Heating and cooling costs represent approximately 56% of total energy usage for the average homeowner, and with higher summer temperatures come higher air conditioning costs. While some of this added cost is unavoidable as we slip into the hotter summer months, homeowners can take a few important steps to shave dollars off their AC bill.
1. Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Central Air
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, central air is more efficient than individual room air conditioners, particularly if you need to cool your whole home. Cooling the entire home becomes a priority not only for homeowners who have multiple rooms that need cooling, but also for those who frequently entertain guests during the summer months. By replacing a 10-year-old air conditioning system with a modern, high-efficiency system, you can save 20% to 40% on the cost of cooling your home. For older cooling systems from the ‘70s, the savings can be even greater.
2. Plant Trees to Shade Your Home
Strategically planting deciduous trees near your home does a lot more than add curb appeal—it can also help you save on your energy bill. Trees can reduce a home’s energy usage by as much as 30%, providing cooling shade in the summer and allowing the sun to warm the home in the winter when the leaves fall, according to MSN Real Estate. Shading your AC unit is also a good move for energy savings.
3. Treat Your Windows
Aside from serving as décor, window treatments can lead to significant savings on your cooling bills. Awnings, blinds, drapes, reflective films, insulated panels, mesh window screens, shades, and shutters are among the many options for reducing the amount of sun that enters and heats up your home. Awnings alone can reduce the amount of heat gain from the sun by up to 65% for south-facing windows and up to 77% for west-facing windows, according to the Energy Department.
4. Program Your Thermostat
Setting your thermostat to a higher temperature while you’re away at work or on vacation leads to major cost savings. Consider setting your thermostat to about 78 degrees when you’re at home and about 88 degrees for the eight hours you’re away at work. You’ll save about 1% off your energy bill for every degree warmer you set your thermostat, according to Spark Energy .
5. Change Your AC Filter
As a rule of thumb, you should change your AC filter once every three months at a minimum to maximize the efficiency of your air conditioner. Not only is this a vital part of maintaining your AC system, but replacing a dirt-congested filter with a clean one can lower the amount of energy your AC consumes by 5% to 15%, the Energy Department explains.
Brennan Heating and Air Conditioning offers environmentally-friendly air conditioners and provides a free energy consultation to help you find the air conditioning system that is perfect for your home. Brennan Heating is an award-winning Seattle heating and air conditioning installation and service contractor. Contact us online or by phone at 1-877-BRENNAN.