Running your air conditioner can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. There are several ways to cut your AC bills and keep your house cool at the same time. While some require a bit of work, most cost nothing and can be implemented right away.
Close Your Blinds
Letting in natural light raises temperatures inside your home. Shutting your curtains and blinds blocks the sun’s radiant heat, so your air conditioning doesn’t have to work as hard. Once the sun goes down, however, open your blinds and curtains again. This releases latent heat back into the environment, lowering temperatures so you can sleep and ensuring your house is cool as possible the next day.
Run a Fan
Like a cool breeze, circulating air through your home creates a wind chill that lowers your body temperature, which is why running a fan is one of the best ways to cut your AC bills. The movement of the air over your skin dispels excess body heat, enabling you to stay cool while raising the setting on your air conditioner.
Don’t Cook Indoors
Turning on your stove or oven raises temperatures inside your home, so if you can, cook outside. It not only reduces the strain on your air conditioning but in most areas, cooking food on the grill is cheaper than cooking it in your oven. If you have to cook indoors, do it in the early morning or late evening, when temperatures are low.
Close Vents and Doors in Unused Rooms
There is no sense in cooling a room if there’s no one inside it. Close the vents and doors in empty rooms to keep cool air concentrated in the spaces people are using.
Replace Your HVAC Filter
Filters keep your air clean by catching dust, dirt, and dander before they’re blown out into your home. However, filters can wind up costing you money if they’re not changed regularly. If they aren’t swapped out every three months, they become clogged and impede airflow. Installing a fresh filter lets air circulate freely, so your AC runs at peak efficiency.
Gaps around your doors and windows let cool air escape, so seal drafts whenever you find them. Caulk is the simplest, cheapest, and most effective solution. If you suspect a room might have a draft, but can’t see any visible cracks, shut off your fans and air conditioner and hold a paper towel or candle next to the door or window. If it flutters, there’s a draft. Dipping your hand in water and running it along your door or window frame is another easy way to check.
Get Your AC Serviced
Air conditioners require regular maintenance to run efficiently, so hire an HVAC technician to come out and tune up your unit at least once a year. They’ll clean the coils, check the motor, test the fan, and examine the compressor. If any parts have become worn, they’ll go ahead and replace them as well.
Insulate Your Attic
Air conditioners don’t run continuously but in 15-20 minute cycles. Cutting your AC bills means reducing the number of cycles your system runs, which means reducing energy loss. Strong insulation keeps ambient temperatures from warming your home, so your house stays cooler longer after each cycle. Insulation has to be replaced every 10-15 years, more often if it has to deal with high temperatures and excessive humidity. If your house is more than a decade old, climb into the attic and check your insulation. If you notice signs of deterioration, tear it down and replace it as soon as you can.
Install Solar Panels
Most homeowners think the electric company is the only way to power their homes. However, with the right equipment, they can actually power it themselves. DIY energy projects have a high price tag, but save thousands of dollars in the long run. There are even government programs designed to help pay for purchase and installation costs.
While there are several ways to power your home (e.g. turbines, biodiesel), solar panels are by far the most popular. They’re easy to set up and can help run your air conditioning throughout the hottest part of the day. Under the right conditions, they can even generate a surplus you can sell back to your electric company, reducing energy costs even further.
If the purchase price is too high, consider joining a renewable energy initiative like Agway GreenChoiceTM. This is a community project where each member pays a monthly subscription to renewable energy plants in their state, operated by our partner Sterling Planet. Using wind and hydro energy, they’ve displaced over 20 billion pounds of carbon to date. By joining, a share of the electricity they generate is distributed into the utility grid on your behalf. Reduce your household energy costs while working towards a more sustainable future at the same time.
Protect Your Air Conditioner
Cutting AC bills not only means reducing energy consumption, but protecting your cooling system as well. Repairing an air conditioner can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars. But signing up with Agway safeguards your finances. Rather than paying out of pocket, Agway customers are covered by our EnergyGuardTM program.
EnergyGuardTM protects your heating, cooling, and electrical systems. When a breakdown occurs, Agway customers call our support team, who sends out a repairman and pays for all covered parts. There are no service fees or deductibles either. The program starts as soon as you join, so don’t wait. Sign up today!