In summer, it is virtually impossible to do without air conditioning, but then the fact that same accounts to a huge chunk of your electricity bill is something that makes many people 'sweat'. On an average, around 40-50 percent of the total energy consumption during summer is attributed to the use of air conditioner. You are likely to spend $2.00-$3.00 a day on it, if you use it for 24 hours, as compared to 15 cents a day that you would spend on using a ceiling fan for the same duration. Does that mean you should refrain from using the air conditioner? Not really! Instead, using it efficiently by resorting to some simple energy saving tips will be more than enough.
How to Save Energy on Air Conditioning?
Make Sure that Your Air Conditioner is in Good Condition
A well maintained AC is the first step towards energy efficient air conditioning to cut down on monthly electricity bills. Ideally, you should check its filters once in a month, and clean it as and when required. If you realize that it is not cooling properly, you should get it checked from a professional. A unit with operating problems can add a few more dollars to your electricity bills. If you have been using this unit for 5-10 years now, it's high time you replace it with a new one - as the newly introduced energy efficient units boast of cutting down on your energy consumption by as much as 40 percent. You can resort to Energy Star ratings given jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy to help you choose energy efficient products to save money and protect the environment.
Make Sure that You Use the Thermostat Efficiently
The thermostat setting has a crucial role to play when it comes to effective ways of reducing power consumption by the air conditioner. While you can save a great deal of energy if you set the thermostat at 78°F, experts recommend that setting it as high as possible (comfortable) for you is the best bet. The simple principle here is that you minimize the overall cooling cost incurred by minimizing the difference between the temperature outside and temperature indoors. It is one of the most simple and effective energy saving tips which can help you reduce the cooling cost by 6-8 percent. You should also turn it off when you are leaving home, and - more importantly, make sure that the thermostat is set a bit higher than usual. You shouldn't lower the thermostat setting when you start the air conditioner, and refrain from keeping some source of heat, such as electricity lamp, near the thermostat.
Minimize the Amount of Air that Escapes from Your Home
Although everybody knows that the doors and windows of the room should be kept closed when using the AC, very few people actually follow this advice. This, in turn, allows cold air to escape and hot air to enter the room which further delays the cooling process. Ideally, you should avoid those activities which require you to frequent in and out of the room. Caulking and weather-stripping windows from where air is likely to escape is also of great help. Considering that 15-25 percent of the air escapes through leaking ducts, fixing them should be a priority for you if you intend to use the air conditioner efficiently. You also need to make sure that the exhaust fans in the house are switched off and the fireplace damper is tightly closed.
Prevent Direct Sunlight and Minimize Heat Generation Within the House
One of the simplest measure to reduce your expenditure on air conditioning is to make sure you don't allow heat from outside to enter the house. In order to do this you will have to protect your house from direct sunlight using shades, awnings, drapes, etc. Similarly, growing trees around the house will make sure that your house is in shade during the day time. You also need to make sure that you don't generate much heat within the house itself. For this, you will have to keep lights off when not in use as the heat that is generated by these lights decreases the speed at which cooling takes place in the room. Similarly, you should avoid doing activities which consume power like washing or ironing clothes during the afternoon hours when AC is a necessity.
An air conditioning unit that is exposed to direct sunlight consumes 5 percent more power than a unit in shade. Similarly, keeping the unit on continuously for longer duration of time is better than switching it on and off every once in a while. At the end of the day, it is how you use the air conditioner that reflects in your electricity bill, and following the simple tips given above will help you save money on your next bill for sure.