In the summer, a conundrum blooms: on the one hand, you put your health at risk if you don't have some way to keep your home cool; on the other hand, running your AC the livelong summer can drive up your expenses. Rather than ration your AC use to keep your costs down, you should consider what you can do to improve your home's energy efficiency. Luckily, there are a few easy steps that you can take to make your AC costs more manageable.
1. Turn the Thermostat up
Yes, you read the heading correctly. If you want to save money on your cooling costs, turn your thermostat up—at least while you are away from home. Studies show that for every degree over 78˚, you can reduce your cooling costs by 6-8%. When you are going to be away from home during the day, it makes little sense to set your thermostat to your desired setting when you aren't even there to enjoy the cool air. Use a programmable thermostat so that your AC turns on at a higher temperature while you are away and then starts to cool your home back down to your preferred settings a half hour or so before you get home.
2. Install Low-E Window Film
Studies show that windows are responsible for up to 30% of a home's heat gain during the summer. The cost of window film will vary depending on what kind of window film you get and how much you use, but you can expect to pay between $4-$15 per square foot. By reflecting the sun's UV rays away from your home, window films can reduce your cooling costs by up to 23%.
3. Clean Your Condenser Coils
Insect carcases, dust, yard debris, and garbage can all collect on your condenser coils. As grime builds up on your coils, it will restrict air flow and decrease your AC efficiency by up to 37%. To clean your condenser coils, use the following steps:
A. Remove the wire grid that protects your coils.
B. Pull off large pieces of garbage or debris by hand.
C. Use a wet/dry beac to suck up any loose material.
D. Spray the coils with a coil cleaner and allow the solvents in the cleaner time to dissolve stuck-on grime.
E. Scrub your coils clean with a stiff-bristle brush.
F. Replace the protective grid.
There are steps you can take to make running your AC unit through the summer more affordable. If you think you are paying too much to cool your home, rethink your cooling strategy. In particular, you should take steps to improve the function of your AC unit, decrease the need to run your AC, and improve your home's ability to stay cool.
To learn more, contact a company like Doc Dancer Heating, Air Conditioning & Generators.