Summer is here, and that means longer days with hotter temperatures. Whether you’re staying at home or going to work, the air conditioner is going to be cooling the environment. An air conditioner is a necessity, especially for children, the elderly, and delicate electronic equipment, which all suffer in extreme heat.
With more reliance on your air conditioner, you may be doing things that are causing more AC and power usage than necessary. Here are a few of the ways you can decrease that power consumption.
Change Your Filter
The easiest way to ensure more efficient power use is also the easiest to forget. If you’re using a central HVAC system, all the air that is processed still runs to your furnace before being piped through the vents. So, the air is pushed through and cleaned by the filter.
The filter should be replaced with every change of season. Waiting four or more months means allowing the filter to become so clogged with dirt that air is no longer smoothly passing through. If that happens, your air conditioner must now work longer to produce more air to get through the filter and into your home. That adds up to higher electricity bills. Make sure to replace your filter, and you’ll maintain power efficiency.
A centralized HVAC system uses vents that push heated or chilled air out of grates or registers in the floor. The placement of registers in rooms is optimized to distribute that air as efficiently as possible, but sometimes, HVAC efficiency interferes with decor needs.
If you have a sofa, recliner, or bed that is positioned directly over one of these registers this is a significant hit to your air conditioner—and furnace—efficiency. That air is not spreading throughout the room the way it should, which causes HVAC systems to work longer than they need to. If possible, try to arrange furniture so that it doesn’t block the air flow from these registers. It makes a difference to your power consumption.
Run It Hot During Vacancies
The air conditioner is meant to keep you and other residents comfortable. But if no one is home, there’s no need to keep running the AC at these lower temperatures. If you know that people won’t be in the space for hours at a time, such as during work or school hours or for vacations, then it’s better to set the temperature to 85°F. This is still cool enough that electronics won’t be affected.
If you have a smart thermostat, you can do this remotely through an app on your phone, which then allows you to reset the temperature to a comfortable level a few minutes before you return to your home.
Run the Air Conditioner at 78°F
This depends entirely on willingness and personal sensitivity. However, if you can do so, keeping the temperature of a home at 78°F is the air conditioner equivalent of running a car on “cruise control.”
The heat tolerance of you and your family is critical here, so always prioritize the safety and health of family members. However, if no one has any issues, then for every degree above 78° you are willing to go, you can save 3% on bills. Conversely, you experience that same increase in your bills with every degree you go below 78°F.
Dress for Comfort
In the tropics, people dress for the weather, and the same should be true here when summer hits Virginia. If you’re at home, there’s no need to dress in jeans and a sweater. Dress lightly, with thinner materials, and in shorter sleeves and pants.
You will be comfortable at much higher temperatures in your home and can set the thermostat to more efficient settings.
Use Your Fans
If you have ceiling fans or any other type of fan, these use less electricity than your air conditioner. At the same time, they can help you to lower your usage of the air conditioner since the movement of air provides a cooling effect.
Combining ceiling or room fan action with your air conditioner allows you to leave your thermostat at higher settings while remaining comfortable. Try this in any room that you’re using. If you have any additional questions or need assistance with your air conditioner, contact us today, and we’ll be happy to help.