With the summer months quickly approaching and the weather turning warmer and more humid, many families and businesses are dreading the spike in their electricity bills. While a crisp, air conditioned building can feel like a lifesaver on a hot day, air conditioning usage accounts for a large proportion of energy costs. The US Energy Information Administration estimates air conditioning costs make up between 12 and 27 percent of home electricity expenditures, depending on the humidity of the region.
A rise in your energy bill may be inevitable during the hottest weeks of summer, but there are several ways to keep costs down.
- Install a programmable thermostat. Setting a cooling schedule on a programmable thermostat allows you to air condition a building only when it is most necessary and keep it warmer when fewer people are around.
- Don’t block the air vents. Make sure no furniture or other objects are blocking the air vent, which can prevent proper airflow and lead to higher utility bills.
- Cover cracks. Cool air can escape through even very small cracks in a building. Make sure windows and doors seal tightly. Draft guards can be purchased to block cool air escaping through doors that lead outside.
- Use fans. While ceiling fans and portable fans don’t cool the air, they can circulate air throughout a room and create a breeze, helping building occupants feel more comfortable on a hot summer day.
- Schedule a checkup. Regular, preventative maintenance on your HVAC system, such as changing filters and scheduling a professional checkup, will ensure it is running efficiently. Cleaning an air conditioner unit can reduce energy bills by 5 to 15 percent in some cases.