How To Lower Your Air Conditioning Costs

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How To Lower Your Air Conditioning Costs

In 2022, the highest average retail price for electricity in the United States was charged to residential customers at around 15.12 cents per kilowatt-hour (KWh).

This figure indicates that households were charged more than the commercial and industrial sectors due to high distribution costs. Consumers have seen a steady increase in electricity prices since 2020, and its peak in 2022.

Air conditioning is among the energy systems that contribute to your electricity costs. If you’ve noticed a spike in your bills, your AC may be the culprit. 

You can reduce your air conditioning costs through the following methods:

Plant Greeneries Around The House

Most heat inside your home comes from the sun shining onto roofs or windows. This direct sunlight forces your air conditioning system to work hard to keep the indoor temperature cool.

As such, it’s best to plant greeneries around your home to block the sunlight and increase some shade. You can plant tall trees in the south area of your property while broad ones to the east and west—if your windows are facing these directions.

You can also plant bushes and foliage-based greeneries.

Besides being an eco-friendly method to lower air conditioning costs, you can create a natural outdoor scenic landscape. 

Moreover, plants help improve air quality and environmental wellness, supporting physical and mental health.

Go For A Smart Thermostat

Traditional thermostats usually rely on preset schedules and manual adjustments. Consider installing a smart thermostat to make the adjustments more manageable.

Smart thermostats are internet-connected devices you can control on smartphones. This feature lets you adjust your indoor temperature even if you’re away from home. On average, these devices cost around $300 or so.

To lower air conditioning costs, you can set your thermostat as high and comfortably as possible, preferably at 78 degrees Fahrenheit. When away from home, you can set the temperature even higher. 

The Department of Energy (DOE) says you can save around 10 percent yearly by setting your thermostat around seven to ten degrees higher for eight hours daily.

The location of your thermostat is essential. It’s best to place it on an interior wall away from doorways, direct sunlight, drafts, windows, and skylights. Also, don’t place curtains or furniture in areas that would block the AC vents.

Cover The Windows

Windows contribute to the loss of heating and cooling energy in your home. Covering them with solar or mesh-like window screens allows you to intercept the energy before it gets inside. These screens are particularly beneficial on east- and west-facing windows.

It is recommended to install the screens outside. This method can help stop the heat from penetrating completely through the glass.

Window films are another cost-effective option. These metalized sheets reflect heat before they can transmit it through glass. It’s best to use white or silver films, as they can reduce high levels of solar heat and glare.

Window treatments also help lower air conditioning costs. Keeping your blinds down or curtains drawn can keep the rooms cool, so your AC doesn’t have to work as hard.

Keep Up With Your Regular AC Maintenance

While AC maintenance is an upfront—and usually costly—investment, maintaining routine maintenance helps minimize your AC’s energy consumption. 

Clean filters alone can significantly curtail your unit’s energy use because they maximize good airflow so the condensate line drains correctly.

You may need to clean or replace your filters frequently if they have layers of dust or if you have furry pets. Clogged and dirty filters can block airflow and reduce your unit’s efficiency.

The evaporator and condenser coils can also accumulate dust and require periodic cleaning. You must trim the foliage near the unit to keep the area free of leaves, twigs, and other debris.

Install Ceiling Fans

Running ceiling fans is another way to lower air conditioning costs because it helps circulate indoor air.

Ceiling fans let you set your thermostat by four degrees higher without compromising comfort. Meanwhile, running them counterclockwise during summer helps push the cooler air downward.

You can also run ceiling fans on the upper floor and open the windows on the lower level. If you live in a one-story property, close the windows near the fans and open the ones far from them.

Seal Gaps, Cracks, Openings, And Other Potential Leaks

Take time for visual checks inside and outside your home for gaps, cracks, openings, and other potential leaks where air can come and go.

Windows and doors are the most leak-prone. But other areas, like where the foundation meets the exterior brick or siding, are also prone to leaks.

If you find openings, you can try the following sealers:

  • Caulk and foams for small gaps
  • Weatherstripping for window and door joints
  • Barriers like drywall, plywood, house wraps, and rigid foams for large openings and surfaces

It’s best to hire a professional to ensure thorough assessments and inspections. They can find leaks you may be unable to check.

Upgrade Your AC To An Energy-Efficient One

Old AC systems are less efficient and tend to break down more. Swapping yours with a more energy-efficient one helps reduce energy consumption, lowering energy bills.

An energy-efficient unit has a high energy-efficient ratio (EER). You can find this rating on Energy Star-qualified units. The U.S. government uses the Energy Star system to classify energy-efficient products—the higher the rating, the better.

Many homeowners upgrade their units with portable air conditioners. These units maximize versatility and convenience because you can move them to different areas.

Investing in high-quality portable AC parts helps enhance your portable AC’s functionality. PartSelect offers these performance-optimizing components, including belt drives, drum bearing slides, and dryer heating elements.

Minimize The Use Of Heat-Producing Appliances During Daytime

You force your AC to work more when you create more heat. This strain mainly involves using heat-producing appliances like your stove and oven.

It’s best to minimize your usage of these appliances during the daytime and consider using them at night when the temperature is cooler. If feasible, you can even build an outdoor kitchen. Although it still uses energy, it won’t significantly contribute to your air conditioning.

Other home-cooling tips include:

  • Use the exhaust fan while cooking
  • Run your bathroom exhaust fan after a hot shower
  • Hang your laundry outside to dry

Strategically Ventilate

Strategic ventilation is another way to lower AC costs. If you live in a climate where the temperature drops during sundown, turn your AC off and let the cool breeze circulate indoors. Then, open the windows overnight.

However, this strategy may not be suitable if you live in the South or Midwest. 

You can still seal off rooms you’re not actively using. At the same time, closing the doors and vents can redirect cool air toward the areas you spend the most time in. Consequently, you won’t pay to cool the unused areas of your home.

Unplug Unused Devices

Unplugging unused devices can help you save energy costs year-round. This cost-saving method is helpful during warmer months when your energy bills will likely be at their highest.

If you run a mobile or window-unit air AC, unplug it when unused. However, doing this whenever you leave your home may not be energy-efficient. But for week-long trips or vacations, unplugging ACs and other appliances can curb the costs while you’re away.

Make Smart Choices

Strategic adjustments to your AC’s energy consumption can significantly lower your energy bills. Making informed choices allows you to enjoy a comfortable living space while keeping energy expenses more manageable.

At the same time, consistency fosters a habit of energy consciousness that extends beyond your home. It becomes an effort to ensure comfort that doesn’t compromise the environment.

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