Learn How You Can Reduce Your Air Conditioning Usage This Summer

With the dog days of summer upon you, you might be tempted to kick back and crank up the air conditioning. However, running your air conditioner at full tilt could prove wasteful in terms of energy usage and utility costs. Instead of relying solely on your A/C system this year, here are a few tips you can use to curtail your A/C usage and save money.

Resist the Urge to Fiddle With the Thermostat

Many homeowners make the mistake of setting their A/C system's thermostat according to their immediate comfort needs. For example, you might set the thermostat to 70 degrees Fahrenheit in an attempt to immediately cool down your home. However, this practice could end up costing you more in energy consumption and costs. Besides, it won't help you cool off your home any faster.

Instead, you should leave your thermostat at a constant yet relatively comfortable temperature. 78 degrees is usually the preferred temperature of choice for many homeowners, although this may differ according to your actual comfort needs.

If you haven't done so already, you should definitely invest in a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats allow you to set your temperatures according to your daily or weekly air conditioning demands, saving you plenty of money and energy in the process.

Make Sure Your A/C System Is Well-Maintained

Believe it or not, keeping your air conditioning system in the best shape possible can go a long way towards reducing your overall dependence on it. A well-maintained A/C system is also one that requires less effort and less energy to deliver the cooling comfort your home requires.

If you have an older A/C system, you may want to consider replacing it with a newer and more energy efficient unit, preferably one with the Energy Star logo. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, making the switch to a high-efficiency air conditioner can reduce your energy usage by as much as 50 percent.

Close Those Curtains

Although your windows can bring in tremendous amounts of natural light, they can also introduce large amounts of heat into your home. As a result, you could find yourself using your air conditioning more often just to get rid of this additional heat. Fortunately, you can reduce your air conditioning usage simply by keeping your curtains closed, especially on windows that receive direct sunlight throughout the day. During the evening, you can open your curtains back up to let heat escape through the windows.

Put Your Ceiling Fans to Good Use

If you have ceiling fans in your home, you can use these to help reduce your air conditioning usage and save money in the process. Just make sure they're set to rotate in a counterclockwise direction. This way, your ceiling fans will push cool air towards the floor, making it easier to circulate cool air throughout your home while taking a load off your A/C system.

Ceiling fans can also reduce your A/C usage simply by taking advantage of the wind chill effect. In essence, the breeze generated by your ceiling fans can help you feel as much as 4 degrees cooler than actual temperatures suggest.

Reduce Incoming Heat with Window Screens and Other Shading

Keeping your windows shaded through the use of solar screens and other forms of window shading can help reduce your air conditioning burden even further. Solar screens are adept at intercepting the vast majority of the sun's solar energy before it has a chance to enter your home. Window films can also perform the same function, reducing the amount of solar energy that enters your home as heat.

High-efficiency windows with low-emissivity (low-E) coatings also perform an effective job at reducing solar gain and the resultant air conditioning usage. However, windows with low-E coatings can be prohibitively expensive for many households, especially in comparison to the potential air conditioning savings available.

For more information, contact a company like Apollo Heating & Air Conditioning.