Knowing how to lower your electric bill in the summer is on our minds.
If you’ve read some of my posts, then it should come as no surprise to you that I am a firm believer that your air conditioner is not the end-all-be-all of home comfort.
It is only a part of the bigger picture.
However, it’s important to know that your air conditioner is responsible for about half of your energy bill in the summer.
So the question is, how can you lower your energy usage in the summer, or, more specifically, how do you reduce your air conditioning costs in the summer heat?
People sometimes don’t realize that several factors determine how efficiently your HVAC system runs, but figuring out how to keep your power bill low in the summer is not as complicated as it sounds (I’m not talking about keeping your house at 85 degrees, either).
⭐ Saving the Earth While Saving Money
These five power-saving tips will show you how to make your air conditioning system run more efficiently, reduce the power used, and lower your energy bill in the summer.
Below we have given you a list of things you can do to lower your electricity bill in the summer. Whether you realize it or not, all these are related to the HVAC industry, even landscaping.
Landscaping affects the shade line of your home, which will affect your heat-load calculation, making it more or less efficient.
Let’s take a look at a few of these tips.
✔️ Tip #1 – Landscaping
Landscaping isn’t just about how your home looks but is much more critical if you figure out how to lower your utility bill in the summer.
Did you know that landscaping is fundamental to helping your HVAC unit run more efficiently?
To learn more about energy-efficient landscaping, check out Energy-Efficient Landscaping.
Most people think the hot air outside drives the temperature up in their house.
But radiant heating (heating directly from the sun – the sun hitting a wall, for instance) constitutes the majority of what is heating your house or business, putting a strain on your air conditioner, and driving up your electricity bill.
So, the outside air temperature doesn’t raise your utility bill quite as much as you might think.
Air is extremely inefficient at transferring heat, which is why it’s an excellent insulator.
Planting a couple of large trees on the sunward side of the house might be the key to figuring out how to save energy by as much as 20%.
✔️ Tip #2 – Solar Window Screens
No, we aren’t talking about the expensive rigs on your roof.
Instead, we are talking about a thin mesh installed outside your windows (particularly east-west facing windows) to help reduce energy costs.
This simple solution can decrease the radiant energy that hits your windows by 60-70%, decreasing the energy spent by your air conditioning unit and thus helping you lower your cooling costs.
✔️ Tip #3 – Ceiling Fans
Avoid using ceiling fans, or more importantly, learn how to use them properly – it seems counter-intuitive, but fans are the last thing you want if you have a properly installed HVAC system.
Your air conditioning system is designed to blow air into your house’s extremities and allow proper circulation back to the AC return (if done right).
Using a ceiling fan disturbs this natural airflow and can create stagnation.
Think of your HVAC system like your cardiovascular system – your air conditioner is like your heart, and the ducting is like your arteries carrying cold air to your home.
Likewise, the house and hallways are like veins, moving air back to your HVAC unit.
Now, imagine someone comes and sets up a fan on your leg, blowing the blood back down to your foot instead of towards your heart. Enough said?
Fans can be effective at keeping you cool.
Turn the ceiling fan off when you leave a room, and you can lower your energy bill significantly.
✔️ Tip #4 – Proper HVAC Maintenance
Maintain or replace your HVAC system (if necessary).
No, this isn’t a shameful plug for Phyxter Home Services (maybe it is), but the US Department of Energy reports that replacing your old air conditioner with a newer, more energy-efficient air conditioner could lower your electricity bill by up to 40%.
Let’s face it – that’s a big hunk of cash.
However, please don’t get carried away… there’s a time to replace your air conditioner, and there’s a time to repair or service it.
If you need to replace your AC, switch to an Energy Star-certified appliance.
Energy Star air conditioners use approximately 15% less energy than other non-certified appliances.
Changing your air filters is a great place to start.
A clogged AC filter can cost you an extra 5 to 15% in energy.
When an air filter is clogged, your AC has to use more energy to push cool air throughout your home.
Changing AC filters on a regular maintenance schedule gives you more cool air and helps you save money.
Related Reading: The Importance of a Clean Evaporator Coil
✔️ Tip #5 – Household Management
How you live in your home can have a drastic impact on your energy consumption.
Do you have teenagers that always leave doors and windows open even though they weren’t born in a barn?
Here are some more quick tips the average household can do to help lower electricity bills:
Replace Your Bulbs!
Replace incandescent bulbs with more energy-efficient light bulbs.
Swap out your current bulbs and fit LED or compact fluorescent lighting.
Added bonus – they last much longer too!
Fit a Programmable Thermostat.
A smart thermostat is useful in helping your AC understand when you need cool air and keep your family comfortable without the extra costs.
Close all Doors and Vents
Close doors to rooms you are not using. It takes less energy to keep a smaller home comfortable.
Unplug All Your Devices.
Unplug devices that don’t need to be on when you’re not home.
You can even use a smart power strip to conserve energy.
These types of power strips eliminate standby or phantom electricity usage.
Use Electricity During Off-Peak Hours.
Save cooking, cleaning and dishwashing until after 6 pm on really hot days.
This helps reduce the load on the grid and will help you save money.
Add Weather Stripping to Doors and Windows.
Keep out the heat with this cheap and simple trick.
Even tiny cracks can increase the heat in your home.
So make sure to seal them up to help you stay cool.
Check your insulation as well while you are at it.
Block Direct Sunlight with Blinds or Drapes.
Window coverings can help you save money by reducing sun exposure.
This can reduce that room’s heat gain by up to 45%.
Leave the House!
If you’re not home, you’re probably not wasting energy.
Get outside, go to the beach, swim in a lake, or have a drink with some friends.
Just ensure you have turned off all the appliances that would normally be on.
⭐ Final Thoughts on Lowering Your Electric Bill in the Summer
In the end, running your air conditioner can become much more cost-effective by following just a few simple energy efficiency tips, helping you lower your electricity bills and taking the edge off summer.
For more information on this and other air conditioning questions, visit the Phyxter Home Services Blog.
If you live in the Okanagan Valley, give Phyxter Home Services a call.
Dealing with other common AC problems? Check out: Top 18 Common AC Problems and Solutions and Light Switch Not Working? Here’s How to Troubleshoot It