May 8, 2024
How to Reduce Your Cooling Costs This Summer

In California, ensuring that your home stays cool throughout the long, hot summer is never cheap. Running an AC system in a hotter climate typically costs at least a few hundred dollars a year, but you can at least reduce this cost somewhat. This article will explain some of the most effective options to save while still ensuring your home stays comfortable.

Program Your Thermostat

One of the easiest ways to save quite a bit of money on your energy bills is simply to program your thermostat. Specifically, you want to set it so that the temperature automatically turns up by 5 to 7 degrees at the time you normally leave for work. You can then program it so that it switches back to the normal temperature setting around 30 minutes to an hour before you get home. You could just change the temperature when you normally get home, but this will mean coming home to an uncomfortably warm house.

If you have the temperature turned up by 5 to 7 degrees for just eight hours each day, you could reduce the amount of energy your AC system uses by around 10%. While this may not sound like a lot, in a hot climate like California it could save you $50 to $100 or more per year depending on the size of your AC and how efficient it is.

Upgrade to a Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat

An even better option is to install a smart thermostat if you don’t already have one. A smart thermostat enables you to remotely program and control your HVAC system using an app on your phone or any other mobile device. This means you don’t just need to set the thermostat so that the temperature always changes at set times as you do with a standard programmable thermostat. If you know you’ll be home much later in the day than normal, you can use the app to keep the temperature turned up so your AC doesn’t run unnecessarily.

Choosing an ENERGY STAR-certified smart thermostat will always provide the greatest benefits in terms of energy savings. To receive this certification, a thermostat must be independently proven to reduce the energy usage of any HVAC system. It also must have a feature that allows you to monitor energy usage and provides information on the way the temperature settings impact energy use.

Some smart thermostats also have additional advanced features like learning capabilities and occupancy sensors. These things essentially enable the thermostat to make automatic adjustments to the temperature setting and program itself to both improve your comfort and make your AC work more efficiently.

Keep All of Your Windows Covered Throughout the Day

Having lots of windows in your home is great for natural lighting, but it also means that your home will heat up faster during the day. Windows are a huge contributor to daytime heat gain since they allow lots of sunlight and thus heat inside. This issue is why you should always try to remember to close all of your drapes, curtains, and blinds every morning to block out the sunlight. Doing so will help your home to stay quite a bit cooler during the day and thus reduce the workload on your AC so it runs less often and uses less energy.

Avoid Cooking, Running the Dishwasher, or Doing Laundry During the Day

Cooking, running the dishwasher, and doing laundry also contribute to the temperature in a home increasing. You can lessen this effect while cooking by making sure to turn on the exhaust fan in your kitchen. Nonetheless, you’re still better off trying not to use the stove or oven during the hotter parts of the day and cooking outside as much as you can. Similarly, trying to only use the dishwasher, washing machine, and especially clothes dryer during the mornings and evenings when it’s cooler will also help keep your home from getting as hot so your AC doesn’t have to work as hard.

Taking a hot shower or bath also causes your home to get hotter and more humid. As such, these are also things that you should leave until morning or evening. Remember to turn the exhaust fan on in your bathroom before bathing so that it draws most of the hot, steamy air outside.

Check Your AC Air Filter Monthly

You generally want to replace or wash the air filter in your AC system at least once every three months. Once every three months is often sufficient during the times when your HVAC system gets less use. However, you will often need to replace or wash the filter more often during the hottest months when your AC runs much more each day. This is because the more your AC runs, the more dust and debris the filter will trap and the quicker it will start clogging up.

Remembering to inspect the filter monthly is an easy way to keep your AC working efficiently. If you use the same filter for too long, it will continually make your AC less and less effective. This means it will start cooling a lot more slowly and use more energy than necessary.

Get Your Air Ducts Cleaned

Professional air duct cleaning is something you usually want to have done every three to five years. If you haven’t had your ducts cleaned in the past few years, doing so can also help your AC to cool more effectively and work more efficiently. All of the debris that builds up inside air ducts creates extra resistance that makes it more difficult for air to move through the ducts. The technical term for this resistance is static pressure, and higher static pressure decreases AC efficiency by restricting airflow and making the system less effective. Duct cleaning has the bonus of helping to improve indoor air quality, which is another reason why getting your ducts cleaned is a good idea.

Have Your AC System Professionally Serviced

While all of the other things we’ve discussed will help lower your cooling costs, having your AC system serviced and maintained every spring will always make the greatest difference. This is because issues like dirty evaporator and condenser coils will prevent the system from working nearly as well as it should. Professional AC maintenance will overcome the majority of issues that can lessen the efficiency of your AC. It will also reduce the risk of your system suddenly breaking down since the technician will inspect the entire system for any issues. In this way, you can get any issues taken care of before the hotter weather arrives to ensure your AC keeps working properly and efficiently all summer long. Another reason why maintenance is important is that it will help your AC to last longer. If you never have your AC maintained, it will almost certainly fail and need to be replaced at least a few years sooner than it would otherwise.

White Mechanical, Inc. has been offering residential and commercial cooling and heating services in Foothills Ranch and throughout Orange County since 2002. We specialize in HVAC maintenance, repairs, and installation and can help ensure your home or business stays comfortable all year long. Contact us today to schedule a tune-up and get your AC ready for summer or if you need any other service, like AC replacement.

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