One of the issues that many of us are constantly concerned with today are ways to lower our monthly utility bills especially the cost of our air conditioning during warm weather. Our comfort is extremely important to us, but it seems highly improbable that we could actually stay cooler during the hot weather months without breaking the bank in the process. With record setting heat waves becoming more common every summer, even cheapskates aren’t left with much of choice where cranking up the air conditioning is concerned.
Cutting Utility Bill Costs Without Suffering In The Process
When you do need to run your air conditioning more frequently to keep the house cooler, the following tips could help you reduce those inflated A/C costs on your monthly utility bills while not sacrificing any comfort in the process:
If your A/C unit is an older model, replace it - older A/C units should be replaced with newer, energy-efficient models. These are labeled with an Energy Star rating and will consume up to 50% less energy compared to those models that were manufactured during the 1990’s. Despite the size of the initial investment involved with replacing an older unit, the cost can easily be recouped as a result of the savings that are realized during your first year of utility bills.
Inspect your ductwork regularly - if gaps or seam separations are found, seal them off immediately by using duct tape (of course). Older homes tend to lose up to 20% (or more) of the cold air generated by their A/C units when the ductwork is leaking and never reaches the intended area of the home where it is needed most. Another suggestion is to install caulking and weather stripping in the gaps around doors and windows. This will save you money on your monthly cooling (and heating) costs.
Install a programmable thermostat - these help to control whole house A/C units much more cost-effectively and efficiently. If you have window units, you can install a plug-in timer that will automatically turn the unit off and on according to when you will be home or away. Another useful tip is to cool only those areas within the home that people are occupying while closing off those rooms that no one is using.
Replace air filters monthly - one of the most common reasons that A/C systems struggle to operate properly and eventually breakdown is because homeowners fail to replace the unit’s air filters once a month. This is by far much cheaper than the inflated utility bills and repair bills that could result from a clogged or dirty air filter. Additionally, some home improvement centers now carry “permanent” filters that can easily be cleaned using a hose and then reused.
Shade your A/C compressor or window unit - adding an overhead awning or having a shade tree can result in more efficient operation of your A/C system and cut your energy consumption by as much as 10%. Make sure that the air flow is not restricted by any debris, enclosures, shrubs, etc. This will dramatically increase how much electricity that you use while running your A/C unit.
In closing, hiring the services of a professional A/C technician to schedule and perform preventative maintenance on a regular basis is always your best option. Although you can perform some of the cost-saving measures mentioned above, there are certain tasks that are best left in the hands of a professional HVAC contractor or technician. Remember to have them service your A/C unit no less than once annually in order to keep it operating properly and prevent costly breakdowns and repair work.