(PHOENIX)– A new study finds Arizonans pay three times as much as the national average to keep their homes cool. Sense, a residential energy management company, analyzed 1,600 homesacross the U.S. and found the average cost of summer utilities in Arizona was $477 last year. That’s $150 more than the second priciest state, New Jersey ($327), and almost $200 more than Texas, Florida and Georgia, which rounded out the top five.
While every home’s cooling costs will vary depending on its size, age and efficiency of the unit, thermostat settings and other issues, there are certain steps everyone can take to save money. As we enter a four-month stretch of constant a/c use, the experts at Donley Service Center share these tips:
Protect your home from heat
During the summer, the DOE estimates 76 percent of sunlight that falls on standard double-pane windows enters to become heat. The amount of energy savings will depend on the type and size of shade or screen.
The DOE says the average homeowner can save 10-20 percent ($83 – $166) annually on cooling and heating costs by sealing air leaks around windows and doors.
Planting shrubs or trees can provide shade to the a/c unit, which leads to less electricity being used. But, not too close or you’ll restrict airflow. Make sure the area is free of leaves, weeds and debris.
Use a/c efficiently
Thermostats can pick up the heat from lamps, TV’s and appliances so keep them away.
You won’t conserve energy by constantly changing the thermostat. Set it at the highest comfortable level and leave it. For every degree you set your thermostat above 80, you can save about 2- 3 percent on cooling costs. Or, try a programmable thermostat that will automatically adjust for times you are away and sleeping. Note: Keep your set back point 4 degrees or less when setting a programmable thermostat.
The DOE says ceiling fans can allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4 degrees without impacting comfort. During the summer, the fan should operate in a counterclockwise direction to create a wind chill effect. Remember, turn off fans when you leave-fans cool people, not rooms.
Closing air vents can create a pressure imbalance and reduce cooling effectiveness.
Your a/c will work harder when there’s moisture in the air so try to take showers, run the dishwasher and clothes washer early in the morning or after dark.
7.Get your a/c checked by a certified technician annually.
Although the Environmental Protection Agency says the average air conditioner lasts 15 to 20 years, in Arizona we generally experience a shorter life span – closer to 12-15 years.While it may seem like a pretty wide span, we know that properly maintained units that are checked annually by qualified technicians last the longest and run the most efficiently during our triple digits.
About Donley Service Center
Jim and Mike Donley and their employees have been providing honest, caring service to Arizonans since 1976. Family-owned Donley Service Center has twice been honored with the Better Business Bureau’s Ethics Award. Donley technicians receive ongoing training to provide the most comprehensive service for air conditioning, plumbing, heating, sewer repair, maintenance management and solar hot water. www.donleyservice.com