How to Use Your Air Conditioner More Effectively

Lower home energy costs and save energy with these tips

Summertime means running the air conditioner non-stop. When the temperatures heat up, the efficiency of an air conditioner drops dramatically. The following tips will not only ease the burden on your home air conditioner, so it runs more efficiently, but you'll also save on your next energy bill and reduce your carbon footprint in the process.

  • 01 of 07

    Leave the Thermostat Alone

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    Many people are good about leaving the air conditioner at the recommended 78 degrees. Some go a step further and set the temperature higher when no one's home. But don't lower the temperature below 78 to cool the house down faster.

    The air conditioner cools at the same rate no matter where it's set. Adjusting the temperature to 70 degrees will not help your house get to 78 degrees any faster than leaving it at 78.

  • 02 of 07

    Keep the Curtains Closed

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    Natural light can help reduce your lighting costs, but when no one is in a room, it's best to keep the curtains closed during the day. It is especially true for houses with windows facing east and west.

    Keeping direct sunlight from entering the house helps to reduce the amount of work your air conditioner has to do. To maximize cooling, open the drapes, blinds or curtains in the evening to allow heat to escape through the windows.

  • 03 of 07

    Turn on a Fan

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    In more temperate climates, you can turn the air conditioner off at night and let ceiling or floor fans provide do all the work. The energy used by fans is far less than that of air conditioners.
    If you live in a warmer climate, fans can still provide a comfortable breeze at night and may allow you to set the air conditioner above 78 degrees saving a great deal of energy. Fans can also help move cool air around the house to ease the workload of the air conditioner.

  • 04 of 07

    Get Rid of Hot Air

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    Use an exhaust fan when cooking to help expel hot air from the house. If you don't have an exhaust fan, cool the room by using a floor fan in the kitchen while cooking. Fans not only cool the air, but they also help move hot air out of the kitchen.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Use the Dehumidifier

    The little boy off the dehumidifier.
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    When people say, "it's not the heat, it's the humidity," they are right. If you have a dehumidifier, turn it on when the temperature rises. Ridding your house of humidity will make you feel a lot more comfortable. You may even be able to set your air conditioner above 78 degrees when using a dehumidifier combined with fans.

  • 06 of 07

    Keep Your Air Conditioner out of the Sun

    A close up of a window air conditioner

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    The ideal location for a central air conditioning unit is on the north side of a house. While this may not always be practical, there are other ways to achieve this.
    Landscaping does more than make your yard look nice. By planting shrubs or trees around your air conditioning unit, you can help it cool your home more efficiently. The shade from landscaping also helps keep the sun's rays away from your home.

  • 07 of 07

    Save Chores for the Right Time

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    While cooking can heat up a room, so can running the dishwasher and clothes dryer. These tasks are better left for the evening hours or, better yet, when no one is home.