As electricity rates continue to rise, keeping cooling costs low is becoming increasingly important. Even a small step toward reducing your home’s cooling expenses can make a big difference in how much you pay over time. Thankfully, you can keep these costs low using a few strategies.
Invest in an Energy-Efficient Air Conditioner
Purchasing a new air conditioner requires an upfront investment, but an energy-efficient unit can more than pay for itself over time. You’ll get recurring savings each month you run the new unit, and you’ll continue to benefit from the savings for as long as you have the air conditioner.
Exactly how much you save will depend on several factors, including how efficient your current unit is, how efficient the new one is, and how often the air conditioner runs. If you have an older unit or live in an especially hot area, the difference in your monthly electric bills could be especially significant.
Should you decide to invest in a new air conditioner, select a model that’s certified through the Energy Star program. These air conditioners have a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) of 14.5 or greater, which makes them some of the most efficient models on the market. SEER ratings are based on cooling output for a season and electricity usage.
Install Well-Designed Ductwork
The ductwork in a home has a substantial impact on how hard the house’s air conditioner must work, for the ducts are what carry the cold air to rooms. Ducts that are too small can’t move all the cold air an AC unit generates, while ducts that are too large won’t move the air efficiently enough.
Replacing existing ductwork probably doesn’t make financial sense unless you’re doing other home improvement work at the same time. The cost associated with ripping open walls, taking out ducts and relaying new ducts is probably more than what you’ll save as a result of the replacement project.
If you’re completing a major remodel, however, you should replace improperly sized ducts. They’re easy to remove and install when walls and ceilings are already open for other work.
Clean All Air Ducts
The air that flows through air ducts carries dust, and that dust settles in ducts over time. If the dust isn’t cleared out, so much eventually collects that it restricts the flow of air through the ductwork. This diminishes an air conditioner’s ability to cool, as it can’t push cold air through the system as well.
Periodically have your home’s air ducts cleaned to keep dust from building up so that it impacts the air conditioner. Generally speaking, air ducts should be cleaned every three to fiveyears.
Raise Your Thermostat’s Setting
During the warm months, raising the temperature your thermostat is set to will have a noticeable impact on how much your air conditioner runs and how much your energy costs are. Every degree over 80 Fahrenheit that you set your thermostat can yield 2 to 3 percent savings on cooling costs.
If putting your home’s thermostat over 80 degrees sounds unbearable, you can still save by selectively increasing it. Raising it just a degree or two while you’re home will provide some savings, and you can always put it above 80 when no one’s home.
Plant Trees Around Your House
Young trees won’t have an immediate impact on air cooling costs, but they can have an effect after a few years. Mature trees that are located so they cast shade on your house will reduce how much warmth your home absorbs from sunlight, so your air conditioner will need to work less hard to keep the house cool.
If you need a new air conditioner, contact Custom Comfort.