Everyone knows that once the first heat wave hits, energy bills skyrocket — especially when you’re a fan of air conditioning. Your air conditioning system accounts for the bulk of your home’s overall energy use in the summer.
Luckily, the U.S. Green Building Council clued us in to several ways we can save energy — and money — by using our air conditioners conscientiously.
1. Give Your Thermostat the Time of Day
Programming your thermostat to pump less cool air during the moonlight hours — even a few degrees less — can make big a difference. Here are suggested settings for various times through a 24-hour period:
• 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. = 75 degrees
• 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. = 80 degrees
• 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. = 75 degrees
• 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. = 80 degrees
2. Kick It Up a Notch
78 degrees Fahrenheit is a common indoor temperature for a typical household. If you want to save a significant amount of money, set your thermostat one degree higher. Now set it another degree higher. The only place you’ll feel a big difference is in your wallet. For every degree above 78, you’ll save 5 to 8 percent on cooling costs. If you just want a comfortable home, and don’t need an overly cool one, try raising it to 85 degrees; you’ll save 35 to 55 percent.
3. Don’t Cool the Home for No One
If you’re going out for a few hours, set the thermostat to 85 or 90 degrees. When you get home and reset it, the house will take only about 15 minutes to resume its normal, comfy-cool temperature. The system will consume less energy during this quick, 15-minute cool-down period than if you had left it running at 78 the whole time.
4. Change the Filter
A filter caked with dirt significantly impedes the function of your air conditioner, causing it to pump more air to cool your home. Change the filter several times a year — especially in the beginning of the cooling and heating seasons. Here’s how to change the filter in your HVAC system.
See? Being energy smart is easier than it sounds.