We know beating the heat is a big deal in Austin, and around, from Liberty Hill all the way down to Kyle. Air conditioning is more of a necessity than a luxury, which is why getting the most out of your air conditioner is of utmost importance. But at the same time, creating the perfect cool paradise in your home can get expensive. The hotter it is outside, the more costly cooling your house will get.
You may be wondering: how can I get the most out of my air conditioner for the least amount of my paycheck? Luckily for you, there are a number of tips, tricks, and strategies available that will allow you to stay both cool and comfortable, even in the hot heat of the Austin summer, while saving as much money as possible. Check out some of the tips below to find out how you can stay cool and keep as much of your hard-earned money as possible.
Using Your Thermostat Smartly
The easiest and most immediately effective thing you can do to save money on air conditioning this summer is to optimize how you use your air conditioner. The thermostat is your tool and like all tools, it requires careful, calculated usage, in order to get the most out of it.
The simplest thing you can do to save on utility costs in your home is to raise the thermostat temperature. We know summers in Austin can be brutal, and keeping your house cool and comfortable is why you have an air conditioner in the first place. But a balance must be struck in order to save money. Find the highest temperature you can set you AC to and still be comfortable. Experiment with it. Experts recommend 78 degrees, as that is within the range that most people find reasonably comfortable, while still high enough to keep the electricity bill reasonable. But to personalize your balance between comfort and frugality, you should try a variety of degree settings, and see which one you and the other members of you household agree is comfortable, yet high enough to save on the bill.
If you’re willing to invest a little money to save a lot of money, consider getting a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat can be used to optimize the setting of your air conditioning at different times of the day, in order to maximize your savings. This option is especially useful if the schedule of you and your other household members is fairly regular. With a programmable thermostat, you can set your air conditioning so that it is warmer when you’re at work and no one is home. Then it can get cooler while people are home and awake, and then a little warmer when it’s cooler outside, at night.
It is recommended that with a programmable thermostat, you raise the temperature of your home by four to six degrees while the house is empty and a couple of degrees when it’s nighttime. This is all easily done with a programmable thermostat. It is estimated that a properly utilized programmable thermostat can save you around $150 per year, so it will quickly prove cost efficient to invest in one.
Air conditioners have a lot of parts and many of those parts won’t work perfectly indefinitely. The technology in air conditioners these days can be fairly sophisticated, and like any sophisticated technology, system failure becomes more likely with time. Good air conditioners are built to last, but even the best air conditioner on the market will work better with regular maintenance. The better your air conditioner is working, the less it’s going to cost to keep a cool and comfortable home. Taking good care of your AC system is one of the best things you can do to save money.
Some maintenance tasks regarding your AC are simply must dos. One of those is replacing your air filters. With time, all air filters become dirty and clogged. They filter out contaminating particles from the air, keeping your AC and your air clean, but as they do so, they gradually accumulate those very same particles themselves. Once your air filters get too dirty, they won’t be able to effectively clean the air, which means your air conditioner will have to work harder, as it will start to collect the particles that your air filter once did.
As particles of dust and other contaminants infiltrate your air ducts, they collect on the evaporator coil of your air conditioner, and other vital components. When this happens, those parts are not able to work as efficiently, and your air conditioner becomes less capable. This means it will take longer to cool the air, and cost you more money. Luckily, preventing this is easy. Every two months or so, take a look at your air filters and replace them if needed. What you spend on new air filters will be nothing next to what you’ll save on your yearly energy bills.
Maximizing Your AC Efficiency
As you might expect, not all air conditioners are made the same. With better and new technology, greater efficiency can be achieved. The key to a true balance between cost and comfort is to get the right air conditioner for you. Sometimes this means spending some money on a more energy-efficient unit now so you can save more in the long run.
When you look for a new air conditioner, look for an Energy Star certified one. Air conditioners that have an Energy Star rating have been shown to use 14% less energy than the minimum government standards on average.
It’s also important to buy the right-sized air conditioner. Getting a more powerful and bigger air conditioner isn’t always a good idea. In fact, you could be wasting a lot of energy by using an air conditioner that’s simply too big for the amount of space you’re trying to cool. The best way to combat this problem is to find an Austin AC repair and maintenance company you trust, and allow them to help you find the air conditioning unit that’s right for you.
