Air conditioners and heaters account for about 40% of the average family’s utility bills. In the cities Berkeys serves, including Frisco, Plano, Richardson, and Flower Mound, most of those costs go towards cooling a home; consequently, your home’s air conditioning system impacts your electric bill.
Here are some ways to reduce the cost of running and maintaining air conditioning equipment:
- If using paper/fiber filters, replace them every month.
- Have a technician service your home’s system at the beginning of each cooling season to find small problems before they become big ones.
- Install a programmable thermostat to vary the temperature. Set it at 78 degrees when you’re home. Each degree below 78 increases energy consumption by about 8%, which increases your electric bill.
- If you’ll be gone for more than a few hours, set the temperature to 85 degrees.
- Any new equipment you buy should have a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) of 14 or higher. High efficiency equipment is the best way to reduce your electric bill.
- If possible, put your air conditioning compressor (the outside unit) in a shady spot and give it room to dispose of the heated air it removes from your house. Don’t crowd it with shrubs.
For Still Lower Electric Bills, Give Your Air Conditioner a Break
- Close drapes and install awnings or solar screens on the windows on the sunny sides of your home.
- Seal up air leaks around windows, electrical outlets, and dryer vents. Replace worn weather stripping on bottoms of doors.
- Use ceiling fans only when you’re in a room.
- Cook outdoors more and use microwave ovens and crock pots inside. Extra heat inside makes your air conditioner work harder.
- Use the “air dry” setting on your dishwasher.
- Make sure your attic is properly ventilated and insulated; 30% of the heat in your house is absorbed through the roof.
- Close off rooms you aren’t using and the cooling ducts to them.
- Make sure your air conditioning vents and air returns are not obstructed by furniture or draperies.
- Reduce heat by turning off lights when not in use.
- Likewise, computers and office equipment generate heat. Turn them off when not in use.
The home energy management professionals at Berkeys are always available to help you trim your gas and electric costs.