Ah, warmer months are among us! The flowers are blooming, the birds are chirping and the outdoors are pleasant enough for frolicking! However, you know what this also means – it’s time to turn on the air conditioner!
But, when you turn on the air conditioner, you also end up using more electricity. And more electricity results in higher electrical bills. Is there a way to keep your home cool without jacking up your bill? Yes! You’ve come to the right place!
There are indeed ways to stay cool and not burn a hole in your wallet when the weather heats up. Read on to learn 17 tips to save money on AC!
1. Buy Quality Blinds and Curtains
One of the best ways to keep your home cool is to prevent sunlight from entering through the windows full blast. Purchasing quality blinds and curtains (and using them!) are an investment that could save you money on air conditioning.
The less of that energy you allow to filter in and get trapped, the less your AC has to run. If you must let the sun in, try to get a few hours of early morning light.
Be sure to keep the blinds and curtains drawn the rest of the day, especially if they face east or west.
2. Keep your A/C Serviced and Clean
It’s easy to forget about your HVAC or window air conditioning unit after you get it installed or plug it in, however, that’s a big mistake! Keeping your outdoor unit clean is simple and easy to do!
For outdoor HVAC units, you can apply a coil cleaner and spray it down with water. This can be done in under an hour and makes a huge difference in alleviating the strain of running the A/C unit.
For window units, you may have to remove them from the window in order to do some deep cleaning, but if you can’t remove it, you can also take steps to carefully clean while it’s still mounted in the window.
Make sure you unplug your window units first, and always consult the user’s manual before cleaning! And, if you’re worried about doing it yourself, you can always call a trusted HVAC professional to come out and do it for you.
You may spend money on the service, but the maintenance will help it last longer and keep you from buying new systems sooner than you need to!
3. Replace Air Filters Regularly
When air filters become dirty, they can block the flow of air, putting more pressure on your system and preventing it from running efficiently. Replace your air filters regularly to save money on air conditioning!
For window units, you can wash and reuse your filters but for wall filters for your home, they need to be replaced every three months, or so. Make sure you measure and buy the right size to ensure a good fit.
4. Use Fans to Cool a Room
Sometimes we really don’t need cooler air pumped into the house as much as we just need some of that cooler air circulating. Use a ceiling fan or plug in a wall unit to help cool the room and keep your air conditioner from running non-stop.
5. Take Cooler Showers
I love a hot shower at the end of the day as much as the next gal, however, it can cost more money than it should. Taking a hot shower and crawling into bed means all of that heat gets trapped and you have to lower the A/C.
Instead of blasting the A/C before bed, take a cool shower instead. Your body sleeps better in cooler temperatures anyway. Save money this summer by cooling off with a shower instead of solely relying on you A/C.
6. Place your Thermostat on the Correct Wall
Believe it or not, where you place your thermostat can have a big bearing on how frequently your A/C runs in the summer. If you place it in direct sunlight or near lightbulbs, it can inaccurately affect the reading, keeping your A/C on full blast when it isn’t necessary.
You want to make sure your thermostat is located somewhat centrally in the home, away from doors and windows, due to air flow. The more accurate your thermostat reads, the less energy you waste. Save money on A/C by making sure your thermostat is in a great location.
7. Keep the Lights Low
Lightbulbs give off more energy and heat than you anticipate. Leaving lights on when they aren’t necessary can heat up a room, especially in summer. Run your A/C less often by reducing the wattage of your bulbs or how frequently you keep them on.
If you need to have a light on in the evening, use a small tableside lamp and make sure it is away from your thermostat.
8. Reduce your Stove and Oven Usage
The stove and oven are not only two of your biggest consumers of electricity, but they also emit a ton of heat! Since heat flows from where it’s the warmest in the home towards the coolest, it doesn’t just stay in the kitchen, but flows through the house.
Save money while using your air conditioning by reducing the amount in which you use your stove or oven. You can either use smaller appliances such as an Instant Pot, or plan on eating foods that don’t require a lot of cooking.
Warm weather is a great time to experiment with smoothies, cold soups like gazpacho and even vegetable wraps or summer rolls!
9. Air Dry Dishes and Clothes
It’s not just your stove and oven that could use a break in warmer months, but also your dishwasher and clothes dryer! They are both used for heating purposes, as well, and there’s no need in wasting electricity while simultaneously making you uncomfortable.
Use drying racks or clothes lines to dry your clothes instead of your dryer. Bonus: your clothes will last longer! If you must use your dryer, try to use the “air dry” function so that it tumbles without much heat.
As for your dishes, if you still must use your dishwasher, make sure to turn off the “heated dry” function, and open the door to allow air to circulate once your cycle is completed. Save money on your A/C by reducing heat inside of your home.
10. Install a Programmable Thermostat
Although they’ve been out for a few years, programmable thermostats are a great way to save money. You can pre-program temperatures to take place throughout the day at certain times, thus reducing the strain of trying to keep the house the same temperature all day long.
