It’s been a hot summer here in the City Beautiful, and we still have about a month and a half to go with the thermometer hovering over 90 degrees. Despite technically being considered ‘fall’, September is often one of the hottest months of the year in Central Florida, forcing many Floridians to spend hundreds of dollars per month cooling their homes with air conditioning.
Air conditioners are often the most energy-consuming appliance in a home, which also makes them the most expensive to operate. If you’re anything like us, you love saving money. So, here are a few tips for operating and maintaining your air conditioning system to keep cooling costs low in your Florida investment property:
- Keep your AC set to the highest possible temperature at which you are comfortable. Believe it or not, it is estimated that each degree your thermostat is set under 78 degrees increases the electricity used by your AC unit by 7-10%. Think about that the next time you turn the dial down!
- Use the energy saver option on your thermostat rather than turning the unit off when you leave the house. If you don’t have the energy saver feature, turn your unit up to 86 degrees when you leave and then lower it when you return home.
- If you have one, use the programmable options to raise the heat during the hours you are away from home. Ideally the home would be 86 degrees while you’re away and a comfortable 78 degrees by the time you arrive home. Many programmable thermostats are not expensive and can make saving money on your power bill surprisingly convenient.
- Change air filters monthly! This reduces the load on the air conditioning unit and helps the unit operate more efficiently. Also, be sure you are using the right filter for your particular unit. Some filters can actually hinder air flow when used in the wrong AC.
- Make sure that return vents aren’t blocked and are cleaned regularly. This will help with airflow and make the unit run more efficiently.
- Keep your drapes, shades and blinds closed during the hottest parts of the day, especially on the home’s east exposure in the morning and the west exposure in the afternoon.
- It’s a fact: heat rises. If you have a two-story home with one air conditioning unit on the first floor, you may want to consider closing off the upstairs bedrooms so there is less area to cool during the day.
- Use ceiling fans regularly when at home and add tabletop fans as a bonus. These help lower the perceived temperature a few degrees and help keep the air flowing and the rooms cool.