Is Your Cooling Bill Too High? 5 Tips To Boost The Efficiency Of Your Air Conditioner

Is it costing you too much to keep your house cool with an air conditioner? Are you sacrificing your comfort for a lower electricity bill? If so, read on for 5 tips to cut energy costs by improving the efficiency of your air conditioner. 

1.  Don't Lower The Thermostat In An Effort To Cool Your Home Quickly

While it's tempting to want to crank your air conditioner's thermostat down low when you walk into a hot house, you aren't doing yourself any favors by doing so. The thermostat is designed to shut the unit off when your home reaches a certain temperature, not to adjust the speed at which your home is cooled. 

Lowering your thermostat by just 2 degrees can increase your unit's energy consumption by a whopping 5%–10%, and it won't cool your house off any faster than it would have if you hadn't fiddled with the temperature. 

2.  Absolutely turn Off Your Unit When You Aren't Home

A lot of people are under the misconception that they'll somehow save electricity by leaving their cooling unit running at all times. Air conditioners are at their prime efficiency when they've been running uninterrupted for long periods of time. This means that cooling your home off with one long cycle upon returning home will be far more efficient than letting your air conditioner cycle on and off all day for short periods of time.

If you can't stand to wait for your house to cool off when you first get home, invest in a programmable wall outlet timer and set it to kick your unit on an hour or so before you plan on returning home.

3.  Close Off Every Space In Your Home That You Don't Frequent

This one seems obvious, but it's often overlooked. If you have areas of your home that you don't frequently use, there is absolutely no reason to cool them. Close the doors to all pantries, closets, and spare bedrooms. Also, close the doors to your bathroom(s)—you'll only be in there for a few minutes, you can handle being warm for that short period of time.  

You probably don't spend much time in your hallway, either, so use pressure rods hung close to the ceiling and long, heavy curtains to close them off; every little bit of space counts when your goal is to cut air conditioner energy costs. 

4.  Get Shades, And Keep Them Closed On Hot Summer Days

According to the Department of Energy, properly managing window coverings can reduce sun-induced heat gain by 77%. Keep the sun's rays from heating up your house and making your air conditioner work harder by installing shades in all of your windows. For best results, purchase white shades and hang them as close to your window as possible.

Since southern-facing windows get the most sun, consider planting tall bushes or shrubbery in front of them. Choose thick, full plants that will effectively block the sun's rays. 

5.  Pay Attention To Your Kitchen And Basement Ventilation

Think about all the appliances that you have in your kitchen that throw off heat—your oven, your microwave, your coffee maker, your toaster, and even your dishwasher. All of these things are fighting against your air conditioner.  Make sure you have plenty of ventilation in your kitchen to draw some of that hot air outside.

Your basement, on the other hand, is below ground level, so it's always nice and cool down there. Open your floor vents so that some of that cool air can waft up and give the air conditioner a hand.

If your air conditioning unit is busting your electricity bill budget, don't think that the only solution is to sweat-it-out on those hot summer days. You can stay cool and save on your power bill with the above 5 tips for improving the efficiency of your air conditioner.