Keeping your home cool and comfortable during the hot Texas summer can be quite costly. The hot, humid weather means that your air conditioning system will run much more than it would in a cooler climate. This can quickly add up to high electricity bills as your air conditioner typically uses more electricity than everything else in the home combined. While your electricity bills will always be higher in the summer, there are ways that you can lessen the strain on your AC system and help keep your energy bills from rising too high. If you’re looking to save some money this winter, here are a few tips you should definitely consider.
1. Turn Up the Thermostat a Few Degrees
Most people assume that turning the thermostat up or down by a few degrees won’t make all that much difference in their energy bills. If you were to set your thermostat to one degree higher for eight hours each day in the summer, your electricity usage will drop by around 1% to 2%. This may not sound like much at first, but it can still make quite a big difference.
Let’s say that you normally just leave your thermostat set to 70 degrees all summer long. If you were to turn the thermostat up and leave the temperature constantly set to 72 degrees instead, your energy bills should drop by somewhere around 3% to 6%.
Now let’s say that your home has a 5-ton, 14 SEER air conditioner. In the Dallas area, this AC unit would typically use around $1,000 of electricity in one year, which means you would usually save around $30 to $60 a year if you constantly left the AC set two degrees higher than normal.
2. Use a Programmable or Smart Thermostat
The further that you turn your thermostat up during the summer, the more money you will obviously save. This is where having a programmable or smart thermostat can be extremely helpful as you can program your AC system for higher and lower temperatures at different parts of the day. For instance, you can set it to that the temperature switches from 70 to 78 degrees while you’re asleep and also during the day when you’re at work, which can make a huge difference in your energy costs.
If you were to turn the thermostat up by 8 degrees during the eight hours you’re at work and also when you’re asleep, you could lower your energy costs by somewhere between 15% and 30%. If your normal annual cooling costs are around $1,000, this means you should save a few hundred every year.
3. Keep Your Windows Closed at Night
One method that many people use to try to lower their energy costs during the summer is shutting the AC off at night and sleeping with the windows open. Unfortunately, this isn’t nearly as effective as you might think for a few different reasons. In fact, it often won’t end up saving you any money and can increase the wear and tear on your AC system.
The first reason is that your air conditioning system typically doesn’t use all that much electricity at night since it won’t need to run as often or as long whenever the temperature starts to cool off after dark. In most cases, around two-thirds to three-quarters of an air conditioner’s total energy consumption occurs between noon and midnight since this is when the building receives the most heat gain.
The other reason that opening your windows isn’t always a good idea is that it allows lots of humidity to come inside. All of this moisture will then seep into your floors, walls and furnishings and thus keep your home’s humidity level much higher. In hotter climates like Texas, keeping your windows open at night will also often lead to the temperature in the home increasing by at least 5 degrees or so.
Both the high indoor temperature and humidity mean that your AC will have to work harder and run for a longer time to fully cool your home when it comes back on in the morning. Studies have shown that this extra load on an AC from keeping the windows open will typically negate most, if not all, of the energy savings you gained from leaving the system shut off at night.
4. Turn Your Ceiling Fans On
Ceiling fans can also be a great help both during summer and winter. In the winter, a ceiling fan spinning clockwise will help to circulate the hot air that collects near the ceiling back down into the room so that your heating system doesn’t need to run as often.
In the summer, you always want to have your ceiling fans set to spin in the opposite counterclockwise direction. This will push air downwards and create a cooling breeze that will help to keep you from feeling quite as hot. In fact, ceiling fans will typically allow you to raise the temperature on your thermostat by a few degrees without causing any real noticeable difference in your comfort level.
Of course, you probably shouldn’t leave all of your ceiling fans on constantly and instead only use them in rooms that are currently occupied. The average ceiling fan will consume around 75 watts of electricity per hour or 1,800 watts in a day. If you had one ceiling fan on for a full day, it would typically use about as much electricity as a 5-ton AC would in 30 minutes. However, if you left multiple ceiling fans constantly running all day long, they would likely cancel out any energy saving you got from turning your thermostat up a few degrees.
5. Schedule a Spring AC Tune-Up
By far one of the best things you can do to keep your summer energy bills in check is to schedule an AC tune-up service every spring. A tune-up includes a full inspection and cleaning and calibrating of your entire air conditioning system, including your outdoor AC unit, evaporator coil, blower, and ductwork.
Many different AC issues can lead to the system not cooling as effectively, which means it will run longer and use more energy. This is especially true if your ductwork is old, damaged, or has lots of air leaks as these issues will often increase your energy bills by 20% or more.
A tune-up will help to ensure that your system is free from any issues and that it is functioning at its peak effectiveness and energy efficiency. Annual inspections are also important for preventing your AC from suddenly breaking down during the summer and leaving you stuck in the heat. If the technician does find any problems with the system during their inspection, they can then immediately repair the problem before things get worse.
At Accurate Home Services, our Accurate Maintenance Plan is a great way to lower both your cooling and heating costs. Our team can also help with any HVAC repairs or if you need a new air conditioner or other HVAC unit installed. We also install ceiling fans and provide a full range of other electrical services for customers in the Crandall and Kaufman areas. Give us a call today to schedule an AC tune-up or any other service.