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Saving Money on Air Conditioning

How to save money on air conditioning, energy bills  and utilities from Eve of Reduction

Staying cool is very expensive. According to statistics from the US Department of Energy, cooling represents up to 70% of the summer monthly home energy bill in homes in warmer climates.

It is therefore necessary to seek sustainable ways to reduce your cooling energy consumption in the long term particularly if you are living in an area with warmer climate.

Some of the ways to reduce your cooling energy bill include:

  1. Using a programmable thermostat

If you have a central thermostat that is controlled by a thermostat, you should use a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat enables you to determine the temperature set point on your air conditioner.

With the thermostat, you should set the air conditioner to the highest temperature you are comfortable with during hot days. Giving up a degree or two helps you lower your bill considerably in the long term.

Timer thermostats also come in handy as they enable you to turn the air conditioner off a few minutes before leaving for work and on just before you get home from work. This helps you avoid wasting energy cooling an empty house.

Window air conditioners, despite consuming relatively less energy, also need plug in timers.

  1. Clean the air filter regularly

For both central and window units, dirty filters reduce the efficiency of an air consumer by increasing its load and causing it to consume more energy. It is therefore crucial that you regularly check and clean your filters.

Window filters get dirty faster and should be cleaned every month and replaced after at least every three months.

  1. Replace your old air conditioner

Traditional central air conditioners (15 years and older) use considerably more energy than newer ones. Newer models have higher SEER (Seasonal Energy-Efficiency Ratios) ratings than the older models. Newer models also have energy- saving features such as

By replacing a central air conditioner with a SEER rating of 10 with one with the recommended rating of 13, one cuts up to 50% on the energy consumption.

When buying a new central air conditioner it is important to keep in mind that bigger is not always better. Irrespective of its size, a good air conditioner should have an energy rating of 14 or higher for areas with warmer climate.

Air conditioners with good energy ratings pay for themselves in the long term in the form of a substantial; reduction in the energy bill.

  1. Using renewable energy to cool your home

Though relatively costly to install, solar micro-generation systems are easily sustainable in the long term. Solar energy, particularly in areas with relatively warmer climates would come in especially handy in cooling the house.

With utility companies helping with the installation and equipment, solar panels are easy to set up and maintain and come at no additional monthly cost after the upfront costs are dealt with. You can also manage your electricity usage so that less money is spent there. In some parts of the country, you can even choose your power provider. States like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas (among others) have deregulated their energy industries which allows companies to compete on price and services offered. If you are lucky enough to live in Texas or another deregulated state, take some time to compare your local electricity companies to find great rates and green products.

  1. Clothe your windows

Solar screens help intercept up to 790% of the sun’s rays before they get into the house. The US Department of Energy reports that solar screens are especially effective when used on east and west facing windows.

For as little as $15 you can get solar screens for your windows on Amazon.

How do you save on your energy bills?

I’m Cristin Frank (AKA Eve). I love all things frugal and crafty. My mindset is always on upcycling, repurposing, reducing waste and saving money – and Eve of Reduction is my roadmap. You might also want to check out my book, "Living Simple, Free & Happy."

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53 Responses to Saving Money on Air Conditioning

  1. Lilly Sedrick May 18, 2015 at 4:00 pm #

    Air conditioning can definitely be kind of expensive, but it is definitely worth it. However, I think that you should try to be able to get the best deal on it as possible. It is really interesting that old air conditioners use a lot more energy than newer air conditioning systems. However, this definitely makes sense seeing as the newer machines are more advanced and developed. I would love to be able to get a new air conditioning system in my home.

    • Donna August 18, 2016 at 4:55 pm #

      A lot of time people try to buy the biggest and best ac on the market. it sounds great in theory the problem is that if you own a small home you might not need the best. you might get a unit that kicks on and off all the time because it is too big. That is going to waste money a lot. I sounds weird but you just do not need the biggest and best when it comes to this. Do not let a contractor sell you something. talk to a few contractors first.

