If you aren’t a fan of using fans, you should be—that is, if you like being comfortable in the summer while saving money at the same time. Just about any type of fan you can think of will help your air conditioner work more efficiently. That includes ceiling fans, box fans, oscillating desk fans and especially the fan in your central air system.
You may be thinking that fans use electricity, so how could that save money? The reason is that they use a lot less than your air conditioner’s cooling unit. Since the unit will run less when the cool air inside is constantly circulated, the net effect is a lower energy bill. Moving air also makes you feel cooler, which means you may be able to get away with setting the thermostat a little higher.
Another tip: If you are running your system’s fan and still not feeling good airflow, this could be pointing to a problem with your air filtration. When your filters are dirty, they can actually restrict airflow, which will make your fan work harder without getting you much cooler. Check the filter and, if necessary, clean it or replace it. You’ll be feeling the cool breeze in no time.
In warm southern climates, central air conditioning is one of your home’s biggest expenses. Not only are air conditioning units big-ticket items to install, but they also take the biggest bite out of your energy budget—as much as 43 percent! The equipment you choose and the way you use it can either cost or save you a bundle over the years.
Your air conditioner works a lot more efficiently when you are paying attention to the heat coming into your home in the first place. You can help it out by thinking about ways to reduce and deflect this heat. For example:
- Make sure that your windows are tight with no leaks, and always keep them shut in hot weather. Wherever possible, create some internal shading with closable curtains or drapes. This quick solution will provide at least some relief from the scorching daytime sun, especially if you have older windows.
- Shade really does make a difference! Longer term, adding trees to shade your windows will prevent some direct heat from entering your home, making it easier for your system to maintain a comfortable temperature.
- Remember that a lot of you appliances (oven, dishwasher, laundry machines, etc.) give off heat! As much as possible, avoid running them during the heat of the day, when they will only make your air conditioner work harder.
There are, of course, a lot of other solutions that can help: insulation, dehumidification and programmable thermostats are just a few. Extreme Residential can help you learn about what suits your home the best. But you can have a more efficient air conditioner starting today by thinking about ways to reduce its workload.
Thermostat tips to help save you money
If you live in the south, as many as 2 out of every 5 dollars you spend on energy will be to keep your house cool in the long, hot summer season. Anything you can do to reduce such a big chunk of your energy use will end up saving money, especially if you do it consistently. Here are a couple of tips that may surprise you:
- Keep your thermostat set higher
OK, there’s nothing surprising about the idea that a higher setting means lower costs. But what might be surprising is just how much difference it makes. Did you know that for each degree you set your thermostat below 78, your system is using about 4% more energy? That means setting it at 72 ends up using 20-25% more energy than setting it at 78. Over time, that can be a lot of cash.
- Keep your system’s fan on
What may be more surprising is that keeping your fan setting to “on” instead of “auto” will actually make your system run more efficiently, even though it will be running constantly. That’s because the fan takes less energy to use than the cooling unit, so the increased circulation of the existing cool air uses less overall energy. It also tends to make it feel a little cooler, which means you may be able to get by with a temperature that’s a degree or two higher while still feeling just as cool and comfortable.
Even if it’s a very simple one, your thermostat is a critical way you can control your cooling costs—one that you can take advantage of right away.