3 Simple Tips to Save Money While Running Your Air Conditioner
As the temperature rises, so does the electric bill. Running your air conditioner during the summer months is quite costly, but with these simple tips, you won't have to sacrifice your comfort to save some money.
1. Make Sure Your Air Conditioner is the Right Size
When it comes to maximizing your comfort while minimizing your electric bill, size matters. If you purchase an air conditioner that's too large, you could be throwing money away. However, if you purchase an air conditioner that's too small, it's likely you're not cooling your space efficiently. Having the right size air conditioning system is key. Whether you have a window air conditioner or a portable unit, you need to make sure your AC has the right number of BTUs for the space you're trying to cool.
A question we often get is, "What temperature should I set my air conditioner to in the summer?" Once you know the right size A/C for your space, the higher you keep the temperature on the A/C control, the less the air conditioner will need to run. This will save you money. It's recommended to keep the unit set to a higher temperature than you'd find most comfortable when you're asleep or out of the house; this is one of the best ways to sace money on air conditioning. When you and your family are in the home and awake, the temperature you set the unit at will depend greatly on what feels comfortable to you. Try setting the unit at 75° F, see how the family adjusts, and higher or lower the temperature accordingly.
2. Clean or Replace Air Conditioner Filters
If you can’t remember the last time you cleaned the filters in your A/C, that's not a good sign. The most important maintenance task is to routinely clean or replace the filters. A clogged, dirty filter blocks normal airflow and significantly reduces the unit’s efficiency. Cleaning or replacing a dirty air filter will lower energy consumption of your air conditioner by 5 to 15 percent.
Some types of filters are reusable and others must be replaced. You should clean or replace filters every month during the summer season. You may need to give filters more frequent attention if your air conditioner is in constant use, subjected to dusty conditions, or you have a dog, cat, or any other furry pet in the house.
In addition to checking the filters, you should look at your evaporator coil once a year and clean it as necessary.
3. Air Conditioner Temperature Settings & Auto Mode
Most pros would agree that setting the temperature so that it only varies a few degrees is best for efficiency. When nobody's home, bring the temperature up a few degrees. Drop it when people are around.
You can also set your air conditioner on auto. When you leave your unit running constantly, the system won't have a chance to drain off the water that's condensed on its evaporator coil. Instead, it will blow it back into your home. In "auto" mode, the unit has a chance to recover and remove all accumulated condensation each time it shuts off. The idea is to keep a comfortable temperature maintained. Remember, dropping the temperature doesn't cool an area any faster, but it does use more energy.
At night, give your air conditioner a break. When the temperature drops in the evening, open your windows and use fans to circulate the cold air. Fans use much less energy than an air conditioner. In the morning, you should shut the windows to trap the cold air in.
Bonus tip: if your air conditioner is several years old, it may be worth it to purchase a new one. Today's A/Cs are much more energy efficient and your new model may pay for itself over time. Shop air conditioners now or stop into any P.C. Richard & Son showroom to learn more about saving money with a new unit.