Minnesotans love summer, but we don’t love to see our energy bill after running our air conditioner non-stop during the heat. And we have a lot of company. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, two out of three homes in America have air conditioners, and it costs those homeowners $11 billion each year to power them – now that is a lot of cold hard cash being used to keep you cool! That’s why your happy helpers at Stay Comfy Minnesota want to help you beat the heat and pad your wallet in the process. So, here are some simple tips for saving money with your AC.
Watch Those Open Windows
Windows are a huge area for energy loss if you’re not sure how best to use them.
First, leaving curtains or shades open during the daytime is an invitation for heat to come inside. If you’re not home, or don’t have a reason to keep blinds facing the sun open, keep them closed to keep the heat out, and cut down on AC costs.
Also, don’t turn off your AC and open the windows just because it’s cooler outside. Keith Hill, technical support manager from Minnesota Air, says if it’s cool and dry, then take advantage of the outdoor air – but if there’s humidity, opening a window will make your AC work very hard to remove it again.
“To give you an idea of how much energy it takes to dehumidify air, to remove one gallon of water from the air your AC will consume about 8,000 watts of power,” says Keith. “It takes a lot of energy to remove water vapor from air, so once your home is cool and dry, don’t let that humidity back in.”
Look at your thermostat. A programmable one will save you money in the long run, because you can set it to higher temps both at night and while you are away from the house.
Additionally, set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible anytime you are home in the summer. The Dept. of Energy suggests setting it at 78 degrees when you need cooling, and higher when you are away. The higher you set it, the more you save.
“Sometimes it’s a matter of acclimation,” says Keith. “I always start the season at 74° F and then move it up once acclimated to the warmer weather. So by July 4th, I’m usually running at 78° F.”
Remember, the smaller the difference between the outdoor temperature and indoor temperature means the lower your bill will be.
Keep It Clean
To make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck, keeping your AC unit clean will help. If you want to maintain the maximum efficiency, clean dirt and debris from the AC unit, change the air filter monthly, and keep plant growth away from the outdoor unit to promote the maximum airflow. For other tips on cleaning your air conditioner, click here.
You go to a doctor and dentist, and bring your car in for maintenance checks and oil changes, so you should do the same for your AC and HVAC system. There is never a bad time to have a professional give your system an inspection, says Keith.
“A tech can verify that your system is performing at its peak, and if not, he or she will tune it up in short order,” he says.
Keeping your unit running efficiently will mean more dollars in the bank, and less out the window. So, if you need to find a professional near you, make sure to talk to one of our trusted technicians to get you on the right track.
And if you are looking for more ways to save, check out our other list of energy saving tips every homeowner should know.