The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that summer air-conditioning accounts for more than 16% of annual energy spending in the average home. The low-cost tips that follow will help you keep your home comfortable while lowering your energy bills:
1. Have your air-conditioner checked by a qualified professional. Servicing typically includes a check on refrigerant levels, the compressor, hoses, ductwork, and the thermostat.
2. Set your thermostat at 78°F when you are at home and turn it up to 85°F when you are away. A programmable thermostat is an excellent way to save energy and maintain year-around comfort.
3. Make sure your thermostat is not located near lamps or electronic appliances. It can sense heat from these devices, causing your air-conditioner to run longer.
4. Replace air conditioner filters at least once per month; dirty filters restrict airflow, causing your system to run longer.
5. Weather-strip, seal, and caulk leaks around doors and windows, and install foam gaskets behind outlet covers.
6. On warm, sunny days, keep window coverings closed to prevent solar heat gain.
7. Use ceiling or room fans in occupied areas to keep air moving and help to reduce the temperature.
8. Install window tinting to prevent the sun’s rays from reflecting through the windows.
9. Install a whole house fan. These devices circulate cool air throughout your house and exhaust hot air out of the attic.
10. If your air conditioning unit is more than 15 years old, consider replacing it with a newer, more efficient model. Purchase a unit that is ENERGY STAR rated for high efficiency performance.