Any time you walk inside to get away from the sweltering summer heat, you probably anticipate the wonderful blast of cold air that greets you. However, keeping your house cool during the hot summer months can cost a small fortune if you aren't careful. Fortunately, by keeping your air conditioner unit in tip-top shape and conserving energy when possible, you can minimize your summer cooling bill so that it doesn't put a massive dent in your wallet.
Replace the Filter
Replacing your air conditioner's filter regularly has a huge impact on your monthly bill. When the air conditioner filter is dirty, it's difficult for cool air to flow throughout your home. This means, your air conditioner has to work harder — and consume more energy — to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Replacing your air conditioner's filter allows air to flow more freely, which in turn, minimizes that amount of energy your air conditioner uses and lowers your monthly utility bill. In fact, when you replace a dirty, clogged air conditioner filter with a new one, you can reduce the amount of energy the unit consumes by between five and 15 percent.
When purchasing an air filter, you need to find the right balance between good air quality and energy conservation. Air conditioner filters have a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) number that ranges between one and 12. The higher the MERV, the better the filter is at keeping unnecessary dust and dirt particles from entering your home. Unfortunately, the better an air filter is at filtering the air entering your home, the worse it is at conserving energy — your air conditioner has to work harder to force cool air through a filter with smaller openings. So, if you purchase an air conditioner filter that has a really good MERV rating, you might end up seeing a light increase in your utility costs. To maintain a good balance between energy conservation and maintaining good air quality in your home, consider purchasing an air conditioner filter that has a MERV rating of around five or six.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
It's a common misconception that turning your air conditioner off when you aren't home saves you money. When you turn off your AC unit for an extended period of time, the unit needs to work harder to bring the temperature in your home back down to a comfortable level, which consumes a lot of energy. So, if you're worried about how much energy your air conditioner is using while you're away, you should think about installing a programmable thermostat. By programming the thermostat so that the temperature in your home is slightly higher when you aren't home, your house will remain cool enough that your air conditioner unit won't need to work overtime to recool the house when you get home, and you'll save money in the long run.
Install Blinds or Shades
To keep direct sunlight from entering your home, and making it hotter, install blinds or window shades on your windows. Using blinds or window shades to eliminate unwanted heat from outside your home, means your air conditioner unit doesn't need to work as hard to keep your house cool.
Taking care of your air conditioner unit and preparing your home for hot weather can make a big difference in the amount of your utility bills. So, keep your air conditioner running in tip-top shape, and when in doubt, consult a professional air conditioner technician like Thompson Heating & Air Conditioning Inc to make sure your unit is working properly.