In many households, cooling costs are the leading expense during the summer months. While there is no substitute for a cool and comfortable home, there is a substitute for high operating costs. Best of all, there is little you have to do on your part to keep your home's air conditioning operating more efficiently and your costs lower.
Invest in Inspections
Schedule an inspection for your air conditioning unit, annually ideally. The leading causes for increased operating costs are malfunctions — often those that are hidden. Inspections, or tune-ups, as they are sometimes called, involve a top-to-bottom examination of your unit to ensure it is working correctly.
Keep the Floor Clean
Regular sweeping or vacuuming will help relieve allergy symptoms and allow your unit to work better. Allergens on the floor get recirculated into the air and eventually pulled into the air conditioning unit. Once inside, they land on the filter. Excess filter debris minimizes the amount of air circulating through the system, forcing it to work harder.
Make an effort to regularly trim or cut any weeds or grass around your exterior unit. Proper operation requires adequate airflow into the unit, and these growths restrict this flow, making it work harder. If the overgrowth remains for too long, you might not only experience increased operating costs, but you could also cause damage.
Operate the Ceiling Fan
People sometimes think it is either the ceiling fan or the air conditioner, but operating both can actually save you money. Running your ceiling fan counterclockwise when the air conditioner is on pulls the warm air toward the ceiling, forcing the cooled air down. You might even be able to raise the temperature on the thermostat with the extra coolness boost.
You cannot eliminate household chores like running the dishwasher and dryer or cooking dinner in the oven. However, you can control when you perform them. In the summer, avoid operating these appliances during the middle of the day. Morning or evening hours are best since the temperature outside is cooler, so the heat they generate will be less impactful.
Upgrade the Thermostat
If you still have a standard thermostat, consider upgrading to a smart thermostat. In addition to web-enabled access, intelligent systems can monitor your usage habits to create a cooling schedule that is adequate for your comfort needs while maximizing your savings.
Again, if you are concerned with operating costs for your HVAC unit, more than likely, there is a malfunction to blame. Be sure to contact an HVAC professional for further assistance and to get to the bottom of the issue should the problem persist.