Your summer energy bills are heavily dictated by how well your air conditioner functions. Keeping it running at peak efficiency is a great way to save money without putting all that much effort. Here are several things you need to do to ensure that your air conditioner keeps working at its best.
Do Your Regularly Scheduled Maintenance
You would completely understand why your car broke down if you never changed the oil. However, despite the fact that your air conditioner runs on a combination of mechanical parts and electronics just like a car, many people are mystified as to why their air conditioner breaks down when they don't do regular maintenance. Don't be one of those people. Save yourself the cost of repairs and keep up on your air conditioner's annual maintenance. Not only will this keep it running longer, it will run more efficiently as well, which add up to money saved in two different ways.
If you don't want to spend a day doing air conditioner maintenance each fall, then you probably want to work with a local HVAC tech on getting a maintenance contract put together. Even if you want to do the cleaning portion yourself (this entails taking the lid off the compressor and using a garden hose to wash out any debris that has collected inside), you should still have a tech out every few years to check the electronic portion of the unit.
Set Your Thermostat Correctly
The greater the difference between the indoor temperature and the outdoor one, the harder your air conditioner has to work to maintain the temperature. Each degree can make up as much as a one percent difference in your energy bill, as long as you hold it there for at least eight hours. The best way to make this happen is to raise the temperature before you leave for work in the morning and lower it back in the evening when you are actually home to enjoy the cooler air.
If you don't want to deal with fiddling with your thermostat constantly in order to keep your house at the optimal temperature, you may want to invest in a new thermostat. A simple programmable thermostat can automatically do the temperature changes for you so you don't have to have that additional item on your to-do list. If you want to go even one step further, you can invest in a smart thermostat. These devices can not only keep to a schedule but can also react to the outdoor temperature. Since the energy cost is related to the outdoor temperature, the thermostat might adjust the temperature by a degree or two based on what will minimize your energy costs.
Avoid Heating Your Home As Much As Possible
The reason that your air conditioner has to keep working so hard is that your home keeps heating up during the day. If you slow the heating process, the air conditioner will run less often, and thus, use less power. Sealing windows and doors is a good way to start, and you can get kits to do this for just a few dollars.
There are plenty of resources online to help you with your research, as there are many, many ways to keep your home cool. Try the ones that will fit with your lifestyle and skip the ones that won't. For example, keeping the shades drawn during the day will help, but that means you can't enjoy the sunlight. Leaving laundry and cooking for the evening helps your air conditioner work less in the hottest part of the day, but it's only worthwhile if it fits with your schedule.
As you can see, keeping your air conditioner in great shape isn't that hard. With a little maintenance and some good habits, you can make a decent dent in your summer energy bills. Once you've gotten these items down, keep researching. There are plenty more things you can do to reduce your energy usage, and most are just as simple to implement. Click for more info on how to get the most out of your air conditioner.