Over the past few years the cost of living has risen and in turn, so have utility bills. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the national average for residential utilities has risen to 12.79 cents per kilowatt hour. The EIA also reports that the average bill will increase 4.8% during the summer months (June, July, and August.) A major portion of these costs can be traced directly to your air conditioning system, especially living in Florida. However, there are many ways to cut costs and reduce your energy bills during the summer months. Here are five easy tips to make your air conditioning system more efficient and help save you money this summer.
1 – System Maintenance
Many people overlook, or put off regular maintenance that can wear down your air conditioning unit overtime. Scheduling yearly maintenance check-ups can ensure that your system is running correctly and producing clean, cool air. An air conditioner’s filters, coils, and fins require regular maintenance for the unit to function effectively and efficiently throughout its years of service. Putting off these crucial maintenance tasks can ensure a steady decline in air conditioning performance while your energy use increases steadily. When your filters, coils, and fins become blocked the system will have to work that much harder to produce cool air. Eventually, the unit will overheat and malfunction. Changing out a filter is simple and should be replaced about every 30 days.
2 – Seal It Up
Every person living in Florida has experienced that blast of heat when opening a door or window. Many homes and apartments, particularly older ones, will develop cracks and leaks with age. An easy way for your energy bill to skyrocket is through faulty seals throughout the home. Ensure all door and windows are completely sealed in the house to avoid leakage. Air leaks will increase your monthly energy bill tremendously. Remember what your folks used to say, “Shut the door, you’re letting all the cool air out!”
3 – Duct Tales
Your air conditioning ducts are the veins to your whole A/C system. Throughout its lifetime, air ducts can be blocked or clogged which will result in a reduction of air flow. Ducts also are the crossroads of cool air coming from the unit and warm air in the home, which can create condensation. Unfortunately, this is the perfect habitat for mold. Avoiding duct cleaning can actually be harmful to you and your family. Cleaning your system’s ducts annually to avoid blockage can make your unit more efficient, safer, and cost effective.
4 – Clear a Space
Clean the exterior system to keep your unit free of leaves, dirt, pollen, and grass. Clearing out a 2-foot space around your A/C is a great start. Outdoor materials can be sucked into the unit and all of the micro particles can be spread throughout your entire home. This is a simple task that should be attended to at least once a month, or whenever you are doing yard work.
5 – Get Shady
A simple way to increase your A/C system’s efficiency is to create a shade above your outdoor unit. Shading your air conditioner will improve performance and even produce cold air more quickly. Many people have built small hutches to protect their exterior units. You can even get creative with it! Not only will it provide necessary shade for the unit, it can also help protect it from outdoor pollution mentioned in the above section.
Why should you pay more utilities than you have to? Air conditioning should be a luxury, not a hassle. Follow these simple steps to ensure the lifetime of your air conditioning system and cut costs every month.