  2. Guy Gardener May 22, 2015 at 10:05 am #

    I have heard a lot about those programmable thermostats mentioned in number one. I was thinking about getting one, but had no idea where to start looking. Do you know of stores that sell good ones for a good price?

    • Eve May 22, 2015 at 10:08 am #

      We got ours at either Lowes or Home Depot. It’s a Honeywell brand. Hope that helps!

  3. Johnny May 22, 2015 at 2:59 pm #

    Clothing my windows with solar screens is something I have never considered before. I didn’t realize that there were other things I could do to help with heating and cooling costs besides getting a new HVAC unit. This is something I can easily look more into. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Keara Littner May 26, 2015 at 7:50 pm #

    It’s actually good to know that air conditioners that are over 15 years old are much less energy efficient than newer ones. I’m pretty sure that my system is at least that old, so I might have to look into replacing it in the next few weeks. It’d be nice to go into summer with a system that’s much more efficient.

  5. Skylar Mitchell May 28, 2015 at 1:46 pm #

    Since it got much warmer for summer, I have been noticing that my air conditioning costs a lot to run. I am worried that it is just because my unit is so old. I am fairly certain that this is the problem because it is probably older than fifteen years. I would really like to start looking for a newer model that is more energy efficient. If I were able to find a nice replacement, I am sure that would really help with my energy bills. Thanks for the great post!

  6. celine June 22, 2015 at 3:01 pm #

    I think I skip tip number two too frequently when you suggest to regularly change the air filters in your air conditioner. It’s been many years since we’ve even checked, so I think our air filter being clogged is a huge contributing factor to the wasted energy each month. I’m so glad that you helped me realize that we need to keep up with proper maintenance every few months so that our money isn’t going down the drain when we aren’t even enjoying it fully! Now, do you have some instructions or videos on how to change the air filter?
    http://www.pennyplumbing.com/air-conditioning-repair/
    celine recently posted…Want To Keep Your Energy Bill Lower?My Profile

  7. Megan June 24, 2015 at 9:23 am #

    Thanks for these tips for saving money on air conditioning! That’s definitely been on my mind since summer is finally here. I always end up wasting so much money trying to keep my house cool. I really like the idea of using a programmable thermostat; I might have to invest in one of those. It would be nice to be able to control the exact temperature of my house. Great post!

  8. Ava Laurie July 1, 2015 at 8:00 pm #

    The programmable thermostats are great! They can really save you money when you are not home. One thing that would be cool to have, is a thermostat that is tracked with your phone when you are getting close to your house. For those hot days when you are about and about and want to come home to a nice cool house. http://www.airconomic.com.au/residential/services/

  9. Brandon Roberts July 7, 2015 at 8:34 am #

    Just the other day, I got my air conditioning bill, and for some reason, it skyrocketed. I have no idea what is going on with it. I’ll make sure I find someone to come and get it out, but I want to start doing more things to help me save a little money. And while I was looking through this website, it gave me a ton of different things I could be doing. Thanks a ton for the tips! I am sure they are going to help me out a ton.

  10. Jess @ Best Credit Cards Canada July 20, 2015 at 7:11 pm #

    I have never heard of solar screens for windows, this is a great tip! We are currently dealing with a heat wave in our city and late last week, we caved and turned the AC on. I have to admit it is such a relief but I hate what it does financially and environmentally. As a compromise, we are trying to keep it turned down while we’re out in the day and mostly use it at night so it’s easier to sleep!
    Jess @ Best Credit Cards Canada recently posted…How to Use a Credit Card ResponsiblyMy Profile

  11. bryan flake July 21, 2015 at 2:07 pm #

    I am really glad that you mentioned the importance of cleaning your air filter. In our home, we typically let it go until we start to smell dust and dirt in the air. Maybe that is a bad thing. At least I know now from your article that three months is the marker point of when I need to have the mindset to change the filter.

