In 2018, the U.S. Energy Information Association provided a graph showing that air conditioning accounts for about 12% of U.S. home energy expenditures. Of course, homes in hotter and more humid states have the highest bills, but most residents in all states use at least some air conditioning during summer months.
A few of Family Handyman’s “50 Super Simple Ways to Save on Energy Costs” are:
1. Seal gaps around windows with removable caulk; a $5 tube seals up to five windows.
2. Adjust door thresholds or install new door sweeps to stop under-the-door leaks to keep warm air from working its way in.
3. Make sure basement and attic insulation is adequate.
4. Insulate crawl space ducts.
5. Consider a ductless mini split system, which does not require air ducts and cools/heats a home in zones instead of entirely.
6. Maintain the unit. “The best way to keep your air conditioner running at peak efficiency is to spend a couple of hours each year on basic maintenance — cleaning and straightening the fins, changing the filter and lubricating the motor.” Individuals who do not feel comfortable maintaining an AC unit should contact a professional.
7. Install a smart meter. Family Handyman explained that most utility companies offer a smart metering program to track electricity usage in real time so it can be managed.
Other ways homeowners can reduce summer energy bills, according to bankrate.com last June:
8. Plant shade trees around a home.
9. Raise the temperature setting on the air conditioner thermostat to 78 degrees F when no one is at home.
10. Run fans; make sure that the fan blades blow air straight down – the ceiling fan needs to run in a counter clockwise direction during summer months.
11. Grill outdoors or use the microwave when possible to avoid adding heat to the house from the oven and stove.
In higher elevations and cooler states, opening windows whenever possible is an obvious energy and money saver.