Why 78 is Great: Tips for Saving Money on Air Conditioning

air conditioner

If your home is like ours, we spent some time this week installing our window-mounted air conditioning units. Here are a few tips on keeping the electric bills in check during this summer’s heating season.
As much as 30-40% of a home’s summertime electric bills can come from the use of air conditioning.
Switching to high-efficiency air conditioners and reducing your air-conditioning use can cut your cooling costs by 20 to 50 percent.
Every year, inspect and clean your air conditioner or cooling system. A well-maintained unit uses less electricity. If you have central air-conditioning, keep the condenser unit’s coils and fins clean. Remove grass, leaves, and other debris that may collect on them.

With our window units, we clean the filters periodically to make sure the fan does not have to work overtime pushing chilled air into our home.
Another tip is to avoid overcooling your home. ConEdison recommends using a temperature setting of 78 degrees Fahrenheit (“78 is great”).
According to ConEdison, “Set your air conditioner to no cooler than 78 degrees. Setting your air conditioner lower than 78 degrees can increase your costs by up to 40 percent.”
At this “Goldilocks” level of “not too hot, not too cool,” your air conditioner is doing the lion’s share of providing comfort without overworking.
In addition, use timers to have units operate only when you occupy the rooms.
Air conditioners have efficiency ratings, but the current ratings are one-size-fits-all. Soon, air conditioners and heat pumps will be designed and rated for three different climate zones.
Air conditioners have two major systems that chill air (by condensing out the humidity) and push air (by blowing it into the room).  The dehumidification is a big benefit for homes here in the Northeast.
The Northern zone rating will show us which models perform best here in New York where we have some humidity with moderate heat, but very few very dry and very hot days. In addition, a Southwest zone rating will highlight models that perform well in the prolonged high heat and low humidity conditions of the American Southwest. And a Southeast zone rating will highlight models that perform well in the high humidity and heat conditions prevalent there.

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