In most Southern California homes, the air conditioner is the biggest energy consumer. In fact, approximately 30% of all electricity used in a residential location is due to air conditioning.
The good news is there are ways to reduce your bill even if the weather is making it difficult.
Here are 9 ways to lower your energy costs and how to still keep your house cool.
1) Set Your Thermostat a Few Degrees Higher
With air conditioners, the lower you set the temperature, the more energy it takes. Try setting the thermostat a few degrees higher than you usually would, and you will reduce the strain on the machine. The ideal AC temperature to save electricity is 78 degrees Fahrenheit. This is how you can run your air conditioner more economically and effectively.
Maintaining a temperature that’s 10 to 15 degrees higher than what you’re used to for 8 hours should save you up to 10% on your cooling bills every year.
2) Keep The Shades Drawn
Living in Southern California, most people want to enjoy the beautiful sunny weather as much as possible. And while some sun rays are good for us, during the hottest days of the summer, they can cause your AC unit to really have to work overtime.
The heat from sunlight makes your Air Conditioning unit work harder to cool your home and to consume more energy than it should. A great tactic if you want a cooler home is to keep the blinds, curtains and drapes closed to keep the sun out during summers hottest days.
3) Get an Insulation Check-Up
One of the things that lead to massive energy consumption related to your AC unit is a poorly-insulated home.
Older houses typically less insulation than new homes. Cracks in the foundations are also more common, and the seals are more worn and weathered.
To keep the cool air inside, you can have a utility provider or contractor perform a home energy audit. An energy auditor checks your house for leaks and makes recommendations for how to make your home more energy efficient.
4) Keep Air Filters Clean
Over time, through natural use, the air filters in air conditioners will collect dust and debris. Given enough time, this will eventually restrict the air flow, and your AC unit will strain to keep your home cool. Of course, this will also make the Air Conditioner use more energy.
During summer, cleaning and changing your air filters every 30-to-90 days should keep the air flowing smoothly through your unit. It’s a good idea to do this before the summer starts to ensure maximum efficiency.
5) Don’t Place Appliances Near The Thermostat
Your AC thermostat is very sensitive to heat. If your thermostat senses that the temperature around it remains higher than expected, it will force the AC unit to keep running longer. If you have large electronics such as televisions, computers, or even lamps, it can be smart to keep them at a distance from your AC thermostat.
6) Use Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans can help to circulate cool air all throughout the house. With help, your Air Conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard to pump cool air into and around the room.
The improved air circulation from a ceiling fan should also allow you to set your thermostat a few degrees higher without reducing the coolness. Another bonus is that ceiling fans use less electricity. On some days you may be able to simply use the ceiling fans and keep the air conditioner turned off. This is another great way to keep your house cool.
7) Keep a Professional Maintenance Schedule
If you have an individual AC unit in your home, it is wise to get regular maintenance checks. Most people will wait until a unit breaks down before calling a maintenance person, but it can be wise to be preemptive.
Similar to a car, the longer it has been between services, the less efficient the car will become. A quick visit from an AC maintenance technician will ensure that all essential parts are clean, all drains are clear, and refrigerant levels are just right. When the AC unit works more efficiently, it will lead to lower energy use and reduced energy bills.
8) Replace Your Old AC Unit
In some cases, if your Air Conditioner unit that is more than ten years old, it will probably require significant repairs. Any air conditioner that is frequently repaired is likely to become less efficient over time. If you decide to replace your air conditioner, make sure to go for an energy star air conditioner. These certified units will use at least 10% less energy than most new models without the label. Another option is to choose an AC unit that also has a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER).
9) Use Solar Panels for AC units
Perhaps the wisest way to reduce your energy costs for your air conditioner is to generate your own free energy! By installing solar panels onto your home, you can make use of the amazing Southern California climate and sunshine to power your home. While the sun is blazing outside, you are drawing energy to cool the inside.
By installing solar panels on your property, you can offset your electricity consumption. In some cases, you can even earn tax credits for solar installation, so the investment pays off in more ways than one. Plus you are reducing the consumption of electricity from the grid, which is excellent for the environment.
Start incorporating these strategies into your home to start saving money on your energy bill while keeping your house nice and cool. Using solar panels for your AC unit is the smartest choice you can make for your home to help offset the heat.