This allows you to work with the sun a bit better, and to mostly use your A/C in the hottest part of the day. You can even use programmable thermostats with your phone to make adjustments when you are out for the day or on vacation.
Save money on A/C by investing in a programmable thermostat and keep your house more comfortable!
11. Consider Using a Dehumidifier
If you live in a really hot and humid climate (here’s looking at you in the South!), sometimes air conditioning alone is not as effective. The damp, heavy air can be downright suffocating mid-summer. This is where a dehumidifier may help a bit.
By reducing the humidity in your house, it can remove some of what makes the air so uncomfortable to begin with, and make your environment seem cooler. This, in turn, may allow you to reduce the amount of air conditioning you consume, and the money that goes with it.
Consider a dehumidifier to see if it can reduce how much you spend on A/C.
12. Acclimate your Body to Warmer Temperatures
If you really want to save money on A/C, the best thing you can do is to not run it at all, or in very limited amounts. And, in order to stay comfortable in warmer temperatures while not running the A/C, you need to acclimate your body…
If your body is accustomed to the climate and weather, you will find you don’t necessarily need A/C as much. Over a short period of time (even as little as two weeks) you can help your body adapt by getting comfortable with being…well, uncomfortable.
Clearly you need to do this safely, and this may not be the best option if you have certain medical conditions or if it is extremely hot outside. This may not be a great choice for everyone.
However, by slightly raising your dependency one degree every few days, you may find that you can live comfortably with the thermostat set at 76 degrees, instead of 70 degrees. Even by raising it a few degrees, you can save significant money by lessening how often your A/C runs.
13. Keep Vents and Doors Open
It is often believed that if you keep vents and doors closed in rooms you don’t use in your house, you will minimize how much your A/C will run. The fact is, shutting off parts of your house may create a negative pressure that causes it to run harder.
The HVAC system was chosen for the requirements of your whole home, with those vents open. Use curtains and blinds instead of shutting off rooms in order to reduce how much money you spend on A/C.
14. Plant Shade Trees
If you know you will be in your home for years to come, look into planting shade trees that can help shade parts of your home effectively. These don’t need to be 50 year old oak trees to make a difference!
Even tall shrubs that can help block light from directly streaming in windows will help. You can also get creative with pergolas and vining plants to create shade around patios. If you’re planting trees and shrubs make sure to orient them correctly around your house for the best protection.
Save more money by working with nature!
15. Replace your Old Air Conditioner
If you find that your A/C is running inefficiently or no matter what you do, you just can’t seem to get the most out of it, consider replacing your older unit. Constant usage or failing to do proper maintenance can age your system rapidly.
If your HVAC is older than 15 years old, or your window unit is more than 10 years old, it may be time to replace it. Certain parts may be repairable and can buy a little time but you don’t want to pour money without much return on this.
It’s always a good idea to have a professional opinion to see if you can stretch it out, but if your A/C is sucking money out of your wallet, you may save more in the long run by upgrading.
16. Check Window and Door Seals
Cooling your house is great, but cooling the critters that live around your house or apartment isn’t. You may find you’re spending money just to have that cooler air flow right out the window (literally), or that your space heats up faster due to a gap in the door frame.
Check your windows and door frames to see if you have air leaking out. This can be an easy fix, with adding more sealant or replacing barriers. Save money on A/C by keeping it inside, not out!
17. Insulate the Attic
You may think because you never go into your attic, or that it’s above your living space that it doesn’t matter much in regards to keeping your house cool. However, you could be making a costly mistake!
Keeping your attic properly insulated helps insulate your house better, and when your house is properly insulated, it will keep cooler air inside.
If your attic is already insulated, make sure there are no holes or gaps from mice or squirrels that have been chewing, and if it’s old, make sure it doesn’t need to be replaced with newer materials. Save money on your A/C by insulating your house!
FAQs on How to Save Money on A/C
How do I use AC to lower my Electricity Bill?
By using your air conditioner wisely, you can lower your electric bill in the warmer months. Take steps to keep your home cooler in the first place, in order to reduce how much it runs. Reduce large appliance usage, and shade your windows with curtains or blinds.
Should I turn off my A/C during the day to save money?
In hotter temperatures, turning off your a/c during the day can actually cost you more money. If your air conditioner has to run to cool more than a degree or two, it means it’s running harder than usual. Straining your system can cost more money in the long run.
What should the AC be set at?
Aiming to keep your air conditioner above 75 degrees is ideal for lessening the frequency in which it runs. It’s important to recognize it can only cool 20 degrees lower than the outside temperature, so when it’s brutally hot outside, keep the temperature higher.
Should I sleep with the AC on at night?
Try using fans at night instead of the A/C if possible – you may find that circulating air is all you need instead of colder air.
There are numerous ways to save money while still using your air conditioner, if you use it wisely. You may find that some simple changes can increase your comfort while reducing your electricity bill.