When the heat is on during the summer months, there’s nothing better than coming home after a long day to a cool, refreshing home. And while most people couldn’t dream of living without their air conditioner, they don’t like the energy bills that come with running it constantly.
In this article, we look at the best ways to save money while using your air conditioner without sacrificing your comfort.
How Much Does It Cost To Run Your AC?
While there’s no single answer or number we can put on how much it costs to run an air conditioner because it varies from climate to climate and house to house, we can give a ballpark estimate.
The best way to figure out how much it costs to run your air conditioner is by using a simple formula. The first thing to do is learn how many amps your unit draws, which can be determined by looking at your air conditioner’s SEER rating. You should be able to find this number on the inside of your AC’s filter panel, for example, a 5,000 BTU air conditioner has a SEER rating of 5 amps.
Next, multiply the figure of 5 by the voltage put out by your outlet, which is usually 110. So, 5×110=550 watts. Once you know how much you’re paying per kilowatt an hour, you can figure out how much it costs to operate your AC system for any length of time.
Should I Turn Off My AC When I’m Not Home?
If saving money is a concern you have regarding your air conditioner, you’re probably wondering if it’s beneficial to turn it off when you’re not home. There are two schools of thought here. On one hand, you have people who reason that if the machine isn’t running, it’s not using energy, which is saving you money. Then you have people who say if you leave it off, then turn it on when you get home, it takes more energy to get cool down the house than if you left it on all day.
According to some HVAC experts, leaving an air conditioner on all day when you’re not home is an inefficient use of energy and puts more wear and tear on the system causing it to break down more quickly.
So, if you’re planning on being out of the house for several hours, or even leave town for a few days, it’s best to turn the system off. Or better yet, invest in a programmable thermostat which can adjust the temperature according to your schedule. You can program the system to fire up right before you get home and power down when you leave for work. Using your system only when you need it is a great way to keep your energy costs down and maintain a healthy and long-lasting HVAC system.
What Temperature Should I Set My AC When I’m Away?
As we’ve seen, if you will be out of the house for a lengthy period, it’s best not to have your air conditioner running full throttle. But, you also want to come home to a house that’s not humid and oppressive either. So, what temperature should your thermostat be set at when you’re away?
Most experts agree that turning your thermostat up two or three degrees when you will be out of the house is a great way to save energy costs and still keep your house reasonably cool.
If you’re planning on being on a vacation, that will only last a few days, set the thermostat up four degrees higher than you would normally set it if you were home. Experts say four degrees is ideal because if you go higher than that, you risk expending more energy to cool the house down when you come back, which defeats the purpose of trying to save money by setting it higher. So, if you normally keep your thermostat at 65, turn it up to 69.
If you will be out of the house for a week or more, you can save money by turning the system completely off.
Top Tips on How To Lower Your Air Conditioning Bills
Now we’ve covered how to save money on your energy bills when it comes to leaving your air conditioner on versus turning it off when you leave, we’re turning our attention to the top ways you can save money on your energy bills when operating your air conditioner.
- Get Insulated A great way to keep your energy bills low is to beef up your home’s insulation. This not only keeps you cooler in the summer but also warmer in winter. Good insulation doesn’t end with the attic either. Sealing your windows to prevent the cold air from leaking out goes a long way to helping to keep your house cooler and lighten the load on your air conditioner.
- Get A Programmable Thermostat As mentioned earlier, a programmable thermostat is a great way to regulate and adjust the temperatures in your home when you’re away or when you’re sleeping. Many of these thermostats can be controlled via an app on your phone for extra convenience.
- Maintain Your HVAC System Keeping your filters clean and performing regular maintenance on your system keeps it running properly and efficiently. And when your system is running efficiently, you save money on your energy bills.
- Block Out The Sun If you have windows that face the sun, consider getting thick blinds or drapes to block out the rays which heat your home and cause your air conditioner to work harder to maintain the desired temperature.
- Use Ceiling Fans If you have ceiling fans, use them. Not only do they use less energy than your air conditioner, but they do a wonderful job of keeping you cool.
With a little forethought and diligence, you can shave money off your energy bills without sacrificing comfort, and ensure your air conditioning system lasts as long as possible.