Summer days have spun softly to a close, with autumn at our doorstep. But the hot days still happen—and when they do, are you really sure your air conditioning is working optimally? It feels so good to escape the heat and cool down in the comfort of your home. At least, it feels good and cool until the first skyrocketing energy bill comes in. Does it really have to be that high? What if I told you that no, it doesn’t, and your maintenance could be to blame?
Maybe you’re not ready to call a technician. What we have for you here instead are seven professional tips to help you stay cool for the last of the warm days while saving money on air your air conditioning.
1. Set your thermostat to the right temperature. Before setting your thermostat to 72 degrees just “because that’s room temperature,” keep in mind that you’re not exactly unpacking winter sweaters yet. That is to say, we’re still walking around in relatively light clothes. Try slowly raising the temperature in the range of 73 to 79 degrees to see what’s comfortable for your house. The U.S. Department of Energy specifies 78 degrees as the ideal compromise—cool enough while still saving you money. Every degree you go up from 72 saves you 3-5% on your air conditioning energy costs.
2. Raise the temperature whenever you leave home. Whenever nobody will be home for two or more hours, you can save energy by raising the temperature by 7-10 degrees. The Department of Energy says doing this consistently will save you as much as 10% on cooling costs.
3. Save money at night. When you sleep, your core body temperature lowers. And so, you might be able to raise the temperature a bit at night, especially if you use lighter sleepwear and lighter bed coverings.
4. Switch to a smart thermostat. You can program a smart thermostat to raise the temperature during the day when everyone is at work and then lower it 30 minutes before the first person returns home. Some smart thermostats have even more advanced features to help you truly optimize the temperature settings to save you the most money.
5. Seal up the leaks. The older your home, the more likely it is that cold air is seeping outside. Install new weatherstripping and caulk around your doors and windows. We recommend getting a home energy audit from your utility provider to find all these leaks and to identify the best things you can do to make your home more energy efficient.
6. Replace older air conditioning units with energy-efficient models. Just like newer furnaces, today’s air conditioners really do work much more efficiently than older ones. If you fear you’re paying too much to keep your house cool, it would be worth asking an HVAC salesperson about your options.
7. Call an HVAC technician to tune-up your air conditioning unit. Regular inspection and maintenance is vital to keeping your air conditioner working at its best. If you suspect that it’s not cooling properly, a technician will be able to determine whether there’s a problem other than it’s a really hot summer.
Follow these tips and you’ll save money, that simple!