Knowing how to lower your electric bill in the summer is on all of our minds, and 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 a bigger picture (use a vacuum cleaner, etc…). However, it’s important to know that your air conditioner is responsible for about half of your power bill in the summer. So the question is, how to lower your electric bill in the summer or more specifically, how do you reduce your air conditioning costs in the summer? People sometimes don’t realize that there are several factors that go into determining how efficiently your HVAC system runs, but how to keep your power bill low is not as hard as it sound, and I’m not talking about keeping your house at 85 degrees either – these four power saving tips will show you how to make your air conditioning system run more efficiently, how to reduce your power used and how to lower your electric bills this summer.
How to Lower Your Electric Bill in the Summer – Tip #1
Landscaping – it isn’t just about how your home looks, but is so much more important if you are going to figure out exactly how to lower your electric bill. Did you know that landscaping is a fundamental part of helping your HVAC unit? Most people think that the hot air outside is what 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 actually heating up your house or business, putting the most strain on your air conditioner and driving up your electricity bill. So, the outside air temperature doesn’t raise your electric bill quite as much as you might think. In fact, air is extremely inefficient at transferring heat, which is why it’s such a great insulator. A tip from ASM: plant a couple of large trees on the sunward side of the house might be the key to figuring out how to lower your electric bill by as much as 20%.
How to Keep Your Power Bill Low in the Summer – Tip #2
Solar Window Screens – no, we aren’t talking about the expensive rigs that go on your roof, we are talking about a thin mesh installed on the outside of your windows (particularly east-west facing windows) to help reduce energy costs. In fact, this simple solution can decrease the radiant energy that hits your windows by 60-70%, decreasing the amount of energy spent by your air conditioning unit, thus helping you lower your electric bill. Shameless plug: ASM would be happy to help answer any questions you might have and to help you include this product as part of your ASM installation.
Visit this article on energy.gov for further information on window screens: how to lower your electric bill.
Ways to Save on Your Electric Bill in the Summer – Tip #3
Avoid using ceiling fans, or more importantly, learn how to use them properly – it seems counter intuitive, but ceiling 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 the extremities of your house, and to allow for proper circulation back to the AC return (if done right). Using a fan disturbs this natural air flow, and can create stagnation. Think of your HVAC system as being kind of like your cardiovascular system – your air conditioner itself is like your heart, the ducting is like your arteries carrying air to your home, and the home and hallways are like your veins, carrying air back to your HVAC unit. Now, imagine someone comes and sets up a fan in your leg, blowing the blood back down to your foot instead of towards your heart. Enough said? Ceiling fans can be effective at keeping you cool, but only use them for the room you are in and don’t keep them on when you leave the room – Tip: turn the ceiling fan off when you leave a room, and you can lower your electric bill significantly.
How to Lower Your Electric Bill in the Summer – Tip #4
Maintain or replace your HVAC system. No, this isn’t a shameful plug for ASM (maybe it is), but the US Department of Energy reports that replacing your old air conditioner with a newer, more energy efficient HVAC unit could lower your electric bill by up to 50%. Let’s face it – that’s a big hunk of cash.
In the end, running your air conditioner can become a lot more cost effective by following just a few of these simple HVAC tips, helping you lower your electric bill, and taking the edge off of summer. More questions on your air conditioner or tips to save you money? Visit our HVAC Facts section, or give us a call. We’d be happy to help.