About six percent of US electricity is consumed by air conditioners annually, costing homeowners $29 billion, according to the US Department of Energy (DOE).
Some reports estimated that the average AC repair cost is between $150 to $650, while complex air conditioners may cost over $2,500, especially if they are out of warranty. Replacing an AC costs between $3,882 and $7,905.
All of these expenses can be reduced using the following smart tips:
Close and cover your windows
The summer sun is the cause of the extreme heat indoors. It is essential to prevent its penetration, usually accompanied by heat.
A report by the DOE observed that about 76 percent of the sunlight that falls on windows becomes heat. This is caused by a process called Solar Heat Gain. It will heat the objects within the room, increasing its overall heat.
The AC will have to operate more often to maintain the desired cool temperature during this period.
It is also estimated that about 30 percent of cooling energy is lost through windows.
When your AC is operating, close your home doors and windows and draw the curtains to prevent direct sun penetration.
If you are not a fan of curtains, installing mesh-like window screens can also help intercept the sun’s heat energy, preventing it from entering your room.
This will reduce the overall heat in the room and therefore reduce the work done by the AC to cool the room and, as a result, reduce your energy bill.
Match AC unit to room size
Buying an AC unit with a larger capacity than your room desire may appear as a logical decision to achieve optimal room coolness.
In reality, it may not be a good investment. Aside from the additional expenses you may incur in getting the bigger AC, it will consume more energy than a smaller unit. Likewise, the cost of repair and replacement will be higher.
Buy an AC that suitably matches your room size. Experts recommend ACs with 20 BTUs for every square foot.
Other factors to consider when buying an AC include:
Number of windows in the room: Some windows can be a source of energy loss. Therefore, the more they are, the higher the energy loss to expect. They can increase your BTU requirement by almost 10 percent.
Type of the windows: Energy-efficient windows can significantly keep your home cool in summer and reduce the operating time of the AC. A room with such windows will be okay with a smaller capacity AC compared to a room of similar size featuring single-paned glass windows.
Number of occupants: The human body generates heat. The more people in a room, the more heat the AC will need to cool.
To further save on your air conditioner bill, only buy units with an energy-efficiency ratio of 10 or above.
Regular maintenance and upgrade
Proper and regular maintenance can save you many expenses on bills, repairs, and replacements.
For instance, cleaning or replacing your AC filter can reduce your energy bill by 15 percent. Replace the filter during the cooling season, and always check your evaporator coil at least once a year.
Hire a professional to service the AC at the beginning of the summer. This will help detect faults and replace them on time, as they may worsen due to heavy usage during the hot season.
Also, if your AC is old, replacing it might save you on heavy repair costs. The average life span of AC is 15 to 20 years. They tend to require more frequent repair than usual when old.
Stricter regulations of AC manufacturing have also improved its technology over the years. Newer models consume lesser energy and reduce utility bills.
The continuous running of AC will undoubtedly result in a considerable increase in energy bills. A smart AC or programmable thermostat can help vary the temperature. They can be controlled using your WiFi and smartphones.
For example, if you are out for hours, you can easily increase the temperature and reduce it a few minutes before arrival.
There are also smart plugs that can be used to switch ACs without smart features similarly.