When you’re at home, set your thermostat as high as you can without feeling uncomfortable – 78° is generally recommended. Minimizing the difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures uses less energy, lowering your overall bill. The same goes for when you leave on vacation: keep your house warmer than normal so you don’t experience a spike in your bill for the time you’re away.
After returning home, it’s not unusual to want a cool home fast, but setting your thermostat colder than normal does not cool your home any faster, and it might actually drive up energy expenses. Closing all doors to rooms that trap heat and turning on your ceiling fan will actually allow you to raise the thermostat and increase cooling efficiency.
Maintain your AC system
Schedule a maintenance check for your AC unit to ensure it’s still effective and meets standards. Especially for an outdoor unit, making sure your system is weatherproofed and the registers/cooling fins are clear of dirt, dust, dandelions, and other debris is necessary to enhance the life of your machine and improve air flow. There are also some things only a professional can do, such as checking the coolant level.
Additional tip: placing lamps or TV’s near your thermostat causes misreadings because the thermostat senses heat, signaling your AC system to run longer than needed. Clear the path around your thermostat for the most accurate reading.
Avoid heating your home with other appliances
On particularly hot days, try not to overload on activities that use a lot of heat. These include running a computer, dishwasher, or using gadgets like curling irons and hair dryers. Instead of using your oven, plan on grilling outside, cooking on the stovetop, or breaking out a microwavable meal.
After a long day of working or exercising in the sun, it’s tempting to either wash smaller loads to get rid of sweat stains at first sight or take longer showers to clean off. Using as little water as possible – in the form of shorter showers and consistently full loads of laundry – is a sure way to save energy and as much hot water as possible, relieving your water heater as well.