southern values cooling and heating

10 Ways to Reduce Your Air Conditioning Energy Costs in Florida

As an HVAC company with 12 years of experience operating outside Bradenton, FL – one of the most common questions we’re asked is how to reduce AC costs.

Living in Florida, where the heat and humidity often demand almost year-round air conditioning, it’s no surprise that cooling systems are among the largest energy consumers in homes.

However, there are several effective strategies you can implement to reduce your air conditioning energy costs without compromising comfort.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to keeping cool while keeping your energy bills low.

1. Upgrade to a High-Efficiency Air Conditioner

One of the most impactful steps you can take is upgrading to a high-efficiency air conditioner. Upgrading to a high-efficiency air conditioner not only reduces energy consumption but also enhances the overall comfort of your home.

Newer models are equipped with advanced technologies like variable speed compressors and fan motors that adjust cooling output to meet demand without excessive energy use.

This means your air conditioner works smarter, not harder, adapting to changes in indoor and outdoor temperatures to maintain comfort levels efficiently.

Modern air conditioners with high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratios (SEER) use significantly less energy than older models.

Look for units with a SEER rating of 16 or higher for the best energy savings.

2. Regular Maintenance

Southern Values Cooling and Heating Technician in Lakewood Ranch

Ensure your air conditioning system is serviced by a professional at least once a year. 

Regular maintenance includes checking the coolant levels, ensuring the system is clean and free of debris, and checking for any potential issues that might cause inefficiency. 

Simple actions like replacing or cleaning air filters every month or two can significantly improve performance.

Just like you should go to the doctor’s office once a year, you should also “check-up” on your AC units.

In addition to annual professional check-ups, homeowners can perform some maintenance tasks themselves to keep their system running efficiently.

For instance, checking and cleaning the outdoor condenser unit regularly can prevent airflow blockage caused by leaves, dirt, and debris.

Ensuring that the condenser has adequate space around it for air intake can also improve its efficiency and prolong its lifespan.

For example, a homeowner in Lakewood Ranch hadn’t serviced his AC in 5 years and as a result, it was only running at 50% its total ability. This meant that they were paying way more in energy costs to get the same level of cooling they had in 2019.

3. Install a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat can make a big difference in your energy consumption. These devices allow you to set temperatures according to your schedule.

You can program the thermostat to raise the temperature when you’re not home and to cool down the house right before you return.

Even a small adjustment of a few degrees can lead to substantial savings.

For instance, increasing the temperature by 7-10 degrees for 8 hours a day can lead to significant savings on your energy bill.

Many modern thermostats offer Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing you to adjust settings remotely via a smartphone app, giving you control over your home’s climate from anywhere.

Some programmable thermostats can learn your schedule and temperature preferences over time and automatically make energy-efficient adjustments.

They can also provide you with energy usage reports, which can help you understand your consumption patterns and make informed decisions about when and how to use your air conditioning system most effectively.

4. Optimize Air Flow

Ensure that the air flow in your home is optimized by keeping vents clear of obstructions such as furniture, toys, or drapery.

Consider using ceiling fans along with your air conditioning to spread the cooled air more effectively throughout the room, allowing you to set the thermostat a couple of degrees higher.

Proper air flow ensures that your air conditioner does not have to work too hard to distribute cool air throughout your home.

Ensuring that air vents are open and unblocked in all rooms can promote even air distribution and prevent your system from overworking, which can lead to wear and tear over time.

This not only maintains efficiency but also extends the life of the system.

5. Seal Ducts and Insulate

Southern Values’ Contracting Doing Scheduled AC Repairs

Leaking ductwork can lead to significant energy losses, particularly if the ducts pass through unconditioned spaces like attics or crawl spaces.

Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your air conditioning system by as much as 20%. Our friends at TLS Insulation offer this service in Bradenton and we certainly recommend using them.

Homeowners should pay special attention to areas where ducts pass through non-air conditioned spaces, such as attics or basements, as these are common sites for energy loss.

