Once the temperatures reach the 80s and 90s, you likely turn on your air-conditioning unit. But while your home comfort system can make you feel cooler and more relaxed, it can really hurt your wallet. Using your air conditioner can raise your energy bill significantly. You could end up losing hundreds of dollars during the course of the summer. But it is possible to be comfortable and still reduce your bills; the following six tips can help you save on air-conditioning costs.
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Keep Your Filter Clean
When is the last time you replaced your unit's air filter? If it's been a while, it can accumulate with dust and dirt, reducing its air flow. Examine the unit's air filters once a month and clean or replace filters when necessary. Keeping them clean can cut energy use by anywhere from five percent to 15 percent.
If you have trouble remembering to check the filter, some thermostats have reminder lights that will change color when the filter needs to be replaced.
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Maintain the Ducts and Vents
If you are using a central air-conditioning unit, make sure the air ducts are properly insulated, especially those that pass through the attic or any other areas that are not air-conditioned. You may want to have a specialist check for holes or leaks in the ducts once a year.
Duct tape can offer a temporary repair, but eventually, holes and leaks will need to be professionally fixed. If you have rooms in your house that you don't often use, such as a guest bedroom, shut the doors and close the vents to save on energy.
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Check for Household Leaks
Make sure air isn't escaping through unnecessary openings such as fireplace dampers, doors, or windows. Take a good look at the seals around these areas to see if weather stripping or caulk needs to be applied. Ideally, you'll want to check for leaks before turning on the air conditioner at the beginning of summer weather.
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Reduce Heat Sources
While natural light is nice, in the summer months, the sun's rays can raise the temperature in your home. Close the blinds and drapes or invest in blackout curtains to reduce exterior heat.
Keep heat-producing appliances, such as televisions or lamps, away from the thermostat. The heat they produce can cause your thermostat to think it needs to work harder to cool the room, using up more energy.
Cooking, baking, or using other appliances can also raise the temperature inside, forcing your air conditioner to work harder, so limit those activities during the hottest hours of the day.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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Use Fans Strategically
Fans can also help cool your home at a fraction of the cost of an air conditioner. While it's unlikely that a fan can replace your AC unit completely, a fan can be a great supplement. On milder days, using just the fans can save as much as 60 percent on your energy bill. Position them near or in windows, and try to create cross-breezes when possible.
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Set a Realistic Temperature
Turning your thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit is the most efficient setting for your air conditioner during warmer months. Reducing your home's temperature lower, such as to 72 degrees, could increase your cooling costs by as much as 47 percent.
And when it's hot, don't set the air conditioner at a much lower temperature. While you may think that makes the unit work faster, in actuality it doesn't help cool the room any quicker.