a huge impact. While it can be a large financial investment upfront, you are ultimately saving money in the long run. In fact, a replacement could save you a whopping 20 to 50 percent on home cooling costs from the start, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Proper maintenance can also increase the efficiency of your cooling system. The best way to do this is through a service plan. This includes a technician coming to your home on an agreed schedule and performing regular system maintenance, such as cleaning the unit and checking filters. A clean filter can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5 to 15 percent. This has an even bigger impact if you have a lot of dust or pets in your home.
While most maintenance requires a skilled professional, there are a few ways for you to maintain your system. For instance, if your coil fins are bent on the outside unit, you can use a tool called a fin comb to straighten them. You’ll also have a drain near your outside unit that runs from your inside unit. That drain should be cleaned regularly to prevent the buildup of debris or algae.
Troubleshooting Common Problems
Air conditioners, particularly central air systems, are complicated. If it’s not cooling properly, it could be one of several issues. Your refrigerant could be low because of a leak, which will need to be repaired before the system can be recharged. It could also have thermostat or drainage problems or a dirty filter or ductwork.
If your unit isn’t turning on, it could be an electrical issue with the thermostat, especially smart thermostats, or an electric failure with one of your units. Turning the system off and on too frequently can cause problems with the electrical components in your compressor and fan. It could also be that the drainpipe is clogged and the system can’t drain. It’s best to have a professional check your system if you are experiencing any of these issues.
Tips for Lowering Cooling Costs
Still looking to save some cash on your air conditioning bill this summer without making any major changes? Here are some simple tips for lowering your cooling costs that you can do yourself without the help of a professional.
- Install and set a programmable thermostat to save up to 10 percent on heating and cooling costs every year.
- Use a fan when you’re in the room to aid in air circulation. This can help you feel more comfortable without having to adjust the thermostat.
- Insulate your attic and walls and seal cracks to prevent warm air from getting inside.
- Insulate and seal air ducts. Air loss through ductwork accounts for about 30 percent of a cooling system’s energy consumption.
- Don’t warm up your home with your appliances such as the oven too often. On a hot day, consider grilling outside instead.
- Install energy efficient window coverings to let in natural light and prevent heat from coming in.
- Use the bathroom fan when showering and the range hood when cooking to help remove heat and humidity.
Stay Cool This Summer
Want to have a cool house this summer? With Barineau Heating and Air Conditioning’s Total Comfort Service Program, you can save time, money and effort while keeping your HVAC in great working order.
At $109 per year, the Blue Plan (which includes one 28-point inspection) only costs $20 more than a one-time tune-up, with benefits that quickly pay for themselves. In addition, signing up for an annual plan removes the burden of having to remember annual maintenance appointments.