During the Summer months, many homeowners in the North East see their electric bill skyrocket along with the temperatures. As you take refuge in your homes from the sweltering heat, your air conditioner power consumption can be a big, predictable cost.
While air conditioning will increase your energy use, that doesn't mean your summer electric bills need to get out of your control. There are several steps you can take to stay cool while keeping your energy use at a minimum.
1) Install a programmable thermostat
A programmable thermostat can help you use energy only when you need it. Depending on the model you select, programmable thermostats come with a variety of preprogrammed settings that allow you to quickly establish your household's cooling needs.
High-end models can be programmed with a different setting for every day of the week (and variation during the day and night) while mid-range models allow you to set patterns based on your needs on weekdays and weekends. With 24 hours in a day, leaving your air conditioner off for what are usually the hottest 8 hours of the day while you're at work could cut your air conditioner's energy use by over a third.
2) Replace your HVAC air filters
When your air filter is obstructed, airflow is reduced, causing your HVAC
unit to work even harder than usual. This can increase your energy bills and potentially shorten the life of your unit.
It’s recommended that you change your filter every 30-60 days for optimal air quality and airflow.
3) Insulate your walls and attics
Gaps in insulation can make it work even harder for your AC to cool the house. Make sure no cold air is leaking from your vents and properly seal them to avoid high-energy bills.
Add caulk or weatherstripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows. You can also use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames.
4) Cook Outside
Cooking on an oven or stovetop generates a lot of heat, which can make your air conditioner work overtime. Grilling season in New York and Connecticut is only here for a few months. Take advantage of the warmer days and fire up the grill as often as you can. This is especially helpful if you have an electric stove and oven.
You can also opt to use appliances that release less heat, such as crockpots or electric griddles.
5) Clean your air ducts
Dust, pollen, moisture, and other allergens can collect in your cooling and heating ducts. Your AC will use less power if it’s not struggling against dirty vents and blocked airflow.
Maintaining your ductwork so it’s clear of debris and properly insulated will allow you to breathe in cleaner air and save on energy bills.
6) Schedule regular maintenance visits
Preventative maintenance is key to a healthy HVAC system, and a comfortable, happy indoor environment. An HVAC unit running at peak efficiency can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars each year in utility bills.
During check-ups, your certified technician will test, check, clean, and inspect various components to ensure safe and proper function and maximum performance.