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Cut Your Air Conditioning Costs With These Tips

There are some easy ways to trim your air conditioning costs without suffering through 90-degree evenings. In fact, if you start preparing for the coming heat wave now, you can probably save a few hundred dollars. You’ll also be doing the environment a favor, since the Energy Department estimates that half of a household’s overall energy usage goes toward heating and cooling costs.

Tips for Saving on Air Conditioning

Tips for lowering air conditioning costsPlug up any holes.

Inexpensive plastic film available at hardware stores can boost insulation around older windows where drafts are most likely. Foam and caulking can also help seal problem areas, as can extra insulation in the attic. Professionals can help with your installation challenges.

If you use window-unit air conditioning, make sure they fit tightly so air can’t escape around the unit. The Energy Department recommends window units have their own electrical circuits to reduce the risk of overloading the system. The agency estimates that creating a proper “thermal boundary” around your home can shave up to 20 percent off heating and cooling costs. Shutting the doors and vents of unused rooms can also lighten the load of your air conditioning unit.

Close the shades.

Anything that keeps the sun from coming in and creating a greenhouse effect will make it easier for your air-conditioning unit to maintain cooler temperatures. For the longer term, consider planting leafy trees or bushes in areas that give your home more shade coverage.

Program the thermostat.

If your dog is home alone all day, he probably won’t mind if things are a bit warm while you’re away. Programmable thermostats, which allow the temperature to automatically rise during the day when no one is home, can lead to annual savings of 30 percent. Even though most systems today have programmable thermostats, people only use them half the time, which means a lot of systems work harder than necessary.

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Keep the filters clean.

It’s important to change out air conditioning filters once a month, or three months if you’re using a better filter that indicates on the packaging to change every three months.

Step away from the oven.

Here’s your excuse to order take-out, or at least rely more on pre-prepared meals. Turning on the oven heats up the rest of the house, too, which forces your air conditioning to go into overdrive. If you still want to cook, consider an outdoor grill, toaster oven, or even the stove-top, which gives off less heat than the oven.

Upgrade your systems.

The Alliance to Save Energy suggests replacing older light bulbs with compact fluorescents. Doing so saves electricity directly, and fluorescents generate less heat. If you’re buying other major items, such as washers, dryers, dishwashers, or even televisions, don’t forget to take energy efficiency into account. The Energy Department’s Energy Star rating helps consumers navigate those purchase decisions, so look for products with the label.

If you’re in the market for a new air conditioning unit, the Energy Department recommends paying close attention to size. Some consumers mistakenly choose bigger units, thinking they’ll be more powerful, but in reality, they can make too much noise and use up excess electricity. A unit that’s the right size for the home will last longer and be more efficient, the agency says. In our next article, we’re going to cover “Sizing an Air Conditioning Unit” so you’ll know what size unit you need for your home.

Brown and Reaves Services is your complete air conditioning and heating service company. Whether your existing air conditioning needs service, or you’re in the market for a new unit, give us a call today. 843-497-9867. And don’t forget to Like us on Facebook!

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