5 Cost-Effective Ways to Boost Your Air Conditioner's Power
Battle the extreme summer heat without paying a premium price.
It's been so brutal this summer that you've likely felt tempted to turn your thermostat as low as it can go. Maybe you've even given in to get that sweet relief of cold air. It feels great, of course—until you get your electric bill in the mail. But you don't have to pay a premium price to fight the heat in your home. Talking to experts, we got the inside scoop on how people can increase the efficiency of their AC this summer without having to spend more money. Read on for five cost-effective ways you can boost your air conditioner's power.
Your air conditioner can benefit significantly from outside help. In order to boost its power without raising your energy bill, you should use your ceiling fans more often, according to Traci Fournier, an HVAC expert and the vice president of operations for One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning.
"The wind chill effect that ceiling fans create helps you feel comfortable without needing to adjust the thermostat, which is also a great strategy for cutting down on energy costs," Fournier explains. "Reverse the motor to move the blades in a counterclockwise rotation to create a breeze effect in the summer."
It's not just your ceiling fan that can provide aid, however. You can also utilize floor fans or exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom to help circulate the cool air from your AC, Josh Mitchell, an HVAC technician and owner of AirConditionerLab, says.
"Don't underestimate the power of a well-placed fan," he advises.
Purchase more plants.
Another good way to maximize your home's cooling? Add more greenery.
"Plants can block some of the sun that comes in from windows, which will keep rooms cooler throughout the day," Fournier says.
You can also plant trees or shrubs outside to add shade around your air conditioning unit, Mitchell adds.
"The shade helps keep your AC unit cooler, reducing the amount of work it needs to do to cool the air it draws in," he shares. "Just make sure to keep plants at least two to three feet away from the unit to ensure adequate airflow and easy access for maintenance."
Upgrade your thermostat.
Switching out your thermostat is an affordable upgrade that can really help cut down on your air conditioning costs without sacrificing its cooling ability.
Tom Allan, a heating, plumbing, and appliance expert who serves as the general manager of Easy Boilers, tells Best Life that he recommends everyone install a programmable thermostat—which could cost you as little as $20, depending on where you purchase it.
"With a programmable thermostat, you can set the temperatures according to when people are in the home or business, and turn down the system when no one is present," Allan says. "This will help reduce energy costs, while still providing consistent comfort when needed."
Reduce the use of certain appliances.
Make the conscious choice to not cook with your stove or oven during the hottest parts of the day this summer, Edmund Augustin, an appliance maintenance and repair technician at Fantastic Services, recommends.
As he explains, "If there's extra heat produced inside your house, your air conditioner will naturally be forced to work harder."
By reducing the use of major appliances that produce heat, you'll notice a significant difference in the cost of cooling for your home.
"Only use them at night when the temperatures are cooler," Augustin advises. "If you have to use them during the day, turn on the kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans to dissipate the heat."
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Change filters regularly.
One of the most cost-effective ways to boost your air conditioner's power is one many of us forget to do: change the filter.
"Keeping air filters clean helps your system work at its best and most efficiently, allowing it to reach its maximum cooling capacity," Jeff Ault, a virtual HVAC expert for Frontdoor, says.
Not only that, but neglecting this task can also strain your system and potentially damage it—leading to costly repairs, Augustin warns.
"So don't forget to regularly clean or replace the air filters," he says. "This should usually happen every one to three months, depending on how often you use the appliance."