  12. Gerald Vonberger July 23, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

    It’s really helpful to know about the SEER rating system so I can know whether or not I need to replace my AC unit. It seems like most people just leave the system installed until it breaks down. I think it’s worth the money saved on energy to have it replaced regularly. I also like what you said about a bigger unit not always being better. That’s definitely a good thing to keep in mind, especially if you’re energy-efficiency minded.

  13. Air Conditioning Maintenance NJ July 26, 2015 at 8:33 pm #

    It is important to regularly have a maintenance on your HVAC systems to keep it safe and secure.

  14. Insulation Industries Warehouse August 11, 2015 at 8:04 pm #

    It is really important to clean your filter regularly. I missed this one with our air condition and I never thought it can raise our bill that much. Now I have learned my lesson. Doing it every two month.
    Insulation Industries Warehouse recently posted…UV Safety MonthMy Profile

  15. Meg Lund August 12, 2015 at 4:15 pm #

    My air conditioner hasn’t been showing the most quality results lately. It is a fairly old unit, however, so I was thinking that it might be time to replace it. You suggest that units that are 15 years or older, use more energy and generally need time to be replaced. This confirms my intuition that my unit needs to be replaced. Thank you for the insight!

  16. Emily Smith August 13, 2015 at 9:35 am #

    Eve, my husband and I just moved to a state that is a lot hotter than we are used to. We are going to need to use our air conditioner a lot more but still want to have a reasonably priced bill. I didn’t know that an old air conditioning unit could be less energy effective. The unit is a bit old, maybe we will have to replace ours.

  17. AC maintenance Maplewood NJ August 23, 2015 at 8:33 pm #

    Regular maintenance on your system will prolong the life of your air conditioning unit by preventing major breakdowns. Checking the system for any wear on the pump, belts and other parts allows you to keep the system running at peak performance.

  18. Brandon Roberts August 24, 2015 at 5:49 pm #

    I really appreciate you talking about this, and giving me some great tips on how to save on an air conditioner. My cooling costs have been going up lately, and I really need to start doing some things to reduce them. So I really think that when I start doing the tips you talked about, that it will help me out a ton.

  19. Air Conditioning Maintenance Fairfield NJ September 20, 2015 at 9:39 pm #

    Great tips. There’s probably hundreds of ways to save some money. My opinion would be on regular maintenance to know some parts that needs to be replaced. There are types of AC’s also that inverts power to save energy. These tips are really helpful.

  20. Veronika Dalton September 21, 2015 at 4:29 pm #

    Uh oh… you just reminded me that it’s been about 8 months since we changed our air filter. I bet it’s going to be quite gross. Why is this so hard to remember? It’s so important!

  21. Em J September 29, 2015 at 6:48 pm #

    Eve, my husband and I have been trying to come up with some ways we can save a little extra money this year. The tip about making sure we regularly clean the air filters in the air conditioning unit seems like a good idea. We will have to keep that in mind!

  22. Drew October 13, 2015 at 2:13 pm #

    You could save a lot of money if you know the difference between when it’s time to repair your unit, and when it’s time to buy a new one all together. A new system can save you hundreds on your bill by increasing efficiency and also save you money on repairs. Thanks so much for sharing!
    Drew recently posted…Hello world!My Profile

    • Eve October 13, 2015 at 2:50 pm #

      Great point, thank you!

  23. bryan flake October 19, 2015 at 4:54 pm #

    I figured that cooling the home was a huge portion of utility bills for homes. Simply knowing that the cooling constitutes 70% of home energy bills helps a person know just how important it is to get their air running correctly. There is no worse feeling than having a system run a less than 100% speed. With that scenario, you really get a feel for things being a waste of money.

  24. Jason Strong October 22, 2015 at 4:18 pm #

    My wife and I have been having some issues with our AC unit lately and we aren’t sure why. We are doing all that we can to figure this out, but so far nothing we have looked into has worked. I hope that this can help us figure this all out.

  25. AC maintenance Fairfield NJ October 25, 2015 at 9:51 pm #

    It is important to regularly have a maintenance on your Air Conditioning to keep it safe and secure.

