6 Tips to Save Energy While Using Your AC

You may be tempted to keep the air conditioning (AC) turned down as low as possible on the hottest summer days. You can stay indoors where it’s cold and refreshing while the outside world keeps its heat to itself.

The power bills are the painful part of the low-AC strategy. Comfort comes in many forms, and lower bills are one of the nicest comforts out there. Learn six ways to lower your energy bills this summer while you stay cool.

1. Seal the Cracks

Don’t let all of your cold air be sucked out of drafty windows or lost through big gaps under exterior doors. Use door brushes to block door bottoms and thermal window coverings to keep cool air in the house.

Find all of the places where your home needs caulk and other repairs. Check windows for proper glazing. Also, be vigilant about keeping outside doors closed to retain cool household temperatures. If your home isn’t properly insulated, research how and where insulation would help keep cool air inside your home. Your attic, crawl space, or other area may need insulation to help your home retain indoor temperatures. You can also insulate ductwork to increase the efficiency of your AC system.

2. Stop Paying for Phantom Heat

Are you cooling your home only to add more constant heat to the indoor air? A variety of random items produce heat. When you’re paying for AC, you pay to cool unused devices and appliances that stay plugged in and warm.

Unplug all unused electronics and other heat-producing devices including:
  • Phone and device chargers
  • TVs and gaming gear
  • Stereo and recording equipment
  • DVD and other video players
  • Personal computers
  • Dorm fridges
If it puts off heat, unplug it. Every little bit of heat savings means your AC system doesn’t have to work as hard to keep you comfortable.

3. Develop a New Seasonal Diet

You add both heat and humidity to indoor air when cooking in the oven or on the stove top. Instead of boiling, baking, and simmering foods, discuss with your household members how you can change to a summer diet that keeps the chill indoors. Grilling outdoors is one option.

No-cook foods that are great summer dishes include:
  • Sliced and cubed fruit
  • Salads
  • Deli meats
  • Sliced cheeses
  • Pickles and relishes
  • Raw veggies and dips
If you must cook, limit cooking to the evening hours so the house can cool down overnight. Cook meals ahead of time while it’s cool, and then store individual portions in the freezer to reheat in the microwave on hot days.

4. Adjust the Ceiling Fans for Summer

Ceiling fans can reduce AC costs by allowing you to raise the thermostat setting on your central AC unit. Studies have shown that ceiling fans make rooms feel cooler by four degrees Fahrenheit.

Remember that ceiling fans have summer and winter modes. In summer, the blades should rotate in a counter-clockwise direction to direct cool air downward.

The seasonal setting is usually activated by a switch located on the motor housing of the fan. If you flip the switch yourself, cut the power to the fan by flipping the breaker for the fan’s line. No one will accidentally turn on the fan while you’re adjusting the setting. (Use a headlamp if the breaker also cuts power to the room’s lights.)

5. Turn up the Heat When You Go

Contrary to some myths, it’s actually more cost-effective to raise the thermostat on your AC unit when you leave the home. It takes less power for your AC system to re-cool rooms after you get home than it does to maintain a steady cool temperature the entire time you’re away from home.

If everyone leaves the home in the morning, take the time to close drapes and blinds so no sunlight can heat the indoor spaces. Thermal curtains on windows can help seal in the morning chill, too.

While the home may be a bit warmer than you prefer when you return home, don’t try to force the AC to quickly chill your home. Set the thermostat to the normal temperature you enjoy and be patient. Your lower energy expenses are worth the small sacrifice.

6. Take Care of Your Central AC System

A clean, well-maintained AC system is an efficient system. Even a simple change like replacing a clogged air filter can result in 5 to 15 percent savings on your cooling costs.

Your HVAC professionals are the best people to call to keep your AC tuned up and running in peak form. They inspect:
  • Compressor
  • Condenser coils
  • Wiring and connections
  • Switches
  • Fans and belts
  • Motors
Your AC system needs little fixes from time to time, including lubrication and refrigerant replacement. When you let the professionals check out your system for the summer, you benefit from a more efficient cooling appliance and lower energy costs.

Contact Ragan Mechanical today and schedule an inspection of your AC system. We tune up and repair AC systems throughout Iowa and Illinois.

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