It almost seems like an oxymoron – saving energy when you’re running your air conditioner, especially during the extreme temperatures of summer. However, there are ways to curtail energy consumption when using your AC, and saving energy leads to saving money. Here are a few ideas:
Join the fan club
Take the cool air produced by your air conditioner and make the most out of it by using fans to help. Ceiling fans (rotating counterclockwise) will help keep that cool air down where you are. Fans throughout the interior can help air circulate through rooms, helping with air flow. And while fans don’t actually cool air, they make it feel cooler because of the wind chill effect.
Throw a little shade
Close curtains, blinds, and other window coverings during the brightest, warmest parts of the day. (And have your blinds/shades placed as close to the window as possible.) You’ll be surprised at how much solar energy you deflect – keeping the heat outside where it belongs.
Don’t close me in
Your vents want to be free – so let ‘em be. Don’t cover or block them with furniture, clothes, junk, or anything that will get in the way of a nice, cool, free air flow. If you’re dealing with a small space and have absolutely no place else to put that chair except over an air vent, go to your local hardware store and buy an air deflector for the register.
Keep your cool
Try to avoid cooking, drying clothes, or washing dishes during the heat of the day. Running heat-generating appliances like ovens, dryers, dishwashers, and water heaters make your air conditioner work harder than it has to. Save those activities for evening hours when the sun and temperatures drop.
Seal the deal
Air is sneaky – especially expensive cool air. It likes to sneak out cracks, doors, and windows. So, seal all those cracks and openings with caulk or weather stripping.
It’s the little things
You might not think a few little degrees would make a big difference, but the truth is, they do. The US Department of Energy recommends keeping your thermostat set at 78°F because keeping the temperature at 78ºF instead of 72ºF can mean an energy savings of up to 18 percent. But even if you think that temperature is too high for comfort, even splitting the difference will still save significant energy.
Get by with a little help from your friends
Dirty filters, dusty coils, and blocked air flow can force your air conditioner to work harder and consume more energy, so let your friends at a trusted local HVAC company keep it inspected, maintained, and healthy.