Maintain Good Airflow
Cold air means nothing if it isn’t traveling properly through your home. You’d be surprised by how much money you can save just by promoting better, more effective airflow. The first and easiest thing you can do is check all of your air conditioner vents. Those are the metal slotted covers that you’ll find throughout your home, on the ceilings and walls. Make sure they’re all open. There should be levers on the side of all of these vents that can open and close the vents. Use them to make sure there isn’t air being blocked from traveling to any of the rooms in your house. This will make your air conditioner's job easier.
The next most important thing you can do to promote better airflow in your home is to use fans effectively. If you don’t have ceiling fans in the rooms of your house you spend the most time in, it’s time to invest in some. Fans are inexpensive compared to the amount of money you’ll save by being able to dial back your AC a few degrees year-round. There should be a ceiling fan in your living room and bedrooms if you want to save the most money. It’s also important to make sure the fans are spinning the right way. They should be pushing the air down, spreading cool air around your room and you. If they’re blowing air upwards, they’ll actually be doing the opposite of helping, as they will force the hotter air back down.
If you don’t want to spend money on ceiling fans, or you simply want to improve the airflow in your house even more, you can get some standing fans. Position the fans so that they move the air towards areas of your house and your rooms that aren’t close to the vents of the air conditioning. This way, air will circulate more effectively through your house and better circulation means easier cooling. This will relieve you of the heat and relieve your wallet of the bills.
Other Crafty Tips
There are a variety of simple tricks and tips you can use to get the most out of your air conditioner. Save money and stay cool by considering some of the following.
- Switch to fluorescent bulbs: You’re probably aware that fluorescent bulbs use less energy than incandescent bulbs. But you may not know that fluorescent bulbs will help with your air conditioning as well. This is because fluorescent bulbs run a lot cooler than incandescent bulbs, and although they’re small, this can make a big difference when you consider all the lights in your house, and how often they’re on.
- Block the sun: It has been shown that approximately 30% of the heat that enters your home comes through the windows. It makes sense then that covering your windows will save you money in energy bills. Shades, blinds, curtains, and tinted films are your best friends when it comes to blocking the heat. Your windows probably already have blinds, so the easiest tip is to keep those closed whenever you don’t need the extra light from outside. Also consider investing in light-blocking curtains, which can have the added benefit of allowing you to sleep undisturbed during the early hours of the morning. Low-E film, or tinted film, is also something worth looking into. These are inexpensive films you place over the outside of your windows, which block heat constantly, without you having to do a thing.
- Use a bed fan: When you’re sleeping, you still want to be comfortable and cool, but there’s no need to cool the entire house just to achieve that. At night, most of your house is probably going unused, so keeping your AC at the same temperature that you keep it during the day is missing an opportunity to save money. When everyone in the household is asleep, raise the temperature setting on the thermostat by 4 to 6 degrees, and use bed fans to keep you cool instead.
Air Conditioning Repair in Austin
Modern air conditioners are built well but even the best air conditioning system in the world won’t run at 100% efficiency forever. That’s why it’s a good idea to get your air conditioner checked regularly by a professional, even if it seems to be in working order.
In order to save the most money possible, you want your air conditioner working in peak condition. Sometimes, you won’t even be able to tell if your air conditioner is faulty in some way, except for the higher energy bill it leads to. That’s why it is recommended that you get your AC inspected at least once a year. A professional will be able to quickly diagnose any problems such as clogging or leaks in your AC unit.
Saving money on cooling isn’t as hard as it sounds. With some basic maintenance, some frugal AC and fan usage, and a few other simple techniques, you can stay cool in this hot Austin summer without breaking the bank. On top of all the tips above, make sure you have a properly working air conditioner by contacting a company that excels in AC repair. Austin has been the home of AC Express for many years, and we know how important quality air conditioning service in Austin is. If your air conditioner is giving you problems or if you just want to make sure everything is working exactly as it should be, call today! (512) 866-5520