In the summer, the average high temperature in Longview, Texas, is a scorching 94 degrees Fahrenheit. In the winter, the temperature can fall to as low as 35 degrees. Luckily for you, you have central air conditioning and heating at your home. But you might not feel so lucky when you get the bill for your AC and heating use. If you’re wondering why your AC bill is so high, it’s important to remember that in the average home, around half of all energy costs go toward heating and cooling.
Fortunately, it’s a cinch to cut your energy use and save money on your bills. Here’s how to save money on air conditioning and heating costs throughout the year.
1. Adjust Your Thermostat
Adjusting your thermostat is one quick and easy way to save electricity while using your AC. If you raise the temperature by about 7 degrees for eight hours a day, such as when you’re at work or asleep, you can cut your home energy bill by 10%.
The trick works for both heating and cooling. In the summer, turn your thermostat up to 78 degrees when you’re out and about for the day, then back down to 70 or 71 degrees when you’re home. In the winter, lower the thermostat to 62 or 63 degrees when you’re at work or asleep. Installing a programmable or smart thermostat will make it even more straightforward for you to adjust the temperature and lower your energy costs.
2. Change Your Air Filter
The filter in your HVAC system keeps dust and debris from blowing through your home, allowing you and your family to breathe easily. As you use your HVAC system, the air filter can become full of contaminants. The more dust and debris on the filter, the harder it forces the system to work to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.
It’s a good idea to replace your system’s air filters at least once a season to maximize the efficiency of your AC or heater. If your AC or heating system gets a workout, you might consider replacing the filter monthly.
Some filters are disposable and replaceable, while you’ll need to clean others. Cleaning or replacing the filter can reduce the energy consumption of your system by up to 15%. Changing the air filter is usually a DIY task. However, if you’re not sure about your filter’s location or what type you need to purchase, you can also hire a heating and cooling contractor to perform the replacement for you.
3. Maintain Your Equipment
Regularly replacing your system’s air filter is just one maintenance task to perform to keep your AC and heating system operating at peak efficiency. Annual maintenance is also essential. During a yearly maintenance inspection, a technician will thoroughly examine your system, adjust it and clean it. If they notice any problems or issues that could require a more extensive repair down the line, they’ll recommend adjustments to make or small fixes to keep the system working at its best.
4. Seal Windows and Doors
When you use your AC, it sends chilled air throughout your home, lowering the temperature and keeping your household comfortable. Ideally, the air you are paying to cool will remain in the home, rather than seeping into the warm world outdoors. The reverse is true when you run the heater. You’re using energy and spending money to raise the temperature of the air. You want to do as much as possible to keep the warm air inside your home.
In some cases, cool or warm air can escape through small cracks or openings around door and window frames. Caulking around the windows and doors will help keep cooled or warmed air inside, where it belongs. The caulk will also help to keep warm or cold outside air from getting into your home. Sealing the windows and door frames of your home is a relatively simple do-it-yourself project. If you’re not comfortable DIYing it, you can hire a handyperson to take care of the task.
5. Lower the Blinds
While natural sunlight can be an affordable way to light your home during the daytime, in the middle of a Texas summer, letting sunlight into your home can also mean inviting in extra heat. More than three-quarters of the sunlight that falls onto the windows of your home gets converted to heat.
The best way to keep that heat out of your house is to cover up the windows with blinds, shades or curtains. Some types of window coverings are more effective than others when it comes to blocking heat. For example, cellular shades or blackout curtains will more effectively block heat than horizontal blinds.
When it’s cold outside, covering the windows can prevent heat from leaving your home, helping lower your energy costs. Curtains, shades and drapes do a better job at keeping the heat in, compared to horizontal or vertical blinds.
6. Run Appliances at Night
In the heat of summer, the last thing you want to do is cook. But sometimes you’ve got to turn on the oven or use the stove, especially if you eat most of your meals at home. To keep your AC from working overtime to keep your home cool, try to use heat-generating appliances in the evening or at night, when the outside temperatures are lower. That can mean you bake cookies, bread or cakes in the evening or meal prep the night before, so you have lunch and dinner ready to go for the next day.
You might also want to run your dryer, washing machine and dishwasher in the evening to keep them from raising the interior temperature too much.
7. Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Heating and Cooling Systems
In some cases, the most straightforward way to save money on your air conditioning and heating costs is to upgrade your heating and cooling systems. The law requires newer units to be more energy-efficient than older models. Although the average lifespan can vary, you’ll typically replace your air conditioner every 10 years and your heating system every 15 years. If you’re not sure whether it’s time for a replacement, a technician can inspect your system and give you an idea of how much energy it uses and how much electricity you might save by upgrading.
AC Contractors Can Help You Save on Your AC and Heating Bill
If you’re tired of wondering why your AC bill is so high and want tips to save electricity while using your AC or heating system, AC Contractors is here to help. We’re the Comfort Kings of Northeast Texas. We offer maintenance, repair and installation of heating and cooling systems. If you’re ready to save money, contact us today to find out more about what we can do for you.