  26. jamesrod214 November 9, 2015 at 4:52 pm #

    I never knew that you could save money by cleaning the air filter. I haven’t replaced my own filter for quite some time now. From what the article says, I’m going to have to do it a lot more often. What are the side effects of not cleaning the your air filter?

  27. EmberJ November 12, 2015 at 3:53 pm #

    Thank you for the tip on using a thermostat that you can program. We’be been meaning to get one that will hook up to our air conditioning unit, but haven’t gotten around to it. I’ll have to share this page with my husband so we can discuss getting one!

  28. John Anderson November 16, 2015 at 11:35 pm #

    Lately I have been hearing more and more about programmable thermostats. I have not seen one in person, but I think I have an idea of how they work. I like that I can set the temp to rise, and fall at certain times of the day. I would have to turn the air or heat off when I left, and on when I came home. This sounds so much easier.

  29. EmberJ November 17, 2015 at 2:21 pm #

    Thank you for the tip on solar screens. My air conditioner broke recently and we didn’t realize what a difference that it made. My husband and I are trying to find ways to stay cool and reduce the energy we use before we get everything repaired.

  30. Air Conditioning Repair Cedar Grove NJ November 18, 2015 at 9:11 am #

    An air conditioner clogged with debris from a dirty air filter won’t operate efficiently. Your unit will need to work harder to produce less cooling, an unpleasant situation for your wallet. When you change the air filters on a regular basis, you’ll notice that your unit cools your home faster, which reduces the amount of time it has to run. Over time, an air conditioner that doesn’t have to work as hard will last longer with fewer repairs, too.

  31. Jenn December 1, 2015 at 3:59 pm #

    We just replaced our air conditioning unit this fall. There was a nice promotion going on. I’m really looking forward to next summer to see how dramatic the difference is from our old unit’s utilities. Oh, and thank you for the reminder to change the filter! We are about 2 months overdue…

  32. June Robinson December 9, 2015 at 5:44 pm #

    I really appreciate this information on how to save money on air conditioning. It is interesting to me that you point out that clothing your windows can help keep costs low because it intercepts the sun’s rays. I imagine it would be really important to find an HVAC contractor that will help you with these things as well. Thanks for the information!

  33. Bennett Fischer December 10, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

    I’ve been paying quite a bit of money for my cooling bill lately, and I have no idea how to fix that. This being said, I really appreciate you giving me some insight about air conditioners, and letting me know of a few different ways I can best save. I can’t wait to follow your tips and see how much they help me save. Thanks a ton Eve for all your help.

  34. Veronica Marks December 29, 2015 at 2:15 pm #

    I didn’t realize that newer air conditioners have such higher efficiency than the old kind. It makes me wonder how much energy we are wasting with our current unit. I know it’s pretty old, especially since we bought our home ten years ago and haven’t replaced it. Is there a way to know how much energy the air conditioner is specifically using?

  35. Adam Bockler December 30, 2015 at 6:10 pm #

    You make a great point about making sure that you check and clean your air conditioner’s filters on a regular basis. This will help to ensure that your AC works efficiently and will minimize repairs. However, if you do find your cooling bill is higher than normal, call an AC repair company. You might need to recharge your AC unit’s refrigerant.

  36. Drew January 13, 2016 at 12:20 pm #

    Great advice for saving money on air conditioning. Using curtains to contain some of the heat is definitely a good start. Thanks for the great tips.

  37. Violet Sullivan January 19, 2016 at 4:28 pm #

    I didn’t realize that getting a new air conditioning unit could cut energy use by up to 50%. I’ve been thinking of getting mine repaired for a while now. I think I’ll just get a new one with a SEER rating of 13 instead so that I can save more money in the long run.

  38. Laurie January 28, 2016 at 5:55 pm #

    I love my programmable thermostat, it’s great. Changing filters on a regular basis is a good thing – I do every 2-3 months. However, sometimes your A/C unit may need a good cleaning or a recharge. Your AC company can take a look and service it for you.

