When it comes to managing your energy bills, you have more control than you think!
Energy prices continue to climb, so what can a homeowner do to rein in the costs associated with keeping cool?
The following are some of the factors that affect the cost of operating an AC, according to Natural Resources Canada. While you may not be able to do anything about certain things, like the local cost of electricity, your geographical location, weather conditions or number of occupants in your home, there are a variety of simple ways to curb your energy use.
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Factors that affect the cost of operating an air conditioning unit:
- Efficiency rating of your central air conditioner (SEER)
- Thermostat setting (for instance, using a programmable or smart thermostat to avoid cooling an empty home)
- Habits of those living in the home. For instance, if the windows are open or closed, whether energy-efficient lighting is used, frequency of appliance use, and so on
For more detailed information, visit the Natural Resources Canada website.
Learn how little changes in the way you cool your home can lead to big savings in 12 1/2 ways to save on AC cooling costs. In the meantime, let’s take a deeper dive into how a new energy-efficient AC unit could lower your utility bills.
NEW ACS USE 30% TO 40% LESS ENERGY.
Natural Resources Canada cites the efficiency rating of your central air conditioner as a determinant in how much energy you consume.
Did you know that by replacing your old air conditioner with an ENERGY STAR qualified model you could realize substantial savings in energy costs? In fact, today’s ENERGY STAR qualified AC units use 30% to 40% less energy than most models sold only 10 to 15 years ago.*
SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is the recognized energy efficiency rating for air conditioners. An ENERGY STAR qualified AC will have a SEER of at least 14.5. The higher the rating, the more efficient your air conditioner will perform, and the more energy savings it could deliver.
COOLING LOAD IS A MAJOR FACTOR.
The cooling load will determine the right size of AC unit for your home. Cooling load is the amount of cooling your system must provide to offer sufficient comfort. There are many factors that go into calculating the cooling load, including the size of your home, window square footage, insulation levels, orientation of your home (for instance, if it’s facing west), and several other factors.
If you install an AC that is too large, it will cycle on and off frequently, substantially reducing the efficiency of your AC system. A system that is too large also loses the ability to dehumidify, which will make your home feel hotter and less comfortable.
If the AC unit is too small, it may not be able to meet the demands of a hot, humid day.
DON’T IGNORE REGULAR MAINTENANCE – EVEN WITH A NEW AC.
Annual AC tune-ups could help prevent future problems, extend the life of the AC unit and keep your AC running efficiently. Manufacturers recommend yearly air conditioner maintenance. Annual tune-ups often involve filter, and coil and fan cleaning, all of which help the AC unit to operate at an optimal level. While some maintenance you can do, there’s simply no substitute for an experienced, licensed HVAC technician inspecting and cleaning your investment.
A central air conditioner is a major purchase so it makes sense to do research before you buy. A free in-home consultation can also provide insight to help you assess your needs and inform your decision.