Electric bill high from air conditioning usage? I have two suggestions, one free and one not so free.
Turn the air off and clean the coils. When they are dry, it's OK to turn air back on. This is for a house unit (I don't know about single room window units).
This is a good tip for new home owners or renters who don't know any better! I didn't grow up with a/c, so I had to learn the hard way. Cleaning the coils and filter are SO important! Not just to keep it cooler & save money, but to save your unit also. If the unit gets clogged, it can burn the motor up and you could end up having to replace the motor or the entire unit.
My husband is really bad about doing these things. I don't have to put it on the calendar because if he doesn't clean the filter every couple of months, I start coughing every time the unit comes on.
And if your coils need cleaning, it can be gradual or very sudden, but your place is going to warm up no matter how long the a/c runs. My husband cleaned the coils just this month, but it wasn't doing much good. He ended up having to completely take the cover off the unit and really get in there to clean it because it was so clogged with debris.
Very important you mentioned to turn the unit off, some people don't realize if you spray water or mess with the unit while it's running, you can damage the unit and yourself, lol. I think most units are hooked up to their own little fuse box next to it, and you can also pull the fuse if you want to be safer.
A $15.00 box fan will help move the window a/c air around and save the cost of a second window unit.
Instead of using your air conditioner when it is very hot, just purchase a large, square fan and have it blowing right in front of you, I'm talking within 2-3 feet. This works particularly well at night when you're in just one position for a long time and don't have to walk around. It works incredibly well and saves you a bundle! Works well if you are just sitting in one spot watching tv, too.
If you have ceiling fans then use those too along with the a/c and the other fans in the room.
and don't forget to clean or change the filters in the a/c and to clean all fans.
Using an exhaust fan to pull in the cool night air rather than running AC all night saves money.
Thick curtains that are made to reflect heat help also, especially on the east side in the morning and the west in the afternoon.
Keeping the outside unit in the shade helps it to be more efficient too!
Using "dehumidifier" setting rather than AC cools things down more than you would expect. At least, you feel cooler with less humidity.
I agree about the box fan; I use one in the winter to blow the heat around as well!
Buy a reputable brand. We had a TV investigation done on some of the brands that are coming out of China and they claim to be a certain star rating for energy efficiency but they were tested and found to be wrong.
We need to be sure of the product and of the company that makes them. You may save some money in the short term but you pay for it in electricity bills.
I'd ask your HVAC guy about turning the AC off when you leave. We used to do that, but our guy (when we lived in NC) told us that the system uses more energy to cool and dehumidify the house than it uses to keep the temperature and humidity stable. There wasn't a huge difference in the utility bills, but it was slightly less, and it was more pleasant coming home to a comfortable house - I set the AC at 80 - versus being uncomfortably hot (sometimes in the 90's) and sticky humid.
Here is a tip I've used for years.
After the sun is off the south facing side of the house (or where you get the most sun) take the hose (or a bucket) and hose off the area closest to the house. If your house has good siding you can also spray the house and roof. Be sure to close the windows first. Next hose off any concrete or other paved areas next to the house.
Open your windows after the sun has gone down. This should bring down the inside temp as much as 10 degrees. If you've got the heat wave of all heat waves going on repeat in the AM and if possible at noon.
Note: if you also have a water shortage...try using water you 'save' from washing, or in a rain barrel. Your plants will thank you too.
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