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Reducing Air Conditioner Energy Usage/Cooling On A Budget

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Air conditioners have to pass air through many tiny crevices in order to operate efficiently. Ensure that your filters are clean, as well as your condenser and evaporator fins. If any of the following parts are dirty, airflow may be compromised.

A clogged condenser with inadequate airflow may overheat, reduce its ability to dispel heat outside (decreasing efficiency), and damage the compressor. A congested evaporator may freeze, dramatically reducing efficiency and rendering your air conditioner a paperweight. Clearing an obstructed evaporator can reduce air conditioner power consumption.

The same applies to the filters. The condenser and evaporator are not user serviceable, so it’s highly recommended that you call a contractor to clean them for you.

Buy White Curtains To Reduce AC Energy Usage

White curtains can reflect a significant amount of hot sunlight back outside. Sunlight turns into heat after it enters your room, and having direct sunlight on you can make matters much worse.

Insulate Your House – The Most Effective Option For Reducing AC Energy Usage

Installing insulation can dramatically reduce air conditioner power consumption by keeping heat out. Inversely, household insulation can also reduce heater energy usage during winter by keeping the cold air outside from leeching the heat out of your house. Insulation operates by impeding the transfer of heat into or out of the house.

Insulation R-Value: The R-value of insulation is a measure of how effective it is. The higher the R-value, the greater the effect it will have on your electric bill.

Use A Fan

Buy a standing fan and point it at yourself. Turning up your air conditioner thermostat temperature will help you cool down. This is due to the evaporative cooling effect that fans provide. Only turn on the fan if you are going to compensate for its power consumption by turning up the thermostat temperature.

For large rooms, I would recommend a standing fan which is at least 16″, but no more than 20″ to keep noise levels and power consumption down. If you don’t point the fan at yourself, it won’t be very helpful. If you don’t like having a fan blow on you all the time, set it to oscillate. The energy usage of the fans in the range I recommended is usually 50-100 watts.

For smaller rooms, there are desk fans well under 16″ (you’ll most often see 8″ ones), which may be adequate if you use them on your desk (right beside you) as intended, or if your room is just slightly too warm. I find these convenient because I can just pick them up and carry them to whichever room i’m going to.

Awnings Reduce Air Conditioner Energy Usage

A sturdy awning installation can block quite a bit of sunlight, which would otherwise heat up your house quite a bit. This can significantly reduce the load on your air conditioner, hence lowering your electric bill.

Point The A/C Vent At Yourself, And Turn Up The Thermostat Temperature

This worked incredibly well for me. Pointing the A/C vent at yourself is a way to take advantage of the energy-efficient evaporative cooling effect that fans provide. If you do that then A/C unit will dedicate a greater percentage of its capacity to cooling you, rather than wasting it on the furniture in the room.

This is one of the riskier options, so do it at your own risk. Please keep the unit clean for your safety.

Use The Highest Thermostat Temperature You’re Comfortable With

Increase the temperature on your thermostat as much as you comfortably can. The lower it is, the longer the unit has to stay on to maintain that temperature. If you’re using an inverter unit, then a lower thermostat settings increases power usage, the faster the compressor has to pump refrigerant, increasing power consumption. You could waste 8% more energy for every degree Fahrenheit you turn your AC thermostat temperature down below 78 °F.

Cool Only The Areas You Need To

If you have a unit in every room, or central A/C, it may be tempting to keep the house cool, but that is costly. Try to turn on the A/C only in the room that you’re currently in. Also, don’t turn it on in a room you’ll only be in for a few minutes, because the energy that went into cooling it off would go to waste.

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Further Reading

Save money on cooling with these tips.

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