75% of Americans are concerned that they won't be able to pay their utility or electricity bills. 51% have begun to shop less or budget. 25% have even gotten a second job to cover the costs. These high bills can come from unexpected sources. Having an air conditioner increases energy costs by 42%.
There's nothing cool about a high AC bill, so read on to learn five ways to decrease it during the summer in South Florida.
Ways To Beat The Heat & Save Money On Your Energy
1. Seal Cracks and Upgrade Insulation
Your AC unit keeps your home comfortable by circulating air. If it starts to leak out, it'll have to work harder and cost you more money.
Have a professional upgrade your insulation if it isn't keeping your home comfortable. Most older homes don't have enough.
Check for leaks in the caulking or weatherstripping around your windows and doors. There are also other places where cool air can leak out. Check your:
2. Change the AC Air Filters
Maintenance is one of the best ways to keep your AC working properly. Most tasks are best left to a professional, but working on the AC filters is one you can do yourself.
Clean the filters to remove dust and dirt that could stop the unit from circulating air properly. Change them at least once every three months in the summer. Do it more often if you have pets or children.
3. Change How You Use Your Thermostat
Florida has 237 sunny days a year, which is higher than the average of 205. The average temperature ranges from 61°F in the winter to 91° in the hottest months of the summer.
The best thermostat setting in the summer for the Sunshine State is 78°, but you can keep it a bit higher when you and your family are away. This reduces the air conditioner's operating costs.
Running a ceiling fan increases its temperature even more but keeps your home cool. It saves you 15-25% more on your energy bills.
Your thermostat has filters that need to be maintained as much as the ones in your AC unit. Clean and change them at least once a month, especially during periods of heavy usage such as the summer.
Programmable or smart thermostat installation is also key. It'll let you set the exact temperature you want at specific periods of the day, such as when everyone's left for work or school.
4. Consider Alternatives to AC
Central air units are expensive and difficult to install. If you need to massively decrease your energy bill, there are a few smaller, simpler, and cheaper alternatives.
Ductless or Mini-Split Air Conditioner
A ductless or mini-split system doesn't require the installer to go behind a wall. The condenser unit goes outside the home. Smaller units go to each room and attach to a wall.
They make it easier to adjust the temperature for each room. They are an investment as their cost goes up with each room your home has.
Window Unit or Portable Air Conditioner
A window unit or portable air conditioner is almost the exact opposite of a ductless or mini-split air conditioner. It sits on and heats a single room.
These units are one of the fastest to install if you have the right room. They need to be propped on a window or have an exhaust hose going outside. Otherwise, hot air stays in the room.
Evaporative Cooler or Swamp Cooler
These units are popular in dry climates. They use a fan and a water-soaked sponge or pad to blow air into the rest of the house. Open the windows, and the hot air escapes and the cool air stays in.
These are one of the cheapest air conditioner alternatives because they only use a small amount of water and electricity. The problem is that they only work well in areas with low relative humidity.
Geothermal Heating and Cooling
Geothermal systems use the air underground. There are several types, but they all use liquid that flows through tubes that exchange heat from the house to the ground to keep it at a comfortable temperature.
These systems are more energy-efficient than traditional central AC and can recoup the cost of installation in a few years. The installation process is long and expensive because of all the digging required to bury the pipes.
An attic fan is almost like a simpler version of a swamp cooler without humidity limitations. It circulates air well to maintain a comfortable temperature.
This is a much less expensive alternative to central air and will reduce your AC bill. It doesn't have a strong cooling agent and won't help much in months when the home temperature for summer rises above 80°.
Ceiling fans use less electricity than central air. They make you feel cooler, even if they're not doing as much.
They work best as a supplement for your AC system. It'll use less electricity when the temperature gets cooler. Your thermostat will to because you'll feel comfortable enough to turn it down a few degrees.
5. Get Regular Service
Having your system maintained and inspected by a professional does more than lower your bills. Other benefits include:
Comfortable indoor temperatures
Better indoor air quality
Increased AC lifespan
Maintaining the system's warranty
Early spring is the best time to get your system serviced. You'll find out about any problems before you need it every day, and you may get discounts.
That doesn't mean that you can't call for service in summer. Regular AC usage in the warm months puts strain on the system, and you need to make sure it can handle that kind of pressure.
During service, a technician may:
Clean the condenser coils
Check the refrigerant levels
Check voltage connections
Decide if you need repairs
See How Professionals in South Florida Can Decrease Your AC Bill
Your AC takes up most of your energy and AC bill, but a few simple steps help lower the cost.
Insulate your home and look for any cracks where air leaks out. Perform maintenance such as cleaning and replacing the coils.
Get a smart thermostat and set it to the right temperature. Try an alternative to a central air conditioner such as fans or window units.
The most important part is getting your unit regularly inspected to make sure it's working at its best. Schedule service with us at Friendly AC today.