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Lower the Cost of Running your Air Conditioner

Monthly Bills Payments

Of all the things in your home that affect your electric bill, your air conditioner makes the biggest impact. As we move into full-fledged AC season, the jump in our electric bills is an unwanted side-effect. The air conditioners we use today are far more efficient than those that were manufactured a few years ago. Units manufactured after 2000 use up to 50 percent less power than those that were built in the 1970s. Unfortunately, electricity also costs more today than it did back then, so your bill will still be a lot higher.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, cooling homes accounted for 16% of the 2019 residential sector electricity consumption.[1]

How Air Conditioners Work

Your air conditioner works a lot like a refrigerator, except your air conditioner has to cool your entire home instead of the 20 cubic feet inside of your fridge and freezer.

Your AC system contains tubes that wind into two kinds coils: evaporator coils and condenser coils. It also has a pump, called a compressor. The compressor moves the refrigerant from the evaporator where the refrigerant evaporates in the evaporator coils. This pulls the heat out of the indoor air. Now that it is a gas, the refrigerant is pumped back into the compressor. There, it’s turned back to a liquid, and it expels the heat. While all of this is going on, the system’s blower moves warm indoor air into the AC system and cool air into the home.

Tips for reducing the cost of cooling your home

The harder your AC must work to cool your home, the more electricity is it will take. There are ways to lower the impact that cooling your home has on your monthly electric statement. Most of them, on their own, will make a small difference in your bill but combined, you will see a big improvement to your bottom line.

Insulation and Fans

Properly insulate your home. This includes protecting your attic and sealing areas such as outlets and gaps in doors. The best time to identify some of these leaky areas is in the winter when you will notice cold drafts. By sealing these leaks, you can see 5%-30% energy savings.[2]

Use electric fans. While fans don’t cool the air, they work with your body’s cooling system to help you feel more comfortable. Fans move the air around, moving it around, which has the same effect as a nice breeze. Circulating the air in your home makes it easier to maintain an even temperature throughout. Be sure to turn fans off when nobody is in the room to enjoy the breeze.

Use ceiling fans. When it’s hot outside, the blades of your ceiling fan should spin counterclockwise. This will pull the hot air up and outwards so that it can escape through the ceiling, faster.

Keeping cool, naturally

Open the windows. If it’s a cool night outside, open the windows to allow a cross-breeze to cool your home naturally. Use fans to push the cool air throughout your home. In the morning, close your windows before the temperature begins to rise again.

Use drapes. Blackout drapes are excellent for keeping the sun’s rays out, which is important because your windows intensify the heat from the sun. Close window coverings, whenever you can, to prevent your home’s temperature from rising.

Your Air Conditioner

Purchase the right air conditioning system for your home: You will have a more efficient system if you buy one that is meant for your home’s size and for the climate in which you live. A professional HVAC technician can give you a good recommendation.

Maintain your air conditioner: Keep your AC’s coils free of dust. Invest in good filters and change them regularly for maximum efficiency and improved air quality. Have an annual maintenance check by an HVAC technician.

Your Thermostat

Install a programmable thermostat. You can set your programmable thermostat according to your family’s typical schedule. You can turn your thermostat up (or even off) when nobody is home. Changing your thermostat 7 to 10 degrees, for 8 hours each day, can save 10% on heating and cooling costs.[3] New wifi thermostats allow you to change the settings when you are away from home so that by the time you return, the temperature will be just right.

Check with your electric company for special money-saving programs. They often have programs that encourage customers to make their homes more energy-efficient for a reasonable cost. There are also budgeting programs that will give you an average of your annual bill, allowing you to pay the same amount every month.

At Landmark Electric, we care about our customers and their electrical needs in their homes and businesses. If you would like to upgrade, your electrical system contact us today.

[1] “Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).” Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), 2020, www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=96&t=3.

[2] “Why Energy Efficiency Upgrades.” Energy.gov, www.energy.gov/eere/why-energy-efficiency-upgrades.

[3] “Why Energy Efficiency Upgrades.” Energy.gov, www.energy.gov/eere/why-energy-efficiency-upgrades.