While other parts of the country begin gearing up for winter, by scheduling heating maintenance—an appointment you should get on your calendar soon too—among other tasks, most of us are still using our air conditioners on a daily basis. That being said, you’re likely sick of the warm weather and are probably tempted to set your thermostat as low as it will go to tolerate the heat.
Unfortunately, your air conditioner uses a lot of energy. In fact, it’s estimated that your HVAC systems account for half of all of your home’s energy use. Turning your thermostat down as low as it will go forces your AC to use even more undue energy, wearing down the system much faster. The good news is that there are methods in which you can keep yourself and your household occupants cool without using so much energy, and without sacrificing your comfort.
Give Your AC a Break
There are times when you can, and should, give your air conditioning system a break. This doesn’t mean you have to turn it off completely, just help it work as efficiently as it can. For instance, you can:
- Turn the thermostat up at night, or even turn the AC off and opt to open windows instead.
- Close your shades and blinds during the daytime to keep out the sun.
- Cease using appliances that heat the house during the day, such as your oven or clothes dryer.
- Use fans—including ceiling fans—to help distribute cool air throughout your living space.
Other Ways to Boost Efficiency
A good piece of advice for getting the most out of your air conditioner is to keep it in the best condition possible. This way, it can run smoothly and won’t need to use any more energy than it should have to. This means you should do your best to:
- Schedule air conditioning maintenance once a year.
- Change the air filter once a month to maintain airflow and protect the inside components of your HVAC system.
- Call a technician right away for repairs if you notice a problem with the system.
Turn Up the Thermostat
We’ll mention this again—turning up your thermostat is a good way to ensure that the system works as efficiently as possible, and you get the most for your money. We understand that this is one tip that most homeowners are hesitant to follow. But turning the temp down as low as it will go does nothing to actually cool you off any faster. It only wastes energy as the AC struggles to actually reach your desired temperature.
Most household occupants can be comfortable with a temperature setting of about 78°F—but some adjustments may need to be made for the elderly or young children. Keep the temperature around this setting during the daytime, and turn it up about 5° or more at night or when you leave the home—you could be pleasantly surprised by how much money you save as a result!