Air Conditioner Efficiency and Your Electric Bill

Heating and air conditioning your home accounts for 43 percent of your monthly utility bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Here’s how to reduce those costs, especially during the hot Florida summer.

Replace or Maintain Your Air Conditioner

Having a qualified technician repair or replace an old air conditioning unit can drastically save on cooling and heating costs. Also, be sure to keep the filter clean to allow for good air movement and keep the air conditioning unit level so the condensation drains properly. If you replace an older window unit, you could cut your energy costs in half, according to the Department of Energy. Look for a high-energy-efficiency ratio, or EER — or an Energy Star-qualified AC unit. Higher EER ratings mean a more efficient air conditioner. Energy Star refers to a system adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy to identify energy-efficient products.

Solar Screens

Solar screens (mesh-like window screens) can intercept up to 70 percent of solar energy before it gets into the house. Window screens are particularly effective on east- and west-facing windows according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Window films are another option. They are transparent, metalized sheets that reflect heat before it can be transmitted through glass. However, windows must be shut for window films to work, while solar screens do double-duty, keeping sun and insects out even with windows open.

Invest In NEST

It’s OK to get comfortable and lower your air conditioner’s thermostat setting to 76 or 78 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re at home. But let that number rise to a warmer temperature at night or when you’re away from home. In fact, you can save 5 percent to 15 percent on your air-conditioning bills by raising the temperature setting on your thermostat when you’re away and don’t need cooling, according to the Department of Energy. Even better? Save more in the long run and spend a little extra up front — invest in a smart thermostat (like a NEST thermostat) and let it intelligently help you heat and cool your home, saving you tons of money. If you have any questions about NEST, call Avis — we can get you set up and saving money in no time flat!

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