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.
Do you have 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 away money. 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 unit or a portable air conditioner unit, you need to make sure your AC has the right number of BTUs for the space you are trying to cool. Check the charts below.
Although the size of the space is important, it is not the only factor. Think of how many people will be occupying this space. Is it more than two? If so, add 600 BTUs for each additional person. Is the space very sunny? If the space you want to cool lets in a lot of sunlight, increase BTUs by 10%. If the unit is for a kitchen, add 4,000 BTUs. You also need to check that the space you are cooling is properly insulated. If cool air is escaping this can affect the amount of BTUs needed as well.
When was the last time you cleaned the filters?
If you can’t remember, that is probably not a good sign. The most important maintenance task to ensure efficiency of your air conditioner is to routinely clean or replace the filters. A clogged, dirty filter blocks normal airflow and reduces the unit’s efficiency significantly. Cleaning or replacing a dirty air filter will lower energy consumption of your air conditioner by 5-15 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 fur-bearing pet in the house.
As well as filters, you should check your evaporator coil once a year and clean it as necessary.
Setting the right temperature and mode
Most pros would agree that setting the temperature so that it only varies a few degrees is best for efficiency. When nobody is home, bring the temperature up a few degrees and drop it when people are home. Set your air conditioner on auto. When you leave your air conditioner 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 does not 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.
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