Use a ceiling fan
It’s one thing to run an air conditioner in your room. But combine its power with a simple ceiling fan, and you can have the best of both worlds. Often costing less than a penny an hour to run, ceiling fans have an immediate impact on your domestic comfort once you buy and install them.
Get an Energy Star model
If your unit is more than nine years old, seriously consider replacing it. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, room air conditioners that are Energy Star certified are typically 13 percent more energy-efficient than standard models. Depending on how long you hold onto that new unit, you could save $99 or more over its lifetime in energy costs alone — a de facto rebate just for upgrading to an Energy Star model.
Consider central air
If you’re thinking about upgrading to central air, it’s easy to beat yourself up for being an energy hog or to get intimidated by the sticker price. Yes, it’s true that central units will use a lot more power than, say, a single window unit on each floor of a 2-story dwelling. But if you have more than two rooms to cool, then your best bet is to go with a central unit, which also provides long-term resale value for a home.
Get a programmable thermostat
It’s easy to think that buying a new air conditioner or two will solve all of your summer cooling problems. But your AC could use a little help. With central units, for example, a programmable timer or thermostat can save you about $180 every year in energy costs by regulating the temperature when you’re out of the house, and by turning on only when you return home.
Clean your air filters regularly
With window units, air filters get dirty, and fast. Clean your AC filter at least every month because a dirty filter makes your AC work harder and use more electricity. Regardless of the type or age of the unit, you should change your filters after every 90 days of use.
Block sunlight with drapes
What’s more, you’ll use less energy to cool down a room by keeping direct sunlight out during the day. Sunlight can raise the room temperature by 10 to 20 degrees. The less heat that gets into your home, the less you have to pay to remove it. It just so happens that drapes block sunlight and heat better than blinds.
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