Temperatures in the Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia region typically start rising in late April or early May, and by the time summer finally hits, the heat has hit as well. That’s why spring and early summer are the perfect time to start thinking about your home cooling system and hopefully lowering cooling costs.
Read more: What to expect this summer in Northern Virginia
There are a number of actions you can take to ensure your air conditioner runs efficiently and economically all summer long. Here are some air conditioning tips to save energy and help lower cooling costs this summer:
3 Air Conditioning Tips to Save Energy and Money
1. Get an AC Inspection Before the Heat Kicks In
Running the air conditioning day after day takes a toll on your cooling system, which can lead to expensive repairs and higher utility bills. To help lower cooling costs, make sure you have a 5-Star Technician inspect and tune-up your home air conditioning units. Some common problems that can contribute to increased cooling costs include:
- Dirty evaporator and condenser coils. Dirt build-up can delay the cooling process and make your air conditioner work harder than is necessary.
- Clogged air filters. Restricted air flows causes your HVAC system to work longer to cool your space.
- Low refrigerant. Leaks in your HVAC unit lead to loss of refrigerant. so your AC will need to work hard.
- Fan speed issues. Low fan speed means your air conditioning system has to work longer to maintain the right temperature.
Read more: When should I get an A/C inspection?
It’s also important to consider if the type of cooling system you’re using is the most efficient for your home. If your HVAC system constantly needs repairs, or you’re still using window units and portable air conditioners to keep certain areas of your house cool, you might want to upgrade to a ductless air conditioning system. Contact one of our HVAC professionals to find out if ductless air conditioners are the right choice for your home.
Read more: What is a Ductless Air Conditioner?
2. Prevent Heat Build-Up in Your Home
What do windows, lamps, and stovetops have in common? They all create excess heat that your AC must combat. Save money on air conditioning and lower cooling costs by ensuring your HVAC unit isn’t working harder than necessary:
Keep Vents Unobstructed
Furniture, curtains, and rugs can cut down on air flow if they’re blocking your vents. To ensure your air conditioner is cooling your space efficiently, use vent deflectors to redirect airflow if you have central air and floor vents.
Save Chores for Cooler Hours of the Day
Cooking and running appliances like the washer, dryer, and dishwasher generates additional heat, which causes your air conditioner to work harder to keep temperatures cool. Cut back on costs by saving these tasks for cooler parts of the day. Alternatively, you can also grill outside, hang clothes to dry on a clothesline, and hand wash dishes to conserve energy and save money.
Install Your Thermostat in the Right Place
Your air conditioner will work harder if your thermostat is positioned in direct sunlight or near heat-generating appliances like TVs and lamps. The best place to install your thermostat is on an interior wall of a frequently used room.
Shut Doors and Vents When You Leave a Room
These steps allow you to control air flow so that your system only has to cool areas of your home that are being occupied. Your AC unit won’t have to work as hard to maintain the temperature in frequently-used rooms if it’s not trying to cool unoccupied spaces.
Draw Blinds and Curtains on Hot Days
Closing the blinds during the day blocks out the sun and prevents the air in your home from warming up. As an alternative to natural light, you can use LED bulbs in your lamps and lighting fixtures—they’re energy efficient and help keep your home bright without wearing down your air conditioner.
3. Run Your Air Conditioner Strategically
This is one of our best air conditioning tips to save energy and money: be strategic. Many homeowners fall into the mindset of “set it and forget it” when it comes to monitoring their cooling system—but you need to be proactive about your AC usage in order to lower cooling costs. Avoid making these common air conditioning mistakes:
Your Thermostat Is Set Too Low
You should set your thermostat to the highest temperature you can stand to lower cooling costs this summer. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends aiming for an indoor temperature of 78 degrees when you're at home. That may seem a little too warm to be comfortable, but you’d be surprised by how quickly your body can adapt to slight temperature changes!
Your Thermostat Is Set at the Same Temperature All Day
Save on energy costs by using a programmable thermostat to raise the temperature by a few degrees during hours of the day when no one is home or if you’re on vacation, as well as during the night when everyone is asleep. Your AC will run more efficiently and economically if it’s only working to cool air when necessary.
You’re Not Using Fans
According to the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC), ceiling fans use 10 percent of the energy of a central air conditioner and can make a room feel up to 10 degrees cooler. Fans help circulate cool air throughout your home, which means your AC won’t have to crank as hard.
Read More: Help! My Ceiling Fan Stopped Working.
Keep Your Cool This Summer
Make sure your air conditioning system is ready to get to work. Talk to CroppMetcalfe and have one of our home air conditioning service professionals take a look at your HVAC system before Northern Virginia really heats up. Call or contact us online to schedule service today.