In a budget-conscious world, everyone is looking for ways to reduce home energy usage, and one of the biggest consumers of energy in any home is the heating and cooling system. Here are five great ways to reduce the amount of energy your home air conditioning and heating units use, thus reducing your utility bills and helping the environment.
Many homeowners make the mistake of thinking of air conditioners as replacements for ceiling fans, but in reality, the two systems complement each other. Hot air tends to rise to the top of the room, where an ordinary split-level air conditioner has difficulty reaching and cooling it. A good ceiling fan, however, takes that hot air and blows it downward until it's within the air conditioner's reach, allowing the latter to run more efficiently. Many ceiling fans even have reverse settings to perform the same function during the heating season. To make the most of this efficiency boost, look for an Energy Star rated ceiling fan.
During the cooling season, the rule of thumb is to set your thermostat as high as possible while still remaining comfortable. For most people, that setting is somewhere between 76 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit. Every degree of adjustment changes energy consumption by about 7 percent, so it is in your interest to set the thermostat as high as possible. Even a change of one degree can make a difference.
There's no need for your thermostat to be set at the same level at all times. If your home is empty during the day, consider turning it up before you leave in the morning and turning it back down when you get home. Likewise, you can tolerate higher temperatures at night than during the day. A programmable thermostat takes all of the work out of these daily adjustments. One thing to not do with your thermostat is to deliberately set it lower than the target temperature to cool your home down faster. This will cause your air conditioner to overshoot the target temperature, wasting power.
If your home has unused rooms or particular spaces that always seem to be too cold or too hot, you may be wasting energy by air conditioning the whole house. Some programmable thermostats allow you to break the home down into different cooling zones and manually adjust the temperature in each zone. You can save energy by shutting off the AC in an unused room or turn it up a few notches in a space that's always too hot.
Nothing has a bigger impact on an air conditioner's efficiency than its state of repair. A well-maintained air conditioner is an efficient air conditioner; a poorly maintained system has to work needlessly hard. Consider investing in our Precision Tune-Up Comfort Plan to make sure your air conditioner and heater are always running at peak efficiency.