  39. Cindy Hoffman January 29, 2016 at 12:34 am #

    Hi there Eve, those are some nice tips there. We have been serious about cutting down our crazy electricity bills lately as it seems to be increasing with time. The initial cost of installing solar panels and air conditioners seem high but after weighing in options and reading a lot, we realize that it may be cheap in the long run, so its something that we are into at the moment. Thanks a lot for sharing this with us.

    Cindy
    Cindy Hoffman recently posted…Why Every Industrial Business Should Have the Right Thermal Professional on Speed DialMy Profile

  40. Westly Smith February 8, 2016 at 4:57 pm #

    I like your tip to clean the air filter regularly. Even though it’s something simple, a lot of people don’t do it. Just the other day I was talking to my neighbor, and he hasn’t changed his filter in years. I’m going to give him your advice and tell him to clean it regularly.

  41. Sarah Anderson February 9, 2016 at 12:19 pm #

    Number three is a good one to keep in mind when thinking about your air conditioner. Getting a new one will end up saving you more money in the long run, and this can be said for a lot of other home appliances as well. Researching the average lifespans for things before they start to be inefficient is a good way to see when you should replace things.

  42. Kayla Rogers March 8, 2016 at 3:32 pm #

    I had no idea fifteen year old air conditioners were considered older. I’ll have to look into getting a more energy efficient air conditioner. Plus, if I were to install one of those, I would definitely save more money each month on my energy bill, and help out the environment at the same time!

  43. Elden Gatley March 14, 2016 at 11:07 am #

    I agree that you should clean the air filter regularly. I think neglecting to do so is bound to lower your energy efficiency. It may also fill your air with harmful pollutants.

  44. Abélia August 5, 2016 at 3:38 pm #

    Thanks for this useful article on saving money on air conditioning. My A/C bill is way too high for comfort. I will look into getting a programmable thermostat for my unit. It’s good to know that dirty air filters reduce the efficiency of the unit as well. I’ll have to clean that more often.

  45. Ilidan September 4, 2016 at 10:46 pm #

    I am glad to read such an informative post. I’d be more grateful whenever you post some more informational post here on your blog. I’ll better keep an eye for it. Thanks for sharing such a great post.

  46. Mehul @ IceCOLD2 September 6, 2016 at 3:14 am #

    Nice article Eve,

    The American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), discovered that Oil Fouling, of the heat transfer surfaces of all HVAC systems, will cause a loss of efficiency that continues to accumulate during the life of the system. An insulating barrier of oil, on heat transfer surfaces, means that your equipment works harder, runs longer and consumes more energy. There are lots of products available in open market to reduce your cost and make it more energy efficient.

    Thanks for sharing and inspiring.. Keep Sharing..
    Mehul @ IceCOLD2 recently posted…Global Refrigerated Warehouse Capacity Grows Amid Emerging Market GainsMy Profile

  47. rollstonscott December 6, 2016 at 11:56 pm #

    Hey Eve !!

    It’s been great to read such blog. I really like your blog.A heat wave assaults the senses. There’s the feel of extreme warmth, the smell of perspiration and the sight of air almost seeming to bend in sizzling temperatures.
    And what’s that you’re hearing? It’s your air conditioner running and the sound of your bank account drying up.Heating and air conditioning your home account for almost half of your home’s energy use, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

    Keep sharing

    Warm regards

  48. Ryan Anthony March 16, 2017 at 7:27 am #

    Hi
    Great Post!
    I really appreciate your article.I’m glad that you mentioned about the bills. I tend to be a bit paranoid, but it’s good to know that some sounds are common and not a problem, though I’m surprised that a wheezing AC is normal. It’s also good to know that the HVAC system should kick on immediately. My childhood house’s HVAC system always took a few seconds to kick in, so I thought it was normal, so that knowledge may have prevented future incidents with my system.
    It is a big concern for every homeowner. This article seems really helpful.Thanks for this valuable knowledge. Keep sharing posts like this.
    Ryan Anthony recently posted…Hello world!My Profile

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