5 Tips For Better Cooling System Performance And Lower Energy Bills
During the warm (dare we say, hot) spring and summer months on the southeast coast, the thermostat can be the most popular device in the house with everyone wanting a say in how it’s managed. Chances are, your air conditioning consumes the most energy in your home, so it’s best to keep everyone on the same page with these five tips for maximizing comfort and minimizing energy usage.
1. Set your thermostat as high as possibly comfortable during warm months
The closer your indoor temperature is to the outdoor temperature, the less your air conditioning must work to cool your space. It is recommended to keep your thermostat at 78 degrees or warmer. Also, it’s best to raise the temperature when you are away (being mindful of pets who may also stay at home) and lowering it when you return. It may be warm for a few minutes, but your system won’t have been working as hard while you’re out of the house.
2. Give your air conditioning a break at night
Adjusting your air conditioning so that it runs less at night means that your system can take a break for the eight hours you’re sleeping. Cooler temperatures at night can help relieve some of the stress on your unit. To make things easier, use programmable or smart thermostats. These tools let you can set it and forget it to achieve energy efficiency.
3. Perform an efficiency test
By checking the temperature in your return and supply air ducts, you can simply check your system’s performance. Place a thermometer in both the return duct and supply duct closest to your unit and set your thermostat well below the current temperature. Once your air conditioner runs for 10 minutes, calculate the difference in temperature. A 17 degree split or better is good performance; 14 to 16 is average; and anything lower indicates that service is in order.
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4. Move large lamps and electronics away from the thermostat
Lamps and electronics like TVs can put off increased heat, affecting your thermostat and causing your air conditioner to run for longer than necessary. Keeping these items farther away from the thermostat will help your system detect the air temperature correctly, which means your air conditioner should run less. Of course, switching to LED lighting and TVs can help eliminate this issue entirely as they produce very little heat when used.
5. Turn on a fan
Using ceiling or floor fans to circulate air throughout your home means you won’t need as much cool air supplied to bring the temperature and humidity down. During the summer, your fans should run counterclockwise at a fairly high fan speed. Fans also use less energy than your cooling system, so using them appropriately will help keep costs lower, too.
Remember, though, that fans cool people, not rooms. They create a wind chill effect to make us feel cooler, so it’s most efficient to turn off fans when you leave a room.
Taking small steps to maximize your cooling system’s performance can make a real difference in keeping your energy bills low, even during hot months in South Carolina. Find more energy-saving tips as well as other resources and rebates at SanteeCooper.com.