7 ways to use you air conditioner less and cool your home more effectively
Air conditioners generally do a better job blowing air in one direction than in the other. That can be a problem if your window isnít centered on the wall. To evenly cool a room, youíll need to direct to its center, so check whether your A/C needs to blow air to the right or to the left.
Use fans more
They cost little to run, and they create a breeze that can help you feel up to 7 degree cooler. Save energy and money by using ceiling fans and turning off the air conditioning or by turning up the A/Cís temperature a few degrees and letting the fan do the rest.
How to use a fan to cool off
Air conditioning is a lifesaver when the humidity and the temperature climb. But running an AC unit consumes considerable energy. Once the Air conditioner has done its job and a roomís air environment is at a humane level, 72 to 78 degrees f and 35 to 60 percent humidity, consider switching off the AC and turning on a fan.
With moderate air movement, the comfort range of a room can be extended to 82 degrees, and each degree you are able to raise the thermostat will save 3 to 5 percent on air conditioning costs. Set an oscillating fan near the corner of a room so that it can easily sweep side-to-side, but not so close that it picks up and circulates dust from the walls or corners.
Variable speeds allow you to adjust the amount of air movement preferred, with lower speeds using less energy. A timer will let you set the fan to run in a bedroom at night and shut off in the morning. A handy remote control will also save energy, as you wonít need to get up to turn on the fan.
Create some shade
Close the drapes and blinds, and roll out the awnings to filter the sun, especially for west-facing windows in the afternoon. Trees and bushes on the side of your house that gets the most western sun can also reduce your cooling costs.
Swap light bulbs:
Incandescent bulbs produce about 75 percent more heat than energy star-qualified compact fluorescent lights. Replacing a 60-watts incandescent bulb with a 15-watts CFL can save you up to $41 over the life of the bulb.
Summarize your home
Adding insulation and sealing air leaks helps keep your comfortable year-round and can also lower your energy bill by hundreds of dollars a year. Start by insulating the attic or adding to the insulation already there, then insulate ducks in unconditioned space.
Use your A/C wisely
Installing an air conditioner in a shady spot could increase its efficiency up to 10 percent. Donít lower the air conditionerís temperature when you turn it on. It wonít cool the room any faster, but it will use more energy. On humid days, set the fan speed on low to remove more moisture from the air. If you have central air conditioning, you can cut your annual energy bills by about 10 percent by using a programmable thermostat. Turn it up 10 degrees when youíre out. 6
Maintain youíre A/C
Dirty clogged filters increase an air conditionerís energy use. Vacuum dust and debris from inside a window unit before you install it. Clean the filter on window and central A/Cís monthly or as needed by vacuuming and washing. Some filters need to be replaced. Clear debits from outside louvers and coils. Keep plantings at least 2 feet from the condenser.