How To Cut AC Power Consumption Without Replacing Equipment
In many households, the indoor comfort system is the top consumer of energy. Typically, fall and spring seasons bring low utility bills, and winter and summer bring much higher ones. With some care and planning, however, you can reduce your air comfort expenses so that your energy usage and resultant costs will be lower even in extreme temperatures.
It is true that if you have an older system, buying a newer one can improve your energy efficiency. It is also a fact that there are many other ways to reduce your cooling costs without installing new equipment. These energy-saving methods could be used to reduce your overall energy footprint regardless of the age or type of air conditioning unit you possess.
The team from Brennan Heating & Air Conditioning has been providing air-comfort services to the Puget Sound area for over 30 years. We have extensive knowledge of all the ways in which homeowners can reduce their energy power consumption, and we want to share that knowledge with you.
1. Setting the Thermostat Higher
One of the most effective ways to save energy costs incurred by your air conditioning system is simply turning your thermostat to a higher setting. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that homeowners can save as much as 10% annually by setting the thermostat 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit higher than its normal setting for eight hours a day. You can set the thermostat to 85 degrees when you are away at work during the day and lower it to 78 degrees when you return in the afternoon.
2. Using a Programmable Thermostat
Utilizing a programmable thermostat is a great way to remove the guesswork from setting your temperatures throughout the day. They also help you take advantage of times when you do not need as much cooling in your home. If you work outside the home for long stretches of time, for example, you do not need the house to be at a constant 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
With a programmable thermostat, you can set specific temperatures for specific times and take the guesswork out of the whole process. If the programmable thermostat is a “smart” device, you can also program it on the fly from any remote location. A programmable thermostat is a useful tool for reducing energy costs, and our team can have you up and running quickly with these innovative devices.
3. Replacing the Air Filters
Replacing the air filters used in the AC system is one of the easiest methods to reduce unnecessary energy usage. Air filters keep dust and other small particles from accumulating on the coils and other components in your air system, and they also prevent the dust from being recirculated throughout your home.
Dust that accumulates on the coils causes them to not cool the air as efficiently and makes the system work harder. Dirty air filters that are clogged by dust will impede the flow of air into the system, which will also cause the system to work harder than it should. You should change out the air filters at least every two to three months.
4. Conducting Regular Maintenance
Keeping a regularly scheduled maintenance plan for your AC system will offer the benefits of saving energy and even avoiding expensive repairs later. A professional technician will come to your home and conduct an inspection of your system, which usually involves replacing the air filters and other small items, checking the refrigerant, cleaning the coils and performing diagnostics on your system. The cleaning will enable the system to run efficiently, and the system checks will help pinpoint any issues that may be present.
A small issue now can turn into a big problem later, but an annual tune-up is good way to catch these concerns early. At Brennan Heating & Air Conditioning, we provide thorough and careful maintenance inspections for people throughout the Greater Seattle area, and our trained technicians are knowledgeable on all makes and models of systems.
5. Adding More Insulation
If you have a home that is older, the odds are that your insulation in the walls, ceiling and attic is not sufficient to achieve maximum energy savings. Insulation works by reducing the exchange of heat through the surfaces of your home, and in a well-insulated house, there will be less air escaping from the residence. It is estimated that improving the insulation in your home can lower your energy bills by up to 20%. Checking the insulation levels in your attic is fairly easy, but checking your walls and ductwork systems is better handled by a professional.
6. Sealing All Openings and Cracks
Besides improving your insulation, making sure that all your openings are properly sealed is another way to keep your cooled air inside. Your windows, doors and vents all need to be sealed in order to reduce or eliminate any air escaping through these crevices and cracks.
You should check for any drafts around your doors and windows. Use caulk or weather strips for small cracks and foam sealant for larger gaps. Check the thresholds and put in sealing gaskets if they are not present. Check the fireplace for any drafts and make sure the flue is closed when not in use. These are just some of the more obvious places where air might be escaping.
7. Installing Energy-Efficient Curtains or Blinds
Placing energy-efficient curtains around your windows and glass doors can help reduce the heat that comes in from the sun during the day. These special curtains are typically constructed with a core layer of high-density foam, a vapor barrier that prevents the foam from absorbing moisture, a layer of film that reflects the air back into the room and a decorative layer of fabric. These curtains can be found in many styles, including side-draw shades, Roman shades and classic shades. Utilizing these insulated curtains will prevent hot spots in your home and make everyone more comfortable.
8. Running the Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans do not actually cool rooms, but they do cool the people inside the rooms. Using these fans to keep everyone comfortable allows you to set the thermostat a few degrees higher without a detrimental effect on the residents. This will save you energy. You just need to remember to turn off the fans when there is no one in the rooms.
These are just some of the many ways in which most homeowners can cut their AC power consumption. Each person’s situation is different, and a tailored combination of energy-savings strategies should be employed to fit your special circumstances. The most important factor in cutting your energy costs is being aware of how and when your AC system is running and examining your electricity usage.
For many years, Brennan Heating & Air Conditioning has been offering consultations on air conditioning efficiency to clients throughout Seattle, Tacoma and the surrounding area, and we can help you reduce your power consumption. We’re experts at providing all services for heating and cooling systems, ductless systems and indoor air quality solutions. We also offer ductwork cleaning and address many other home comfort concerns. In addition, our team works on water heaters and provides a full range of electrical services.
Give Brennan Heating & Air Conditioning a call today to see what we can do for you anywhere in the Puget Sound area.