With the hottest Houston months on the horizon there are other things that also come into view, like pool parties, gatherings with friends, and, unfortunately, sky-high AC bills. Spring is the perfect time for a little pre-game strategy for your energy costs with these money saving AC tips. Try one or two, or put all our pro-tips to work, saving money for you.
Don’t set it and forget it!
If you have central AC controlled by a thermostat, upgrade to a programmable thermostat and save energy by turning up the temperature during the day or any time you are away from your home. Even a couple of degrees will make a difference. Some of the largest corporations sacrifice freezing cold air for something slightly more comfortable and find it to be a great cost saving measure during the warmest summer months.
You may be surprised to find that the contrast between the outside and inside temperatures matter as much as the absolute temperature inside your home. Find a temperature where you can still be comfortable, but that is not such a drain on your energy bill. Remember, even a degree or two will make a difference and your body will adjust to the change in temperature over time.
Clean your air filter.
A dirty filter reduces your air conditioner’s efficiency, causing it to use more energy and costing you more money. Your HVAC system’s filter should be checked monthly and, depending on the type of filter your AC unit requires, it will need to be changed every one to three months. Fiberglass and charcoal filters need to be replaced monthly, while pleated filters need to be changed every three months.
Get an annual tune-up.
A professional tune up has one main benefit – saving you money. An expert HVAC technician will be able to diagnose any inefficiencies in your AC system before you waste money during the tremendously hot months in Houston. A tune-up brings your air conditioner up to its maximum efficiency before you move into the hottest months of the year.
What’s even better is to schedule your tune-up early. A Pre-Season Tune-Up allows you to beat the rush and ensures that, as soon as those higher temperatures hit, your system will be ready to go, and you won’t be wasting a penny. A typical tune-up should run you around $200, depending on what services your AC needs to undergo, however, if you know you will be scheduling annual maintenance, the best way to go is to find an annual maintenance plan like AIRTEAM’s Member Value Plus Preventative Maintenance Plan. Planned service like this cost you less annually and saves you a lot more in the long term.
Buy Energy Star.
An Energy Star system will use about 14% less energy than minimum government standards, and efficiency matters when it comes to saving money. Additionally, when you buy Energy Star you should qualify for a tax credit.
Raise your settings.
When home, aim to set the temperature around 78 degrees to maximize both your comfort and your energy and cost savings. Remember to let the temperature rise when you’re not home and by a couple of degrees at night. A programmable thermostat, used properly, can save the average home up to $150 yearly.
Turn on the fan.
Many Houston homes have ceiling fans, but in rooms where there are no ceiling fans, any fan will do. The key is to get the air circulating, especially from the upper floors to the lower floors. If possible, operate fans on your home’s upper level and open windows on your home’s lower level, perhaps during the cooler hours of the night. Moving the air will also help to evaporate the sweat from your skin. Helping to circulate the air will help your home feel cooler even with the AC at a higher temp.
One of the easiest ways to avoid making your home hotter is to keep from turning on your stovetop or baking in your oven. It’s a good thing barbeque is so popular and delicious here in Houston, because grilling out is a great way to keep your house cooler in those warmer months. Get creative on the grill by cooking not only your meat outside, but your veggies as well!
Replace your AC unit.
It’s possible that it’s just time to say goodbye to your older AC unit. If you’re looking at a lot of AC repairs or your unit seems less efficient despite regular maintenance, it may be time to replace it. AC efficiency is largely a function of technology, and, if you do swap out your older unit for something newer, you could reduce your costs by as much as half. Look for something with a high energy-efficiency-ratio (EER) or an Energy Star-qualified unit.
Let humidity set your AC pace.
When the humidity really sets in, set your AC fan to low. During the months of lighter humidity, keep your fan pace on high. The slower air movement through the air conditioning equipment removes more moisture from the air, improving the comfort in your home.
A splash in the bath.
Take a bath or shower, splash your face with cool water, place a cold washrag on the back of your neck. All these old tricks still work to lower your body temperature. If you don’t feel cooler right away, don’t give up. Our comfort range depends on the temperatures we have experienced in recent days and weeks and the body and mind adjust to fluctuating temperatures.
Whether it’s looking to the old reliable tricks of cooling yourself and your house down manually, or turning to Houston’s AC repair and maintenance pros through the recommended MVP Preventative Maintenance Plan, these tips will save you money during the hottest and most expensive time of year. Try one or two of them out and see how well they work for you or be a real cost-saver and put all our pro-tips to work for you. Have additional questions? AIRTEAM is always available to answer any AC related questions you might have.