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Avoiding Air Conditioning Bill Shock this Summer

air conditioning bill shock

Summer time. Sunny weather, not a cloud in the sky. Not only is it time to enjoy the beach, but it’s also that time where air conditioning becomes your best friend. Remember last summer? The house was cool, but your wallet not so much! So how can you avoid an air conditioning induced bill shock this summer?

Here are 7 super ways you can not only keep your house cool, but your wallet cool too and avoid the air conditioning bill shock this summer.

  • Keep the set temperature between 23° and 25°. It might seem logical, the lower the temperature you set your air conditioner to (set point) the cooler it will be. However, when the outside temperature far exceeds the set point, the air conditioner may never be able to achieve that. For example, if the outside temperature is 35° and the set point is 19° the air conditioner will be working at maximum speed to cool the house down, but may never achieve it. Doing so means the air conditioner is using a lot of energy, contributing to your larger than expected energy bill. We recommend a set point between 23° and 25° to not only a cool house, but ensure you have an efficiently running air conditioner.

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  • Clean the inside air filter. A clogged filter will dramatically affect the air conditioner’s ability to cool. The air filter is located in the return air grill (on ducted air conditioners) and at the front of the split system air conditioners. The filter works to trap and collect dust and debris (among other things) so that the air conditioner can deliver cool, conditioned air throughout your home. When the filter is clogged, the air cannot pass through as freely, and with lower air quantities the air conditioners capacity will reduce significantly. Cleaning or replacing the filter will not only improve the air conditioner’s efficiency, it will also ensure you and your family are breathing only clean, conditioned air.
  • Ensure there are no obstructions that surround the outdoor unit’s air flow. The outdoor unit is the big-box shaped object located outside of your home for your air conditioning system. This is found on both ducted and split system air conditioners. The outdoor unit induces warm outside air into the back of the unit, and as part of the cooling cycle, it then discharges the now even hotter air from the front of the outdoor unit. When either the intake side, or the discharge side of this outdoor unit is obstructed, or boxed in, it is essentially “recycling its own air” causing the system to work harder and harder, and eventually overheating and tripping out. Keep the outdoor unit free from plants, boxes, fences and other debris to ensure effective operation and safety.
  • Only open the zones that you’re using at the moment. This one only applies to ducted air conditioners that have the zone functionality. You wouldn’t leave lights on during the day when no one is home, right? So why leave the air conditioning on in rooms no one is using for an extended period of time? With your zone system, you have the ability to turn off and on the air flow to separate rooms throughout your house. Only open the zones to rooms you’re using at that point in time, and leave the others off, and close those same rooms’ doors. You’ll be able to stay cooler for less running cost as the airflow and the available capacity will be concentrated into a smaller area.
  • Open a door or window as soon as you turn the air conditioner on. This one is mainly aimed at split system air conditioners. If the room temperature is excessive (30 degrees plus) as soon as you turn your air conditioner on, open a door or window at either side of the room. This encourages air circulation and the rapid flushing out of the room’s heat. Do this only for the first 5 minutes or so. This fresh air flow will assist the system dramatically when cooling, by reducing the heat load. Just be sure to close them after 5 minutes to keep the cool air in.
  • Keep the sun out during the day. During the day, keep the direct sun light out by closing blinds and curtains at all times. This will make sure the heat from the sun isn’t allowed inside the house. When the sun is blocked out, the temperature of the room won’t rise as quickly, meaning it won’t be as hot when you come home in the evening.
  • Use the air conditioners timer function. Most modern air conditioners have a timer function. Set this before you leave in the morning, so that the air conditioner cycles itself on before you arrive home. This means you arrive home to a cool house, and the air conditioner can run at an efficient speed. Do the reverse at night, set the timer to turn off the air conditioner after a few hours. Some split system air conditioners may have a special “Sleep Function“. This raises the set temperature by 1 degree after an hour, and turns off the system after 5 hours.