27 Jun How to Set Your AC Thermostat Properly (and More Money Saving Tips)
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How to Get the Most Out of Your AC AND Save Money!
It has been a scorcher here in Northern California so far! Hopefully you already took advantage of our Always Affordable HVAC AC Tune Up service to prepare your equipment for the heat. Annual maintenance on your HVAC system is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to keep it running efficiently. Assuming that your AC is working properly, there are things that you can still do to help get the most out of your AC. Especially in this kind of triple digit heat.
Sacramento’s Best HVAC Tips and Tricks
Look, we all want our house to stay nice and cool. Especially when the temperatures hit the hundreds. The reality is, no matter how good your AC is, there is only so much that it can do. With that in mind, some of the best ways to get the most out of your AC have nothing to do with the AC. Always Affordable HVAC brings you the best Sacramento HVAC tips and tricks to help you beat the heat and save money.
DO SEASONAL AC MAINTENANCE
Nobody likes to hear it, but performing an annual pre-summer tune up on your AC will help your AC perform its best, and prevent breakdowns. This is an affordable investment that you will appreciate when your AC is keeping you cool. An AC Tune Up with Always Affordable HVAC includes things like:
- checking refrigerant levels
- test operating temperatures
- clean and inspect condenser coil
- inspect all electrical connections, bearings, and belts
- inspect and wash filters (if applicable)
KEEP THE HOUSE COOL
Yeah, yeah, we know…that’s what the AC is for! Actually, there are quite a bit of simple things that we see that really warm your house up…and make your AC have to work that much harder. When we say, “keep it cool”, we mean, doors and windows closed and sealed properly, and keep the sun out as much as possible. For example, if you have beautiful big windows that let in a lot of natural light, then they are also letting in lots of heat. If you are not going to be home during the day, you will definitely want to draw the curtains on those windows before you leave. This actually can go a long ways to keeping the inside temperature down and is one of the single easiest, most cost effective ways, and often most overlooked ways, to reduce your AC bill in the summer! Other things to consider are the quality of your windows and insulation. For example, older homes may not have energy rated windows or wall/attic insulation. Old single pane windows and old insulation let’s a lot of heat in during the summer and a lot of heat OUT during the winter. Bad news all around for your HVAC system. The EPA rough estimates claim an average annual savings of about $200/year when upgrading single pane to energy rated glass. Similarly, they estimate about 15% savings by upgrading your existing insulation. This equates to around $200 savings a year. Combined, $400 a year in savings is not too shabby. However, while you might not notice the savings quite so much, what you will notice with these upgrades is your house staying much cooler (or warmer), which is appreciated especially during this kind of heat wave.
SET THE TEMP RIGHT
OK let’s clear up a couple of things right off the bat. Let’s say you get home and your house is really hot. Maybe it says it is 80 inside. You like it to be 74 degrees so you crank on the AC. To try and speed things up, you drop the temperature to 65, thinking it will help to cool things off FASTER. MYTH BUSTED! Your AC DOES NOT cool things off faster based on the thermostat. No matter what temperature you want, the AC works the same to get it there. There is no “faster cool” or “slower cool”. There is only cool. At best, you might have a newer, variable speed AC unit-these actually just adjust fan speed based on relative humidity and temperature for maximum efficiency-with NO regard for thermostat settings. When you set the thermostat lower than you need, all you end up doing is wasting energy to cool the house more than is necessary. Another consideration is to be realistic with how low you decide to set your thermostat. In most cases, an AC unit can only do so much to cool a home when it is very hot out. That means in some cases, based on temperatures and your own homes energy efficiency, you might never be able to get it to cool below about 76 when it is over 100 degrees outside! The AC will just run and run and run, trying to cool the house down unsuccessfully. Until it cools off outside, your AC may be maxed out.
TIP: one sign of a dirty AC filter is not being able to cool properly-AAP’s AC Tune Up Service checks your AC filter!
According to the Department of Energy, the optimal thermostat temperature for maximum savings is 78 degrees. Now, this is not a mandate or anything. It just let’s you know that in general, for most hot areas, 78 degrees is the coolest setting at the most energy efficiency. Going below 78 will cost you more, going above 78 will save you some money. It is also recommended to set your thermostat to 85 when you are not home. Cooling your home while you are gone is a complete waste of money. This particularly applies on days you are gone at work for 8+ hours, not necessarily for when you are just running a couple of errands for a couple hours. A well-insulated home, with curtains keeping out any additional direct sunlight, might be able to maintain a temperature below 85 inside all on its own. Then you only need the AC to bring it down a couple degrees extra once you get home.
In today’s connected world, every device in our home seems to be “smart”. Well, that can include your thermostats if you are smart! That’s right, investing in a “smart thermostat” can help you save money and save your AC by preventing overuse. There are a lot of great options on the market for this, and some energy companies will even offer you a rebate for upgrading. Smart thermostats make is super easy to set your thermostat properly. Some can even learn your personal temperature preferences and make adjustments automatically! Amazon has a very well rated, Alexa connected smart thermostat for just about $60. Google makes one for about $100. Category leader “ecobee” has very advanced models that are $200+. As you can see, there are options in a wide range of prices.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
One last really important tip to save you money this summer: know your energy company “time of day” rates. Just about every energy company charges different rates depending on the time of day. Higher rates are during “peak” times, typically between about 5p-8p when everyone is home from work. During summer, the difference between “peak” and “off peak” rates can be DOUBLE! So, if you really want to save some money this summer, be smart about your energy use during “peak” times. If you can manage it, minimize AC usage during those times, don’t run the dishwasher, don’t do laundry. You might be surprised by how much you can save by avoiding peak rates.
Call Always Affordable HVAC Today!
Are you ready to schedule your annual AC Tune Up service today, and beat the heat? Always Affordable Plumbing and HVAC is proud to deliver AC and heater service to Sacramento and Solano County. As always, we provide our communities with honest and affordable services for your home or business.
Service, quality, and affordability for our customers always comes first. Call today to schedule your appointment!
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Find out more about Always Affordable Plumbing & HVAC (Lic. #1003782) by calling:
SACRAMENTO VALLEY: (916) 970-0188
SOLANO COUNTY: (707) 410-3182
Affordable best Sacramento HVAC service | Always Affordable HVAC Sacramento