Florida summers bring high AC bills
Nothing says summer quite like cookouts, swimming, and … high AC bills. If you’re worried about dealing with higher monthly energy bills, you’re not alone. But, you don’t have to choose between sweating in your home and sweating over a high AC bill.
There are a number of ways you can cut down on your AC bills this summer and stay cool and comfortable. In this article, we’ll go over these ways:
Ready to keep cool without skyrocketing your monthly utility bill? Trust Red Cap Plumbing & Air with your annual AC system check.
Raise your thermostat temperature
Learning the do’s and don’ts of efficient thermostat usage is a key part of saving on your energy bills this summer.
Experiment with the following thermostat settings to cut down on your monthly AC bill:
Before we dive in, here’s a quick tip—consider setting your thermostat to 70-76 degrees this summer.
When you set your AC fan to AUTO, the fan only runs when your AC system is cooling your home. And when you set your AC fan to ON, the fan runs nonstop.
Not only does a constantly running fan spell trouble for your utility bills, but it also leads to higher humidity levels in your home.
If your AC fan is running nonstop—without proper cooling power—you’ll just get warm air blowing throughout your house without anything absorbing the moisture and dumping it outside.
You’re heading out for the day, so you decide to turn off your air conditioning system. Once you get back home, you run to your thermostat and set your system to a low temperature to crank up the AC.
Sound like you? Lowering your thermostat to a significantly colder setting won’t cool your home any quicker. It’ll just rack up your utility bills unnecessarily.
Generally, turning off your AC drives up your energy bill. Setting your thermostat even just a bit higher than your normal temperature is better than shutting it entirely off. Why? Because your air conditioner has to work extra hard to turn on and cool your house to your desired temperature.
Instead of turning your air conditioner off, you should...
Want to save up to 10% a year on your cooling bills? We recommend increasing your thermostat by 6-8 degrees for eight hours a day if you can. Any temperature increase can be good if you aren’t willing to increase it by that much, especially during the Florida summers. And since some utility companies charge more when you run electricity during afternoon peak hours (e.g., 4-9 PM), you can raise the temperature during this time and lower it during off-peak hours.
If raising the temperature sounds crazy to you, don’t panic just yet. Whether you’re working, running errands, or visiting friends, the time you spend away from home adds up quickly and can get you to those eight hours before you know it.
So, turn up the temperature when you leave the house, and change it to your desired temperature when you’re home. It’s a win-win for your comfort and wallet.
To make managing your thermostat even easier, you might want to consider investing in a programmable thermostat. That way, you don’t have to worry about remembering to change the temperature every day.
Use your ceiling fans when you increase your thermostat
Everyone has their preferences. If the U.S. Department of Energy’s recommendation of 78 degrees sounds like a sauna to you, you may have a secret weapon at your disposal. That’s right: Your ceiling fan may just become your new best friend.
If you have ceiling fans in your home, try increasing your AC temperature and turning on your fan. Keep in mind that a ceiling fan likely won’t cool the room (it’ll just cool you), so don’t keep them turned on in unoccupied rooms. Be sure to turn the fan off when you leave.
Change out your AC’s air filter
How many times have you changed your air filter since moving into your home? If you aren’t changing your air filter every 1-3 months, you may notice a spike in your energy bills.
When you have a dirty air filter, cool air cannot pass as efficiently out of your supply ducts as dust and other debris block it. And when air isn’t able to flow freely, your AC system has to work longer and harder to get your house to your desired temperature.
In addition to shaving some money off your monthly bills, having a clean air filter can also save you from costly AC repairs or an HVAC system breakdown.
Feel like you have to change your air filter too often? Try our tip above about setting your fan to AUTO instead of ON. When your AC fan is set to ON and running all the time, your air filter is constantly trapping contaminants, leading to a dirty filter faster and more frequent replacements.
Use your window blinds
Another way to save on your AC bills this summer doesn’t really have anything to do with your air conditioning system at all. Specifically, your windows could be contributing to higher energy bills in the summertime.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, about 76% of the sunlight that hits standard double-pane windows becomes heat in your home. Cue the air conditioner.
If you want to reduce the amount of heat entering your home through your windows, you may want to consider the below window treatment options, such as:
Contact Red Cap to get an AC system check
Now it’s time to target the source: your AC unit itself. Is it running efficiently? Is it prone to overheating? Are there any repairs it needs that are causing you to spend needlessly on high monthly energy bills?
Your HVAC system consists of many pieces and parts. If one or more of them has an issue, your entire cooling system can get thrown out of whack. That’s why getting an annual AC system check from a professional can help you stay on top of any potential AC issues, both in the short-term (i.e., lowering your monthly bills) and the long-term (i.e., preventing breakdowns).
During an AC system check, your professional HVAC technician inspects and tests your AC system to identify any problems. For example, they check for worn or broken parts, loose electrical connections, dirty condenser coils, etc. If there are problems, your technician should provide you with a list of recommendations.
When you get your AC system, you may also want to consider getting a duct inspection to check for debris, damage, or any leaks and holes that could lead to losing 20%-30% of your central air!
Don’t spend another summer groaning each time you receive your monthly energy bill. Contact Red Cap Plumbing & Air (available 24/7) to learn about our cooling services in Tampa and the surrounding areas.