15 Tips for Saving Energy on Air Conditioning

By Josh Crank, September 12, 2018, Energy Efficiency

Most homeowners agree that relief from the summer heat is a comfort worth paying for. But as one of the largest appliances in your home, your air conditioner accounts for a significant share of your utility costs. Learning how to use your air conditioner economically is a great place to start if you’re looking to shrink your electric bill.

Some of these tips carry an up-front cost, and others require a little extra self-discipline — but learning how to save energy with air conditioner tips is worth the effort. There’s more savings potential in home comfort than in any other slice of the energy pie.

15 Tips for Saving Energy on Air Conditioning | Bounce Energy Blog

Energy Saving Tips for Your Air Conditioner

  1. Get your air conditioner tuned up every year. An annual tune-up isn’t “above and beyond” — it’s basic maintenance, like an oil change for your car. It saves you money by extending the life of your system and helping you catch problems early, before they get expensive. But it also helps maximize your air conditioner energy efficiency, which pays off all summer long.
  2. Change your filter on schedule. You should know where your HVAC filter is, what size it is and how to change it. If you use disposable filters, keep a supply on hand and write the installation date on each filter as you install it. A clogged filter will force your air conditioner to work much harder.
  3. Make sure your vents can breathe. If your air conditioning vents are clogged with dust — or worse, if they’re blocked by furniture — your cool air can’t reach the center of the room. Make sure all your vents are clear and properly directed so that your cool air gets where you need it.
  4. Seal leaky ductwork. Duct systems can leak due to corrosion, improper installation, damage or just old age. If you find leaks in sections of your ductwork that you can access, you can seal them yourself using a sealant called mastic. If there are leaks deep in your system, professional duct sealing specialists can seal them from the inside using special equipment.
  5. Insulate your ducts. If you have long sections of exposed ducts in your basement, attic or both, wrapping them in insulation is a relatively inexpensive and simple weekend job. This will help reduce thermal loss as treated air moves throughout your ductwork. Clear air ducts are also important for energy efficiency. 15 Tips for Saving Energy on Air Conditioning | Bounce Energy Blog 
  6. Upgrade your attic insulation. Unfinished attics can fill with superheated air during hot summer days, and if the attic insulation isn’t sufficient, that air can radiate down into your rooms. If you can see the rafters in your attic floor, you can benefit from adding more insulation.
  7. Seal drafts. Those drafty areas that let in cold air in the winter will also let in warm air all summer. Replace cracked weather stripping and use spray foam insulation to seal other small gaps and cracks that compromise your thermal envelope.
  8. Keep your compressor clean. The outdoor unit of your air conditioner is designed for all-weather conditions, but if it gets clogged up with leaves, dirt or other debris, it will have to work harder to do its job.
  9. Experiment with your thermostat. Changing the temperature settings on your thermostat can make a substantial difference. If you always keep it at 72 degrees, try 73 for a while. If that’s no big sacrifice, try 74. Push yourself in increments to keep the thermostat higher, and the difference will show in your monthly electric bill.
  10. Upgrade to a smart thermostat. If you want your thermostat to do the work for you, there are internet-connected thermostats that can learn your preferences and make adjustments automatically to save you money. You can also control these thermostats from anywhere using your smartphone.15 Tips for Saving Energy on Air Conditioning | Bounce Energy Blog 
  11. Block out the sun. Let warm sunlight stream through your windows and it will fight your air conditioner all day long. Use reflective shades, blackout curtains, honeycomb blinds or other energy-efficient window treatments to block it out.
  12. Use fans. When using ceiling fans, make sure they’re spinning counterclockwise. Fans create a downdraft that cools your skin, allowing you to set your thermostat higher without sacrificing comfort. But fans don’t actually cool the air, so you should only use them in occupied rooms.
  13. Save heat-producing activities for nighttime. Whether you’re drying a load of laundry or baking a loaf of bread, some indoor activities pump a lot of unwanted heat into your home. During the summer, wait until the cool nighttime hours to start these tasks.
  14. Dress lightly at home. Hanging out in shorts and tank tops makes it a lot easier to push the thermostat a degree or two higher.
  15. Replace your aging air conditioner. Even a well-cared-for air conditioner will eventually need replacement, and the average lifespan of a system tops out around 20 years. Every air conditioner loses a little efficiency with time, and if you keep using a system well beyond its prime, the efficiency loss can grow exponentially. Make a long-term replacement plan and upgrade your system before it starts costing you big. One of the first things you’ll need to do in the buying process is find out what size air conditioner your home needs.

As you can see, there are a lot of ways to reduce your cooling costs, and some are easier than others. Change what you can today, and plan for more ambitious changes tomorrow!

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