The long, hot and humid summers in Orlando, FL, mean that you rely on your central air conditioning system for relief. If you’re tired of paying sky-high electricity bills, there are some actions you can take right now in order to save money without sacrificing your comfort. These six simple ways to save money on summer energy bills are easy and quick to do.
Change the Air Filter
One of the fastest and simplest ways to save energy this summer is to change the air conditioner’s filter. The filter is located in the air handler. You’ll find it in a small compartment. Once a month, check the filter. If it’s visibly dirty, throw it out and replace it with a clean one. Don’t wait longer than three months between air filter changes. According to the Department of Energy, replacing a dirty air filter with a clean one will lower your summer energy bills by 5% to 15%.
Use drapes, shades or blinds to block sunlight between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. During these hours, the sunlight streaming into your home could heat your living space by several degrees. That extra heat increases the workload on your air conditioner. Focus on the south and west-facing windows and glass doors of your home. These sides have the longest and most intense sun exposure. It’s also smart to keep doors and windows closed, explains Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships. Opening them allows more humidity and heat into your home, and your air conditioner will have to work harder to maintain indoor comfort.
Use Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans use about 2% of the energy consumed by an air conditioner. Using a ceiling fan to push the warm air in your living spaces closer to the ceiling will allow you to raise the temperature on your thermostat by a few degrees. Airflow from the ceiling fan also dispels the warm air released by your body. The breeze generated by the ceiling fan keeps you comfortable, and you’ll save money at the same time. Be sure to set the ceiling fan to a counterclockwise rotation. Use the fan’s lowest speed setting.
Minimize Use of Heat-Generating Appliances
Many of the appliances in your home generate a lot of heat, and your air conditioning system has to work harder to remove it. When possible, run the dishwasher and clothes dryer overnight. Electricity rates are lower between 11:00 pm and 6:00 am. Swap incandescent light bulbs with LEDs, which release less heat. Unplug any electronics you’re not actively using. This includes televisions and sound systems, kitchen appliances and computer monitors. These systems still draw some electricity even when they’re not in use. Instead of using the oven or cooktop to prepare food, heat food in the microwave or grill it outdoors. You could also try a slow cooker, which uses less electricity than the oven. Slow cookers also won’t heat your home while they cook the food.
Install a Smart Thermostat
Installing a smart thermostat allows you to take advantage of energy savings while you’re away from home or asleep. These devices use algorithms to optimize the timing of cooling cycles. After you download the app onto your smartphone, the thermostat will use geofencing to learn your schedule. This allows it to start the cooling cycles as you get closer to your home. As your Orlando HVAC contractors, we can install a smart thermostat for you and show you how to make the most of its convenient features.
Schedule an AC Tune-Up
A well-maintained air conditioning system uses 15% less electricity compared to a neglected one. While the spring months of the year are the best time to schedule a tune-up, it’s never too late for preventive maintenance. An AC tune-up not only increases the system’s energy efficiency but also extends its lifespan and prevents unexpected breakdowns caused by worn or failing parts.
For more energy-saving tips to use this summer, take a look at E.C. Waters Air Conditioning & Heat’s air conditioning services, or give us a call.