Make sure your AC system won't bankrupt you or fail you when you need it most.
Here, you'll read about several cost-effective hacks to improve your AC's performance.
You'll also learn how to run quick check-ups yourself, scanning for poor sealings, bent coil fins, and other potential problems.
How to Save Money on Air Conditioning
There are several ways to save money and make your AC system more cost-effective. You can find a couple of them below.
Pre-Installation: When Choosing an Air Conditioning Unit
Room Size and Speed Settings
Know your room's dimensions before you go shopping. It's a piece of crucial information, and not having it can lead you to choose the wrong AC. Also, check if you can adjust the fan's speed system.
Mind Your Budget
A couple of energy companies have unique plans and discounts. There are discounts for people on Social Security or other government assistance, like the ones offered by Con Edison in New York.
Some other companies offer fixed prices throughout the year, so bills don't spike up during extreme seasons. Check what your options are with your energy company.
In Your Home
Maintenance – Replacing and Cleaning Filters and Lines
Because air filters don't stay out of sight and won't stop your air conditioner from working (no matter how dirty it is), many users tend to forget it's there. Still, not cleaning them regularly and not changing them when needed may cost you more at the end of the month.
Apart from risking your room's air quality, clogged filters compromise the airflow. It'll make the air conditioner work harder than necessary. It can also have a few health implications.
Look for the Best Position for Your Thermostat
Never place your thermostat where it's exposed to sunlight. It’ll make it misread the room temperature, wasting a significant amount of energy. Walls heat up in hot weather, so placing the thermostat on an exterior wall can also make it misread the room temperature.
It would be best if you always placed it on internal walls, preferably not close to any doors. Refrain from placing it on corridors or rooms which aren’t frequently used. It would make it read the temperature where you don’t want to control it.
Consider Smart Thermostats and Timers
Smart thermostats and timers can help to save a great deal on your monthly bill. Although a thermostat upgrade won't be costless, they pay themselves with savings. With a timer, you can have greater control of how much your air conditioner works. When setting the temperature, remember that lower temperatures cost more.
So, it's advisable to choose the highest temperature with which you'd feel comfortable. With a temperature as little as one degree warmer, you can save up to 10% on your annual bill. Every degree counts in the saving effort. Using the air conditioner only during the hottest hours of the day and turning it off by night can also save money.
Keep the Room Shut for Sunlight
Consider installing blinds and curtains in your room. When a room is exposed to sunlight, it heats up, even with closed windows. Keeping the sun away during the hottest hours is a costless way to keep the room cooler. Additionally, you can install awnings on windows and doors to shade the room during that time of the day.
Use a Ceiling Fan
Installing a ceiling fan in the room is a cheap way to improve your air conditioner's performance. They consume much less energy than air conditioners. Still, they can lower the room temperature to around 10 degrees. So, you can set your thermostat higher than you'd usually do while maintaining your comfort.
Outside Your Home
Another efficient and eco-friendly way to boost your AC's performance is to plant trees around the house if possible. It'll create more natural shades and protect, at least partially, the outside walls from sunlight. It makes a huge difference overall.
Apply Insulation and Coverings of Windows and Doors
Firstly, make sure your room is properly insulated. Otherwise, cool air can escape from cracks and gaps. It would make your air conditioner work harder to cool and keep the desired temperature. You can hire an audit to check the insulation for you or run a basic check-up yourself.
Go outside of the room and check doors and windows for leaks. If you find any gap, close it with the appropriate material, depending on what kind of surface you need to fix. Hiring a company to insulate your room can cost anything from $200 to $1,000, so check what you can do by yourself first.
Routine Maintenance to Keep Your Air Conditioner Functioning Optimally
Different parts of your AC may wear out and need cleaning or replacement regularly. According to the Department of Energy, the filter is the most important of them all. They need regular care, especially if you live in dusty environments or with furry pets. Poorly maintained filters may need more energy to provide the same airflow.
Keeping your filter clean can increase durability on different parts of your AC, like the evaporator coil, for instance. It can also aggravate respiratory conditions, such as asthma. Other parts may need less frequent revisions.
Condenser and evaporator coils gather dirt over time and should be cleaned, at least yearly. Dirt and debris can clog and insulate those coils as well, compromising the best functioning of your AC. Coil fins aren’t very resistant and can bend unnoticeably and block airflow. So, always check for the condition of your coil fins.
Clean the drain channels. They can also clog and gather excessive humidity, risking damaging walls, curtains, and carpets. Additionally, check your AC's window sealing and reseal it if there's a gap through which cool air could leak.
When is it Time to Replace My Air Conditioner?
The durability of a well-maintained AC should be between 10 and 15 years. Here's a couple of signs that it's time to replace it.
More Expansive Energy Bills
If you've noticed your bill's increased, but your usage level hasn't, it's because your AC isn't working as it once did.
If your AC system is more than 10 years old and constantly needs repair, consider replacing it.
Loud and abnormal noises can be signs of severe mechanical problems. Get it to a technician and consider replacing it, depending on the final cost of the repair.
If the airflow isn't the same, maybe it's because your compressor can't cope with it anymore.
Owning a fully functional air conditioning system is a matter of better life quality. There are many ways to improve your cooling system, with ceiling fans, dehumidifiers, awnings, better insulation, and so on.
They can be quite costly if not properly installed or maintained. It's also not advisable to insist on old and problematic air conditioners, as they can be more expensive in the end.
People Also Ask
If you're still unsure about what to do, check some of the main doubts and misconceptions about air conditioners below. Here, we’ve listed more tips and information to make the best cost-effective use of your air conditioner.
Is it Cheaper to Keep the AC on All the Time?
It isn't. Many people believe that it's a waste of energy to keep turning the AC on and off, which shows how widespread this misconception is. It's cheaper to keep the AC on only when necessary. Even a higher temperature will consume more energy if the equipment is kept on during the whole day.
How Many Hours Should an AC Run Per Day?
It depends on the time of the year or how hot it is at the moment. Usually, 15-minute cycles should suffice for cooling a room during a mild day. Yet, during the hottest days, you may feel like leaving it on for almost the whole day.
What Should I Set My AC To in Order To Save Money?
Consider setting up a temperature that’s comfortable but not cold. This balance is, of course, a matter of personal taste. Many people will find that 78°F (or 26° Celsius) is enough to keep their homes cool. A ceiling fan can help decrease room temperature even further without setting the AC too low.
Will Using a Dehumidifier Help My House Feel Cooler?
Yes, it’ll make it feel cooler. As you can probably guess, a dehumidifier absorbs humidity from the air and blows back dry air. It shouldn’t be mistaken for an air conditioner. Dehumidifiers don't blow cold air back to the room like air conditioners do. Still, they can improve an air conditioner's effectiveness. Dry environments get cooler quicker.
Should I Close My Vents to Keep My Main Room Cooler?
It won't make your room or house any cooler. The system will produce the same amount of heated or cold air, regardless of how many vents you have open. So, closing your bedroom vents won't make your living room any cooler. It's not advisable either, as it can damage the whole system with leaks. It can end up consuming more energy as well.
How Much Does Turning the Thermostat Up a Degree Save?
The Department of Energy says that one degree up in your thermostat corresponds roughly to 10% of energy-saving on your yearly bill. This projection takes into consideration a set of eight-hour cycles.