Air Quality | The average homeowner spends about $375 on air conditioning. Here’s how to slash your summer energy bills without sacrificing too much comfort.
1. Don’t just set it and forget it.
If you have central air controlled by a thermostat, use a programmable thermostat to save energy by turning the desired temperature up during the day when the house is empty. You can give up a couple degrees at night, too — especially on the hottest days. You may be surprised to find that the contrast between outdoor and indoor temperatures matters as much as the absolute temperature inside your home. When home, aim to set the temperature at 78 degrees to balance comfort with energy and cost savings. Together with winter energy savings, a programmable thermostat used properly can save the average home up to $150 a year.
2. Clean the air filter.
Whether you have central air or a window unit, a dirty filter will reduce your AC’s efficiency, making it use more energy. Check your HVAC system’s air filter monthly and expect to change the filter every three months.
3. Get an annual checkup.
If you have central air, bring in a pro to check it out — once per year should cover both the heating and the cooling season. A professional should be able to diagnose any inefficiencies before you’ve wasted money on monthly heating and cooling bills.
4. Think small.
Cooling one room with a window air conditioning unit requires much less energy (and investment) than a whole central air system for your house. Ask yourself how you’ll use your new air conditioner, and choose the smallest option that works. Use our calculatorto help choose the right air conditioner for your space.
5. Buy Energy Star.
Whether you’re buying a central air conditioner (which could qualify for a tax credit) or a room unit, efficiency matters. An Energy Star central air system will use about 14% less energy than minimum government standards, and a room air conditioner will save at least 10%.