Summer in Bozeman, MT often means cranking up your A/C to escape the outdoor heat. However, that extra use of your air conditioner can often cause your monthly utility bill to skyrocket. You should never have to choose between enjoying the indoors and saving money on air conditioning. At Mountain Heating & Cooling, we are here to make every aspect of your home comfortable, including your summer energy expenses. To help you stay cool and save money on air conditioning during the summer, we’ve listed our top recommendations for how to take extra work off your air conditioner. Soon, you’ll be kicking back in your cool home and not thinking about bills or the heat!
6 Ways to Save Money on Air Conditioning
1. Check Your Windows and Blinds
To save money on air conditioning, let’s start with your windows. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heat gain and loss through windows are responsible for 25%-30% of heating and cooling energy use in residential homes. Older windows can cause your home to absorb more heat than newer models. If your existing windows are not in good working condition or are outdated, replace your existing windows to improve efficiency. You can even tint your windows for extra help in blocking sunlight. While there is an upfront cost involved, in the long run, you’ll make up for it with lower utility bills.
Poorly sealed windows can also be the culprit of higher utility bills. Windows without proper sealing let excess hot air in your home and let the cool air out, making your A/C unit work overtime. Caulking the leaks or cracks and weather-stripping your windows can help trap cool air in your home.
Installing blinds or curtains over your windows can also help block out excess sunlight so you do not need to run your air conditioner as frequently. In fact, Christina Kielich, spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Energy, says “When completely closed and lowered on a sunny window, highly reflective blinds can reduce heat gain by around 45%.” To start, try using light-colored window treatments. Lighter hues tend to deflect the sun’s rays more than darker colors. Hang the shades as close to the window as possible to block outdoor heat from radiating inside.
2. Update Your Thermostat Habits
Your thermostat is one of the best places to start optimizing your home’s HVAC system for the summer. Firstly, it’s crucial to not leave your A/C on full blast all the time. Instead of turning off your A/C completely, it is best to set your temperature within 4 degrees Fahrenheit of where you want it when you are out of the house. When your home’s ambient temperature increases on a hot day, all of your home’s surfaces collect heat. These surfaces need to be cooled and rooms dehumidified as part of the cooling process. It is very difficult to cool a hyper-heated home. If your home is at a reasonable temperature when you’re away, you’ll get enormous savings and quicker recovery of cooler temperatures when you return. Contrary to “what Mom and Dad told you”, a constantly running air conditioner will cost less to operate.
Installing a smart thermostat can help you better regulate your air conditioning and save money at the same time. Smart thermostats allow you to program the thermostat to the desired temperature and automatically adjust when you are out of the house or at set times of your choice.
3. Get Your Cooling System Serviced
Scheduling regular air conditioner maintenance is one of the biggest ways to save money on air conditioning. A/C units that are clogged with dirt and debris make your HVAC system work harder than it needs to. This excess use of energy not only skyrockets your utility bill but it puts extra strain on your air conditioner. This can lead to early repairs or even A/C failure. We recommend the following:
- Regularly clean and replace your air filter every few months.
- Tidy the area around your air conditioning unit.
- Have a technician clean out your HVAC system before and after the summer.
- Remove or trim overgrown plants around your outdoor condenser.
4. Use Fans Whenever Possible
Fans are an excellent way to keep cool during the summer months in Montana. Fans can make the indoor temperature feel six to seven degrees cooler in a room, whether you use a ceiling fan or other type of circulating fan. Just remember to turn off the fan when no one is enjoying it. Otherwise, you will waste excess electricity.
5. Reduce In-Home Activities that Produce Heat
Did you know that microwaving or, better yet, barbequing your food instead of cooking it on your stovetop can help you save money on air conditioning? Activities that generate a lot of heat in your home can cause excess heat to build up, making your air conditioner work harder and longer. From cooking on the stovetop to running the dishwasher to using the clothes dryer, try to save these activities until after dark when temperatures have dropped.
6. Invest in an Energy-Efficient Air Conditioner
It’s important to look past your summer utility expenses and consider long-term energy savings. In the long run, a new energy-efficient air conditioner could save you more money than making do with an energy-guzzling A/C unit. While a new air conditioner may cost more money up-front, newer units are more energy-efficient, which can make them less expensive to operate over the years. As an alternative to a straight air conditioner, an air source heat pump can serve as your air conditioner during the summer and primary heating resource during shoulder seasons and winter—just ask us how!
When choosing an air conditioner, double-check that the unit is ENERGY STAR certified and that it has a SEER rating that carries the added benefit of a Montana State Energy Credit. An air conditioner with an ENERGY STAR stamp of approval means it meets the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) standards for using less energy. The higher the ENERGY STAR rating, the more energy-efficient the air conditioner is. SEER rating (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ration) is the air conditioner’s cooling output divided by the total energy used in a cooling session. Like ENERGY STAR ratings, the higher the SEER rating, the better the energy efficiency. The top air conditioner brands we recommend for energy efficiency are Trane and Mitsubishi Ductless.
If you need a hand selecting an energy-efficient air conditioner for your home or business, we’re here to help and would love to talk to you. Our team can provide a complimentary in-home comfort assessment and specifications of the different units and make our recommendations for which model fits your home best. A new air conditioner installation is a major decision, so we want to provide all the information you need so you feel confident in your choice.
Need a Hand Getting Your Home Summer-Ready?
Whether you need repairs or would like a hand selecting the right Trane air conditioner for your home, reach out to our team for tips on how to save money on air conditioning. Our Bozeman air conditioning specialists take special care to ensure your home is safe, energy-efficient, and comfortable during every season. From replacements to general maintenance, our technicians cover every HVAC need with the utmost professionalism and respect. Fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment, or give us a call at (406) 586-4007.