Posted August 18th, 2011
Does it seem that every year your summer electric bills are more higher than the year before? That’s probably true for several reasons, but the main culprit is more than likely you’re electric A/C unit. Your A/C unit is responsible for roughly 45% to 50% of your energy consumption during the summer. Yes, almost half the amount of your summer electric bills stem from staying cool and comfortable in your home. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your electricity consumption, keep the price of your electric bill down, and remain comfortable in the process.
Adjust your room temperature – Lower your thermostat’s temperature level in winter and raise it in summer. By layering your clothing during the winter, you can be very comfortable when the room temperature is 65°. The use of fans to circulate the air in your house during the summertime, coupled with setting your thermostat at 78° or even 80°, will make the temperature seem cooler. Fans not only cool you off, they reduce the amount of work the A/C unit must do to keep your house comfortable. The electricity used by a few fans placed strategically within the home, is far less than the electricity the A/C unit would use to produce the same amount of comfort, on its own.
Use Programmable Thermostats– Program the heating and cooling functions to run at optimum times during the day, and for the least amount of duration needed to be comfortable. For example, during the winter, program the sleeping time temperature to 60 degrees and have it heat the house to 78 or 80 degrees right before you get up in the morning. Then have it set to lower again while you are out for the day. This will lower utility cost and extend the life of your A/C unit. Consider purchasing a new programmable thermostat if you do not have one.
Preventative maintenance keeps HVAC costs down – Preventative maintenance and routine cleaning help keep your HVAC system operating at peak efficiency, and save on utility bills. There are certain tasks that you can do yourself, such as changing filters, cleaning vent covers, cleaning debris and dirt from your outside unit, etc. However, for the more technical cleaning and maintenance tasks, you should always rely on the expertise of a local HVAC service and repair technician.
When your HVAC system ceases to function properly, it may be time to replace it – Consider Energy Star units. They are energy-efficient, cost less to operate, and leave a smaller carbon footprint on our environment. A system featuring a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) of 20 is ideal. Consider a unit that also provides the highest fuel utilization efficiency rating possible with your heating system. Replacing inefficient HVAC systems with this combination could save you up to 60% on your monthly utility bill.
Finally, call your local heating and air conditioning company and ask about a maintenance service program. It’s the best way to keep your system operating at peak efficiency. The best time of year to clean your HVAC system and have preventative maintenance performed is in the spring before the hot weather arrives and during the fall before the onset of the cold weather.