Each year, when the sizzling summer heat combines with our infamous Virginia humidity, the use of your AC system(s) can rise to 25 percent or more of your total home energy consumption. Remember too that your air conditioning system(s) uses more energy than any other appliance or utility in your home, thereby making it the most expensive to operate! With that being said, we here at A/C Masters would like to offer some tips on how to get the most out of your HVAC unit.
First, check your thermostat setting, remembering that the closer you keep your thermostat to the outdoor temperature, the lower your energy bill. Maintaining a consistent temperature throughout your home helps keep energy costs low, while also making your system more efficient throughout the day. Also, don’t be tempted to crank that AC to full blast as this will only make your system work harder while not actually cooling your home any faster. Energy experts typically recommend keeping your thermostat at 78 degrees when you are home and 80+ degrees when you’re away during the hot months. Also remember to keep any heat producing appliances and electronics away from your thermostat, as they can significantly raise the surrounding air temperature.
Second, turning on ceiling and floor fans when it gets hot can help cool your body’s surface temperature by around 4 to 6 degrees, while also assisting air circulation in your home by evenly distributing the cooler air produced by your air conditioning unit. Fans also use significantly less energy than your cooling system; just remember to turn them off when you leave the room.
Third, make sure your windows are sealed properly and add weather stripping to doors if you feel a draft coming through. Installing drapes and blinds to block direct sunlight from heating up your home space, as well as adding insulation to any attic or basement areas, can also help save you up to 10% on your energy costs.
Fourth, make sure your duct work is free of leaks. Poor connections, holes, or leaks in a home’s ductwork can cause up to a 520 percent air loss while also significantly increasing your system’s workload during the hot summer months. By making sure your system is closed, homeowners can save on average 10% annually on their home energy bill.
Fifth, Maintain, Maintain, Maintain! Make sure your filters are changed monthly and that all vents are clear of debris and not blocked by furniture or other objects that prevent air flow. Also always remember to have a certified HVAC technician tune up your AC system once a year to ensure it continues to run efficiently.
Finally, if your system is more than 15 years old, it may be time to replace it with a more energy-efficient option. Energy-Star certified air conditioners are 15% more energy efficient than conventional models, providing significant savings on your energy consumption each year. For a detailed consultation on the value of replacing your system, and financing options available, call the experts at AC Masters!