Sealing leaks with mastic sealant or metal tape and wrapping ducts in insulation can dramatically increase the efficiency of your air conditioning system.

Proper insulation in your home’s walls, ceilings, and floors also keeps the cool air inside and the hot air outside.

This reduces the burden on your air conditioning system, allowing it to run less frequently and consume less energy.

Making sure that your home has adequate insulation can lead to substantial savings in energy costs over time.

6. Use Window Treatments

Effective use of window treatments can reduce heat gain by up to 77%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Thermal drapes, blackout curtains, or blinds can block intense sunlight and help keep your rooms cooler without overworking the air conditioner.

This is especially true for summertimes in Florida.

Besides controlling heat gain, proper window treatments can also protect your furniture, floors, and artwork from UV damage.

Over time, sunlight can fade and degrade various materials, so by mitigating this exposure, window treatments not only save on cooling costs but also help maintain your interior decor.

7. Avoid Heat Build-up During the Day

Try to avoid activities that generate a lot of heat, such as running a dishwasher or oven, during the hottest part of the day.

Instead, perform these activities in the evening or early morning.

By using microwaves, grills, or slow cookers instead of traditional ovens, you can minimize indoor heat during the warmest parts of the day.

These cooking methods generate less heat, keeping your home cooler. Planning meal times for cooler parts of the day can also help reduce the need for air conditioning in the evening when families are typically home.

You should also consider using heat-generating appliances such as clothes dryers and dishwashers at night.

This prevents these appliances from adding extra heat to your home during daytime hours when your air conditioner is already working hard to combat outdoor heat, thereby reducing the overall cooling load and energy consumption.

8. Consider a Zoned Air Conditioning System

AC System Installed In Sarasota, FL

If your home has multiple levels or a complex layout, you might benefit from a zoned air conditioning system.

These systems use dampers within the ductwork to regulate and redirect air to specific areas of the home, providing cooling where it’s needed most and conserving energy.

This targeted cooling can be much more efficient than cooling unoccupied rooms.

For homes with varying occupancy or rooms that are not used as frequently, zoning can significantly reduce energy waste.

Zoned systems can be particularly beneficial for larger homes or multi-story buildings where temperature differences between levels can be challenging to manage.

By cooling only the areas that need it, when they need it, zoned systems maximize energy efficiency and can significantly reduce overall cooling costs.

9. Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Appliances and Lighting

Heat-generating appliances can affect indoor temperatures.

Switch to energy-efficient appliances and LED lighting to reduce heat output or installing a new AC all-together.

This not only saves energy directly but also reduces your air conditioning load.

Energy-efficient appliances generate less heat when operating, which indirectly reduces the cooling requirements of your home.

For example, replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs not only cuts down on lighting energy use by up to 80% but also emits much less heat, easing the load on your air conditioning system.

Similarly, opting for Energy Star-rated kitchen and laundry appliances can decrease the amount of heat these appliances emit during operation.

This change, while subtle, contributes to a cooler home environment, allowing your air conditioning system to work less intensively and more efficiently.

10. Landscape for Shade

Planting trees or shrubs to shade your air conditioning unit can increase its efficiency by as much as 10%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Also – using landscaping to shade windows and walls of your home can reduce indoor temperatures, cutting air conditioning costs.

Strategically placed trees and shrubs can provide natural cooling by shading your home from the direct sunlight, particularly on the east and west sides where the sun can be most intense.

The evapotranspiration from plants also helps to lower nearby temperatures, creating a microclimate that is several degrees cooler than surrounding areas without vegetation.

Is a faulty AC the reason why you’re paying so much in energy bills?

The most common reason for high energy bills from your air conditioning unit is because it’s running poorly.

This is an easy way to unintentionally rack up energy bills to keep your home cool in the Florida summertime.

If you’re in the Bradenton or Sarasota area and looking to decrease your energy bills, give us a call at (941) 812-1571 today!

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