Living in the District during the summer months usually means three things: heat, humidity, and high energy bills. With the average July high temperature in the upper 80s and humidity hovering in the high-60% range, running your air conditioner can wreak havoc on your wallet – but it doesn’t have to. The DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) helps D.C. residents make smart energy choices, including offering rebates of up to $500 for central air conditioning systems. By maintaining your air conditioning equipment and purchasing a properly sized unit for your cooling needs, you can save without sacrificing comfort in your home.
Following are 7 ways you can keep your energy bill down, no matter how hot it gets.
Bigger doesn’t mean better.
When buying a new room air conditioner, choose the smallest ENERGY STAR® qualified unit appropriate for the size of the room. The DCSEU can show you how to use your room air conditioner most efficiently.
If you have central air conditioning, there are a number of ways that you can ensure your system is running at peak efficiency: Set the fan to “auto.” This setting on your thermostat shuts the fan off at the same time as the compressor.
Don’t use the system’s central fan to provide air circulation.
It is more cost effective to use circulating fans in individual rooms.
Frequently change your air filter.
Check it every month, and change it whenever it looks dirty. At a minimum, change the filter every three months.
Get a yearly tune-up.
A simple, once-a-year check-up will improve the efficiency and comfort of your system.
Install a programmable thermostat.
With pre-programmed settings that allow your system to rest while you’re out of the house, a programmable thermostat can save you about $180 per year in energy costs. The DCSEU is offering $25 rebates for contractor-installed programmable thermostats.
Upgrade your air conditioner.
If your central air conditioner is malfunctioning or if the unit is over 10 years old, consider upgrading to an ENERGY STAR® qualified model. Rebates up to $500 are available from the The DCSEU.
Finally… get audited.
Consider taking a whole-home approach by scheduling a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® audit. A DCSEU participating contractor can help seal and insulate the areas in your home where precious cool air escapes, with financial incentives of up to $1,800 for qualifying energy upgrades to your home.