When the summer heat cranks up outside, so does the load on our home air conditioner. This can result in costly electric bills. Here are some ways on how to save money on your AC bill and beat the heat.
A Few Statistics
According to the Department of Energy, three-quarters of all homes in the United States have air conditioning. These units eat up about 6% of all the electricity produced in America, at an annual cost of about $29 billion to homeowners.
Climate change is expected to drive an increase in summer air conditioning use in the United States. The American Geophysical Union predicts an 8% increase in demand when the global average temperature exceeds 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. This will likely cause prolonged blackouts during peak summer heat if states don’t expand capacity or improve efficiency.
The good news is there are steps we can take to reduce our home energy use and save money.
Take Advantage of Cooling Shade
A house heats up inside when the sun shines on the roof and through the windows. To help keep the house cool, plant broad trees on the east and west sides of your property. A large window that faces these directions will get a lot of sun. Tall trees planted on the south side will block the sun’s most intense rays. You can also extend roof eaves or add a trellis or awning to shade windows and cool the house down.
Use Window Coverings
Keep the windows covered during summer to stay cool. This is the time of year about 76% of sunlight enters through a window as heat. In general, about 30% of a home’s heating or cooling energy is lost through windows.
Solar screens, or mesh-like window screens, can help stop the solar energy. Window films that reflect heat away from the glass are another option. Window shades also help block the sun. Solar shades are coated with a material that blocks most UV rays from entering.
Get a Smart Thermostat
A programmable thermostat can adjust the temperature in your home. Many can also be operated remotely. Set the temperature to as high as is comfortable in summer. Bumping it up 7 to 10 degrees above normal for 8 hours a day will save money. The DOE estimates homeowners can trim 10% annually off their energy bill.
Place the thermostat in a good location. If it’s in a cool spot, away from direct sunlight, it will turn on only when needed. If it’s in a hot spot, it will run more frequently.
Install Ceiling Fans
Install a few ceiling fans to help circulate the air in your house. If you live in a two-story home, run the fans on the upper level and open windows on the lower level. Moving air also helps evaporate sweat from your skin.
Limit Daytime Appliance Use
Many kitchen and laundry appliances give off heat that can cause the AC to turn on more often. Use your grill or microwave during the day instead of the stove to save energy. Use appliances in the early morning or evening and avoid the heat of the day.
Get a Checkup
Maintain your AC unit regularly to keep it running well. The DOE recommends cleaning or replacing the filter in your AC every month or two during summer. They may need cleaning more often if a home has a lot of dust or pet hair. Have a professional do a yearly maintenance checkup to ensure your AC unit is in prime condition.
Let Us Service Your AC
We service hundreds of residential properties in Maryland, providing them with the best equipment at the most affordable prices. Call us today at 410-549-9300 or visit us online to request a free estimate.