Short answer: Probably not. You can lower them.
Long answer: Running an air conditioning system in a Florida summer, when it’s hot and humid, often gets expensive. The compressor, which is the heart of an AC system, uses a large amount of electricity when it turns on—much more than running the HVAC system fan alone. After a few mild months at the beginning of the year, you can expect to see electrical bills climb because your household air conditioner has gotten down to work.
But those bills are most likely higher than they should be. There are multiple ways that an AC can consume excess power and become inefficient, and some may be from simple errors. Others require professional air conditioning services in Alachua, FL. We’ll take a look at some ways to lower those steep air conditioning costs.
Remember: maintenance, maintenance, maintenance
We can’t emphasize this enough. One of the leading causes of air conditioning systems losing efficiency and pushing up electrical costs is that they haven’t received annual professional maintenance. These tune-ups, which only take around two hours, prevent an air conditioner from losing 5% of its energy efficiency each year. If you haven’t had your AC maintained for the last few years, you may be paying 20%–24% more to run it than you should.
Change the air filter regularly
This is another one of the basic mistakes people make with their ACs that cause electrical drain. The air filter for the AC isn’t to protect air quality, but people often assume it is and therefore don’t think much about it. It’s actually there to protect the interior of the AC. If it becomes clogged, it puts a drag on the airflow through the air handler. The blower motor must work harder, resulting in more expensive operation. We recommend changing the air filter during the summer every 1–3 months, and always start the season with a fresh filter.
Raise the thermostat instead of lowering it
Misusing the thermostat can mean paying too much for comfort that isn’t all that comfortable. The best way to conserve energy with the thermostat is to raise it as high as you are comfortable with. The reason for this is that the closer the indoor and outdoor temperature are, the slower heat will enter the home. Dropping the temperature down low (below 70°F) doesn’t cool the home any faster, but it does let it heat up faster. Putting the thermostat at a steady 78°F during the day when people are home is an ideal temperature for most people’s comfort and reduces heat gain so the AC will need to run less.
“Fan only” mode is your friend!
You can turn off the compressor for the AC entirely and have the blower fan circulate air without cooling it. On warm days, these air currents through the rooms are often enough to help you stay cool, since they remove the heat from around your body. If the temperature outdoors is below 78°F, leave the AC off. Switch on the fan mode, turn on any ceiling fans in rooms where there are people, and open up the windows to allow in fresh air. Your AC will appreciate the break—and you’ll appreciate how that affects your electric bills.
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