It is the beginning of summer in Arizona and homeowners across the state are bracing themselves for a season of scorching temperatures and high energy bills. During our state’s intense summer months, Air conditioning costs can account for 50% or more of a homeowner’s total electric bill. With almost every summer day reaching triple digits, your A/C unit will be required to work extra hard and extra-long. So now, before triple digits become the daily norm, is the perfect time to ensure that you are doing all you can this summer to save money by staying cool efficiently. To help you in this process we have provided a few tips below that homeowners can follow to save energy, along with special rebate programs being offered by power utilities to help share in some of the costs.
1. Conduct an Energy Audit
Most homeowners want to save energy but don’t know how or where to start. This is why the first step to “staying cool efficiently” this summer begins with a licensed professional conducting a detailed energy evaluation of your home. An Energy Audit will help you determine the most effective and economical solutions for you to reduce your energy use based on your individual situation and budget. Energy Audits can save you around 30% on your bill by first educating you on how and when you use energy, recommending simple behavior changes and identify needed efficiency renovations(such as insulation or sun shades). Both Salt River Project (savewithsrp.com) and Arizona Public Service (aps.com) offer programs that allow homeowners to have an energy audit done at a reduced cost of only $99. Other Arizona utilities offer similar rebates.
2. Give Your Air Conditioning Unit a Tune-Up
Properly functioning units will reduce energy consumption, save you money, and will keep your home more comfortable. Replacing a 10 to 15 year old system with a high efficiency air can save 30% to 40% on cooling costs. Some of our power utilities, such as APS and SRP offer incentives and rebates that can save you hundreds of dollars on highly efficient air conditioners.
Don't forget to clean or replace your AC filter once a month too, this will help the unit run more efficiently.
3. Set you thermostat at 79 degrees or higher.
By keeping your thermostat above 79 degrees, you can decrease your air conditioning costs by 3% for every degree increase to your thermostat's temperature setting. You can mitigate the warmer temperatures by using ceiling fans, which can make a room feel five degrees cooler with a fraction of the energy usage of an A/C unit.
4. Conserve Energy with Shade Screens and Window Covers
Shading is the first line of defense from the Arizona heat. In fact, half of the heat entering a home in the summer time enters through your glass windows. By installing shade screens and window covers on the west and south facing windows, around 80% of the sun's heat will be blocked from entering your home, keeping your home nice and cool without having to operate your AC all day. Several of Arizona's power utilities have rebate programs for sun screens and window covers.