Having a window air conditioner, or even a good fan, can make even the hottest day more comfortable, but if you are not careful those units can also run up your utility bills. There are ways to reduce the energy consumption of both air conditioners and fans, and it is important to learn those tips and tricks before the hot summer months arrive.
The choice of air conditioner can make a big difference in the utility bills you have to pay. Choosing a model based on its energy efficiency as well as its purchase price can save you a lot of money in the long run. It is often better to spend a little more up front on an energy efficient model you can more than make up the difference in the energy you will save.
Look for an air conditioner with variable fan speeds. That flexibility allows you to choose the amount of cooling you need reducing energy usage and saving you money. Variable-speed air conditioners also run more quietly, so you will not be disturbed by the whir of the fan.
Try to install the window unit in as central a location as possible. If you can, choose the window that is closest to the center of the room. This will allow the air to flow more freely and cool the entire room or group of rooms more efficiently. Choosing an area out of direct sunlight will also help the air conditioner run more efficiently and use less energy. Be sure to seal up any gaps between the side and top of the unit and the window. This will reduce energy leakage and keep that cool air where it belongs in your home.
Once that unit is in place, consider adding a simple timer to cool the room only when needed. Set the timer to turn the air conditioner off when you leave home in the morning and back on just before you get back in the evening.
Be sure to close the fresh air vent whenever the air conditioner is running. The fresh air vent allows air to flow in from outside, which is great when the unit is turned off. If you leave it on, however, you are literally paying to cool the outside world.
You can reduce your cooling costs further by using fans in conjunction with your window air conditioners. A fan can circulate the cool air and allow you to set the air conditioner at a higher temperature. Oscillating fans are particularly good at moving air around the home.
Ceiling fans are also great either in addition to the air conditioner or as a replacement. Set the ceiling fan to bring the air down into the room you will likely notice a change in comfort level right away. When the hot summer months are over, setting the ceiling fan to move air toward the ceiling can reduce your heating costs and keep the house more comfortable.
Consider adding a whole house fan for even more comfort and lower energy costs. A whole house fan is designed to be mounted in the attic, and it ventilates the entire home at once. You will need to open a few windows before turning the whole house fan on, but once it is going it can really make a difference. You may even be able to turn your air conditioner off until the temperature gets extremely high.
Using these tips can let you keep your home comfortable and cool all summer long and let you save money at the same time. You can reduce your summer energy costs will still keeping your home and your family comfortable and cool all season long.