5 Tips that Help Air Conditioners Use Less Energy so You Pay Lower Utility Bills

Published on: August 30, 2012

The energy used by air conditioners to cool homes accounts for a large percentage of each home’s energy costs. When air conditioners use less energy, homeowners pay lower utility bills. Energy efficiency is becoming even more important as energy costs continue to rise. Conserving energy is also important because more people are becoming environmentally aware and they seek to reduce their impact on the environment.

Many steps may be taken to lower you energy costs by making you air conditioner cool your home more efficiently. Here are five tips that will reduce the energy that air conditioners use and help homeowners save money on their monthly utility bills. Homeowners can increase energy efficiency and keep their homes cooler by employing these five, easy-to-do steps.


1.) Take showers, wash and dry clothes and use the oven early in the morning or during the evening hours.

All of these activities warm the home and release humidity into the air. Humid air feels warmer than dry air. Air conditioners must work harder to cool the home when the oven is on or clothes are drying in the dryer. Even washing clothes releases moisture into the air, causing the air to become more humid. If you shower, do laundry and bake or broil in the oven during the morning hours or after dark, these activities put less demand on your AC system. The AC system’s energy efficiency will improve as the unit keeps the home cool without the extra demand during the warmest hours of the day. Increased energy efficiency means lower utility bills.


2.) Block the windows that face the sun with curtains, blinds or sun-deflecting film.

During the times of the day when sun hits certain windows in your home, heat enters the home and increases the load on your air conditioner. If you block windows facing the sun, where direct sunlight enters the home in the morning or afternoon hours, your air conditioner will not need to work as hard to cool the home. The cooling efficiency of the unit is increased, as well as the energy efficiency of the unit. As you increase the efficiency of the unit, your utility bill will be lower.

Sun-deflecting film may be purchased from a home improvement store. This film is inexpensive and will allow you to keep the blinds and curtains open during the warmest times of the day, while still conserving energy by blocking the sun.


3.) Make sure filters for your air conditioner are cleaned and replaced on a regular basis.

Clean filters allow air to freely flow into and out of the AC system. Your air conditioner relies on air flow to successfully cool the home. When filters are clogged or dirty, the air flow is negatively affected and the efficiency of the unit is reduced. When the efficiency of the unit is reduced, the unit runs more frequently to achieve the temperature set on the thermostat. The more the unit runs, the more energy the system uses to cool the home.

Changing or cleaning air conditioning unit filters is an easy and inexpensive way to improve the efficiency of your AC system. Check the owners manual for your unit to find out the type of filters that are recommended for your unit. You might also ask your HVAC service technician to recommend a filter that will help your unit remain energy efficient and effectively keep your home cool.


4.) Use fans to generate breezes throughout the home.

HVAC professionals recommend that homeowners supplement their air conditioning system with ceiling fans and large fans throughout the home. Fans circulate the cooled air and generate cooling breezes throughout the home. Cool air produced by the AC unit is moved about the home, creating a cooler, more comfortable environment. Using fans along with a central air conditioning unit will make the AC system cool the home more efficiently and will contribute to lowering your utility bill.


5.) Have your AC system tuned up on an annual basis.

An annual AC tune-up is important for keeping your system performing well and avoiding costly repairs. HVAC companies often offer their clients preventative plans that include an annual tune-up of their AC systems. Having your AC unit regularly maintained is an important aspect of keeping your unit energy efficient. During an AC system tune-up, the technician cleans various parts of the system, checks the air flow and replaces refrigerant, if necessary. The technician will also inspect several components of the system and evaluate whether critical components may soon need replacement. Most HVAC professionals recommend that AC units have a tune-up in the spring of each year to prepare for heavy use of the system during the hot summer months. Check with your HVAC company to see if they offer AC system maintenance plans that include annual tune-ups for the unit.