This is the category page for Economy where I look at the ways in which an air conditioning system can be run using less electricity by employing some simple tactics that can prove to be very effective at lowering costs.
Keeping a home cool in summer is not without its costs and air conditioning is certainly a big one. With ever rising energy prices that will probably never go down, it gets ever more expensive to run a large, central AC system in a home.
Even running smaller installations such as zone cooling using individual mini-split units in each room or smaller window or portable units cost a lot of money when those units are running constantly day and night. Often, they are overloaded through setting the thermostat too low and expecting the AC to lower the temperature so much the occupants need to put on sweaters because they are too cold!
However, there are some solutions that just about anyone can make use of to help reduce the energy load on their home's AC system and ultimately save money on subsequent energy bills. Here's how:
It's no great secret that the best way to reduce an air conditioning system's running costs is to set the thermostat in the right position. It's all too common for people to believe that to keep them cool, the thermostat should be set far lower than is necessary.
Too many homes are colder than they need to be because the thermostat has been set as much as ten degrees lower than is really necessary to be comfortable. This error is common because that small device on the wall is misunderstood.
A thermostat simply tells the AC equipment that it is to keep working until the temperature in the home matches what it is set to. Setting it lower than is needed does NOT force the AC system to work harder to make it cooler, faster!
All it does is keep the system drawing electricity to force the air temperature down to match the thermostat setting. It will keep doing that until the temperature is reached then it will shut off. As the temperature naturally begins to rise, the system is turned back on until the setting is reached once again.
It will keep cycling that way to maintain the temperature set on the thermostat.
If that temperature is a lot lower than is comfortable, the occupants of the house will feel cold. Common sense will tell you that is an absurd way to be when the temperature outside is high and everything feels hot and uncomfortable.
The sensible solution is to set the thermostat to a ″comfortable″ temperature and let the AC work at maintaining it. After all, you want to be comfortable in your home: not too hot and not too cold!
By setting it around say 72-75°F you'll find that's a comfortable temperature at any time of the year. During winter, you'd naturally set the heating to make it comfortable and not too hot and that's about the right temperature all-year round.
At that temperature in summer, the AC system will use much less electricity because it can shut itself off sooner and for longer throughout the day and night. A 10 degree difference in thermostat setting can make a world of difference.
That can represent a substantial saving when the utility bill arrives on your doorstep.
Hopefully, that simple yet effective tip will help you to save money and economize without compromising comfort during the hot summer months.
Something that can also help is knowing when to use a portable air conditioner and where for the best cooling efficiency. Sometimes a little trial and error needs to be employed to find that sweet spot in a room where the unit can deliver the maximum cooling and avoid losing some efficiency through obstacles or partial obstructions to air flow.
Another highly effective way to reduce energy bills if you live in an area that has low humidity levels is to opt for an evaporative cooling solution comprising several individual units often referred to as swamp coolers or ventless air conditioners. This option works surprisingly well to keep a space cool in summer as long as the local atmosphere is relatively dry as is often found in desert or semi desert areas typical of many of the western states in the US.
If you want to know more about the most economical and sensible ways to cool your home or work place, I have published several related articles on this topic to compliment this introductory post.
Below you will find a list of all published posts in this section:
- Using a Swamp Cooler in Winter
- Keeping Cool in the Tool Shed Cheaply
- Keeping Nice and Cool for Less
- Is Your Attic Space Insulated?