If sweat drips from your brow as you walk through what can only be described as a wall of heat and humidity when you’re outside in the St. Louis metro area, you know it’s time to turn on your air conditioner. You know as soon as you do, you’ll find cooling relief indoors, but maybe a hefty electric bill in your mailbox, too.
It’s true that electricity isn’t cheap, but your summer electricity bills don’t have to be outrageous to keep temperatures comfortable in your home. You can take steps to lower your bill, by making small changes to your house or calling an air-conditioner repair specialist to make sure your equipment is in peak condition.
Here are five reasons your AC bill is too expensive, and what you can do to make it cheaper.
Annual air conditioner maintenance can help save money on your energy bill because it ensures your system is operating properly. Failing to maintain your system not only shortens its life, but it can increase your energy costs as much as 20 percent. Before it’s time to turn on your air conditioner, call an HVAC specialist to check out the health of your system.
An HVAC specialist might find troubling, but minor problems, like dirt on your AC evaporator coil, low refrigerant, or furnace blower wheels in need of cleaning. These issues are easy to fix but have a big effect on how well your AC operates.
Completing pre-season maintenance of your air conditioner on your own can save you time and money, too. You don’t have to be an expert to take care of the equipment. The Meyer Heating & Air blog includes a checklist you can follow to help keep your AC in prime working condition.
If you’re way past the air conditioner maintenance stage, you probably need an AC repair. But how can you tell for sure? You might hear abnormal noises, smell unusual odors, or suddenly feel miserably hot in your own home. Don’t put off calling to schedule an air conditioner repair. An HVAC company with 24-hour service, like Meyer Heating & Air, can come out right away to solve your problem.
You can do all the necessary air conditioner maintenance, but if your windows and doors are letting hot air in, your air conditioner is going to have to work harder to keep your house cool, driving up your bill. The same goes for uninsulated attics and walls.
Keep the cold air in by checking each window and door in your home. Do they open, close, and latch properly? Can you see light coming through gaps in the framing? Can you feel hot outdoor air blowing in? If you answered “no” to the first question and “yes” to the second and third, you have some work to do!
Start by repairing windows and doors so they fully close, lock, and sit tight in their frames. If you need to, you can add caulk or insulation strips around the edges of your doors and windows to seal gaps and cracks. Some utility providers will do this for you through a home energy audit, so check with your utility companies first, especially if you’re uncomfortable doing it yourself.
You might also learn your house does not have adequate insulation. This is actually a very common problem to have, so don’t fret. A home contractor can help you install additional insulation in your home’s attic and walls, which can help lower both your air conditioning and your heating costs. However, this isn’t always a helpful solution for the average homeowner due to substantial upfront costs.
We get it. You want to stay cool in your house during hot St. Louis summers. But, if you’re setting your thermostat to a chilly temperature even though you could still be comfortable at a warmer one, you’re unnecessarily driving up your energy bill.
Instead, air conditioner repair professionals recommend setting your thermostat to the warmest temperature you can, while still feeling comfortable. So, put your throw blanket away during the warmer months and turn up the temperature a few degrees instead.
Another cost-saving option is to purchase and install a programmable thermostat. These range in price from highly affordable to very expensive, so finding the best model for you can be a challenge. However, once you do, your cooling bills will probably drop. Why? Because you can tell a programmable thermostat what temperature to keep your house at any point of the day. For example, if you go to work or school during the day, you can tell your programmable thermostat to keep the house at a warmer temperature until it’s time for you to go back home. Then, you can tell your thermostat to cool your house down before you arrive, so that it’s already comfortable when you walk through the door.
After a rainy, cloudy spring, it’s such a relief to see the sun during the summer. You probably want to bask its brightness all the time. However, sunbathing is an outdoor-only activity when it comes to saving money on your air conditioning bill.
When the sun rises, getting higher in the sky throughout the day, it spends a significant portion of time shining straight into your house. The warmth from the sun then makes your house warmer, too, even with your air conditioning running. The extra warmth tells your air conditioner to work even harder and use more energy.
Luckily, the solution is simple: close your curtains and blinds during the day. Your house will stay cooler, and your AC won’t have to work overtime. Once the sun begins to set, you can open your curtains and blinds again.
If you don’t have curtains or blinds installed on your windows, consider getting some. Even simple pull-down shades can make a difference! You can make an even bigger impact on your cooling bill by choosing insulated curtains that are properly fitted to your home’s windows. They’ll block any leftover drafts or air leaks you might have missed during your DIY energy audit.
Older air conditioning units might not be as efficient as newer, more technologically advanced models. Although it does seem cheaper to continue to pay for air conditioner repairs, sometimes it makes sense to have a heating and cooling company like Meyer Heating & Air install a brand-new unit. According to the Department of Energy, even if your current air conditioner is just 10 years old, you may save up to 40 percent in cooling costs by replacing it with an updated, more efficient model.
Still need help with your air conditioner? Let Meyer Heating & Air help you. We’re your complete air conditioning and energy-saving experts in the greater St. Louis metropolitan area. Call us 24/7 at 314-845-1929, or request service online.
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