Air Conditioning Efficiency Tips

Have you wondered when you should turn your air conditioner on and what the most efficient way to run it is? You may be wasting money and contributing to global warming due to a common myth about the way your air conditioner works.

We’ve all come home to a stifling house on a hot summer day and wondered if we’re actually saving money by shutting off our air conditioning when we’re away from home. Many homeowners mistakenly believe that by leaving the air conditioner on all day, the stable temperature means the air conditioner won’t have to work as hard. Experts suggest that the opposite is true though! It may seem like a waste of energy, but turning it off actually saves you a fair amount of money and in turn helps your air conditioner work more efficiently. Air conditioning systems actually run most efficiently when they’re running at full speed rather than maintaining a constant temperature all day. As an added bonus, they’re also better able to dehumidify your house when they run full blast.

Wasting energy not only costs you more money, it leads to more burning of coal and other fossil fuels that contribute to global climate change. According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, you can save energy by simply setting your thermostat higher. It’s estimated that air conditioners use 3 to 5 percent less energy for every degree you raise the thermostat. To get the best energy savings, leave your thermostat set at 78 degrees or higher while you’re out of the house or turn it off entirely.

Another common myth is that you can’t decrease your energy bill without purchasing new and expensive equipment. The fact is, energy is the most controllable cost in any home or business. Simple steps such as closing the shades to block the afternoon sun and adjusting the thermostat can save money each year. A programmable thermostat for your home can be purchased for as little as $30 and is simple to install.

Ceiling fans are another low cost way to keep cool when the temperature rises. Fans work by generating a wind chill effect, not by lowering a room’s temperature though. They’re still effective at lowering your bill by allowing you to turn your air conditioner up by several degrees and still feel comfortable. Don’t forget to turn them off when you leave the room though.

Spring is usually marked by large changes in temperature, but experts at The Weather Channel predict a warmer than average spring for much of the U.S. this year. Looking towards summer, warm and dry conditions are expected. The past six summers have been the hottest in 120 years and this trend is expected to continue. With this in mind, taking small steps to save energy will be especially beneficial to homeowners. Whether you choose to simply open your windows on a mild day or install a programmable thermostat, you’ll be saving money and energy.