Once April arrives, anyone living in the Valley of the Sun can feel the heat creeping up. Summer will soon be upon us and the familiar hum of air conditioner units may be the only sound you hear outside on your street in mid-July.
Keeping cool does come at a price. According to SRP, your air conditioning can account for 50% or more of your total monthly electric bill during a hot Arizona summer. That’s a lot of money and energy spent keeping cool. There are ways to keep costs down and reduce energy usage if you use some common sense, and monitor your energy and air conditioning use throughout the summer.
1. Start with an Energy Audit
You can’t start saving on energy if you don’t know where you can most drastically cut back on your consumption. An energy audit pinpoints areas in your home that use the most energy, and offers ways to shift some of that energy load and expense. It allow homeowners to determine exactly how much energy their households use, how much is wasted, how much is being spent, and ways how homeowners can save energy.
Energy audits are inexpensive. Think of these audits somewhat like doing a home inspection when buying a house. A contractor can carry out an energy audit to assess heating for around $100. This service is available via a special program from the Arizona Public Service (APS). Contractors will assess your heating, insulation, air conditioning and ventilation systems and find any heat loss spots or issues in your house.
2. Save Energy Replace Air Filters
The air filters in your air conditioning system ideally need to be replaced at least once a month when the summer heat is on. The thick Arizona dust gets blown into your air filters. Keeping them clean on a monthly basis helps your AC system works efficiently. The filters in your HVAC system trap dust and other small particles to prevent them from interfering with the system’s functions. They also ensure that the air circulated in the home is as free as possible from dust, allergens and other potentially harmful particulates.
If the air filters become clogged with dirt, your air conditioner fans have to work harder to circulate air. This means that your system will use more energy than necessary to achieve the same results. In turn, of course, you’re paying more. So pay attention to your AC filters on a monthly basis.
3. Save Energy Replace Old AC Units
Although replacing an older model AC unit is expensive at the onset, over time a homeowner will find that the new unit pays for itself in savings and value added to the house. Newer models are more efficient. You can save a lot of money and hassle compared to trying to repair your old AC, or waiting until it’s completely non-operable.
Energy Star recommends replacing your air conditioner once it’s over 10 years old, or sooner if you live in an area with extreme humidity or high dust levels.
4. Saver energy Turn Off Appliances
Electrical appliances produce heat in your home, and raise the overall temperature of your home throughout the day. To maintain cooler temperatures throughout your home, and lower your energy footprint, turn off your home appliances when not in use. This saves money on electricity bills related to running these appliances, but also on energy needed to run your air conditioning unit. You’re already turning off most of your lights, though, right? They heat up a home, too.
5. Save energy Dry Your Clothes in the Sun
Let the sun do you some good in the summer, too. It’s beating down hot, so get your wet clothes out there. You’ll be amazed how quickly they dry. You can even hang them out overnight in 80-90 degree weather and wake up to a load of fresh, dry clothes. By drying your clothes in the hot air, you make good use of the summer heat and save money in the process. Let the dryer off the hook as often as possible this summer. You’ll definitely see your energy bill come down.
6. save energy Use Cold Water for Your Laundry
Switch to washing with cold water. You don’t need hot water to remove stains from your clothes – more studies are showing that cold water washes are just as effective as hot water ones. In fact, hot water encourages bleeding and fading of clothes.
The Alliance to Save Energy claims you can save up to $63 a year by simply washing your clothes in cold water. The amount of energy saved translates as enough to run your home for two weeks.
7. Have Your HVAC System Inspected Annually
It is important to have your HVAC system inspected annually to make sure it’s working optimally. Having an expert inspect your system helps identify emerging problems early. Your system will function more efficiently as a result.