Connecticut has some of the highest electricity rates in the country. Even if our summers don’t typically get as hot as many other places, the high electricity rate can still make keeping your home cool during the summer extremely expensive. Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take that can help to keep your home cooler and limit how often your AC has to run so that you can save some money on your energy bills this summer.

1. Have Your AC Professionally Inspected and Serviced

The best thing you can do to ensure your air conditioning is working effectively and not using too much energy is to have it professionally inspected and maintained every year. An inspection is obviously important for ensuring the system doesn’t have any issues that could negatively impact its performance or decrease its energy efficiency. An annual AC inspection will also reduce the chances of the system needing major repairs or potentially breaking down during the summer.

One of the most important aspects of routine AC maintenance is cleaning all of the system’s components, including the AC blower and evaporator coil inside your home and the condenser coil and other components in the outdoor unit. Dust and dirt coating any of the components can make the system far less effective so that it cools more slowly and runs for much longer times. A dirty evaporator coil or blower can also lead to the system freezing up and starting to blow hot air out of all of your vents.

Without regular maintenance, your air conditioning simply won’t work as well, and your energy costs will quickly start to rise. Annual maintenance can also help to protect the lifespan of your AC unit and the various other components to ensure you get the most out of the system and it lasts as long as possible.

2. Turn Your Thermostat Up a Few Degrees

Simply setting the temperature on your thermostat slightly higher can make a much bigger difference than you might think. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, turning the thermostat up by just 1 degree for eight hours will reduce the total energy consumption of your air conditioning by 1%. Let’s say that you normally always leave your thermostat set at 70 degrees throughout the entire day and night. If you instead left your thermostat set to 72 degrees, you could lower your monthly cooling costs by around 6%.

3. Upgrade to a Programmable or Smart Thermostat

Even better than always leaving your thermostat set slightly higher is using a programmable or smart thermostat and setting it so that your AC doesn’t run nearly as often both when you’re asleep and during the day when no one is home. Again, let’s say you normally leave your AC always set at 70 degrees. If you programmed your thermostat so that the temperature was at 75 degrees for the eight hours you’re at work and the eight hours when you’re asleep, you’d end up saving around 10% on your cooling costs each month. If you set the temperature even higher or just shut off your AC at night and sleep with the windows open, your savings would obviously be even greater.

4. Use Fans to Help You Stay Cool

Fans can be a huge help as they can allow you to turn the thermostat up a bit without your home feeling too warm. Having fans running in the rooms you’re currently occupying is great for circulating the cool air from your AC and also producing a nice cooling breeze so you don’t feel as hot. Ceiling fans can be especially helpful for two different reasons. When a ceiling fan spins counterclockwise, it pushes air downward and produces a breeze. Ceiling fans can also improve the effectiveness of your air conditioning as they will push all of the heat that collects near the ceilings down so that your AC system can draw the hot air in more easily.

Another thing to consider is that fans use far less energy than your air conditioning. Even if you had fans running in every room, you’d still save money compared to having your thermostat set at a lower temperature where your AC had to run more frequently.

Ceiling Fan

5. Keep Windows Covered During the Hottest Parts of the Day

Closing all of your drapes, blinds, and curtains during the day can also make a huge difference in how often your AC has to run and thus how much energy it uses. Windows are by far the biggest contributors to heat gain in most homes, and this is especially the case for homes with lots of west- and north-facing windows since these receive the most direct sunlight during the hottest parts of the day.

If you leave all of your windows uncovered during the day, the sunlight beaming in through them can quickly make your home much hotter and force your AC to run longer and more frequently. Keeping your windows covered during the day will greatly reduce this heat gain and help keep your home much cooler. Another option is to cover all of your windows with UV tint film, which will also work to repel or reflect the majority of UV rays and limit how much heat gain your home gets from sunlight.

6. Run Your Dishwasher and Do Laundry in the Morning or Evening

Larger appliances like your washing machine, clothes dryer, and dishwasher also give off lots of heat. Using these appliances during the middle of the day will always make your home warmer and force your AC to work harder. That is why you’re always best to instead do laundry and run your dishwasher in the morning or evening when your home is much cooler. Even better is if you avoid using your clothes dryer as much as possible during the summer and instead hang your clothes outside to dry. Doing so will both put less strain on your AC since the dryer won’t make your home warmer, and you’ll also save on all of the electricity that your dryer uses.

7. Always Use Your Kitchen and Bathroom Exhaust Fans

Lots of heat and moisture are released into the air any time you cook or take a shower or bath. If you don’t make sure to run the exhaust fans in your kitchen when cooking and in the bathroom when bathing, all of the heat and moisture can make your home much warmer and muggier. The humidity from cooking and bathing is an especially big issue since the effectiveness of your air conditioner will decrease the more humid your home is. Running your exhaust fans also has the added benefit of drawing stale, polluted air outside to help reduce issues with indoor air pollution and improve your home’s indoor air quality.

exhaust fan

At F.F. Hitchcock Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, our team can help take care of all of your home’s AC needs. We offer professional cooling services including air conditioner repair and maintenance services. We can help if your current AC unit needs to be replaced or you need a new AC system installed. We also specialize in home energy audits, which can be a great help in improving energy efficiency and lowering your utility bills. Contact us today for more information or to schedule any air conditioning, heating, or plumbing service in the Cheshire area.

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