The sheer number of ways human beings have devised to stay cool over the centuries is a testament to the appeal of air conditioning.
From sticking our shorts in the freezer to strategically positioning a bucket of ice cubes in front of a rotating floor fan, we know keeping cool is more than just a life-saver – it also feels great!
But what doesn’t feel great is spending money to keep cool, especially when you find out you are spending more than you need to or should be on that air conditioning bill.
It’s time to test your knowledge of staying cool for less!
1. Ceiling Fans Can Reduce Your Power Bill
Ceiling fans create a similar effect to what it feels like to climb out of the pool just as a cloud covers up the sun and a breeze starts blowing. Suddenly, you feel chilly!
This “windchill effect” can actually make it feel up to four degrees cooler even if you haven’t touched the thermostat.
2. Air Filters Don’t Impact Your Energy Bill
According to the Department of Energy, just replacing a clogged or dirty air filter can decrease your energy bill by as much as 15 percent.
3. A/C Preventative Maintenance Can Also Save You Money on Energy
Just cleaning the accumulated dirt, debris and detritus out of your air conditioning coils (both evaporator and condenser) can reduce your monthly energy bills by up to 5 percent.
4. The Biggest A/C Will Save You on Power
This is one of the most enduring myths in the air conditioning industry, perhaps because the trend of getting more for your money is still popular today.
But when it comes to buying an A/C unit, you want to pick the right size for the amount of space it needs to cool. Too little or too big and you will spend more and get less cooling in exchange.
5. Landscaping and Interior Décor Can Impact Your Power Bill
Just as those drifting clouds we talked about in No. 1 can block the sun to make you feel cooler, so too can drawing your shades and upgrading to energy-efficient windows keep your home cooler and trim your power bill.
Having a white roof, installing a radiant barrier in your attic, weather stripping windows and doors, insulating your air ducts, switching to light-blocking curtains, planting shade trees and similar décor changes can influence the natural ambient temperature throughout your home.
6. Turning Off Your A/C When You Are Away Will Reduce Energy Costs
When it comes to trimming your power bill, there is a big difference between raising your thermostat and turning off the air conditioner entirely.
Raising your thermostat can help conserve energy when you are away or the weather outside is mild. But switching the air conditioner off completely and then on again is like trying to go from 0 to 60 mph fast in a little four-cylinder sedan. You have to gun it and the engine works much harder than is healthy to get you there.
The best approach is to use a smart programmable thermostat to inch the thermostat up when you are not at home or when you are home but it is cooler outside. Aim to program your thermostat for around 78 degrees Fahrenheit (25.5 degrees Celsius) when no one is home – go too much higher and you are at risk for mould and mildew growth.
Then when you are home, you can lower it (with a little help from ceiling fans) so you stay comfy and cool.
7. The Location of Your Thermostat Can Impact Your Power Bill
Why is it you always feel warmer after taking a hot shower? Because the water is hot, of course!
In the same way, if you place your air conditioner thermostat in a location where it is regularly in the path of direct sunlight, heat exhaust or radiant heat from a lamp or nearby entertainment center, you can expect the A/C to power on more often.
The reason is that your thermostat thinks the ambient temperature it is experiencing matches the temperature of the whole house. For the best energy savings, make sure your thermostat is located in a sufficiently cool, dark, dry spot.
8. Closing Vents in Unused Rooms Can Trim Your Energy Bill
Closing the vents in rooms you don’t use much or at all won’t do anything to lower your power bills. Instead, you will simply be paying to cool the inside of those air ducts.
This is because the A/C blower doesn’t know whether a vent has been closed or not, so its air input stays the same regardless.
9. It is Cost-Effective to Run An Older A/C Until It Gives Out
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, if your current A/C unit is eight years or older, you could trim as much as 40 percent off your cooling bills just by replacing it with a new high-efficiency A/C unit.
10. Buying a High-Efficiency A/C Is Enough to Keep Power Bills Low
We wish it was that simple, but the truth is that it often takes a combination approach to reduce your annual power bill and keep it low.
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