Cencal Mechanical Heating & Air, Inc. provides air conditioner service, maintenance, and installations throughout California’s Central Valley. Let our experienced team show you how to save energy—and money—when running your AC.

Saving energy while cooling off your home in hot weather has tons of benefits, like conserving natural resources—but it also means something big for your bank account.

In this guide, our team at Cencal Mechanical Heating & Air, Inc. covers 10 tips that will help save you energy with your air conditioning unit and reduce your monthly electric bill. From quick, DIY to-do’s to longer-term investments and routine AC tune-ups, we’ll show you our best strategies to help shave off cents and dollars every billing cycle.

Table Of Contents

  • Learn About Time-of-Use Rates
  • Seal Your Windows & Doors
  • Change Air Filters Every 90 Days (Minimum)
  • Replace With Smart Thermostats
  • Cover Up Your Unit
  • Service Your Unit
  • Rearrange the Furniture
  • Utilize Shade
  • Install Ceiling Fans
  • Turn Off the Lights
  • FAQ

Learn About Time-of-use Rates

Check with your utility company about “time-of-use” rates. Most offer what is known as a time-of-use plan, which means they charge more during peak hours of the day and offer cheaper services during off-peak times.

This means you can actually save money by running your AC unit during certain periods and being conscious of when to keep it less active.

When Are Peak Hours?

Peak hours in California’s Central Valley are typically from 4-9 PM, Monday to Friday—the times when most people are usually getting home after a day at work. Pro tip: Weekends are usually considered off-peak, so plan your intensive use on Saturday and Sunday if you’re sticking around the house!

Seal Your Windows & Doors

Ensure that all your windows and doors are properly sealed. By fortifying the barriers between your cozy indoors and the unpredictable outdoors, you’re not only keeping your living space comfortable year-round, but also actively curbing your electricity bill. With these seals, you can keep the scorching summer air out and allow your AC unit to take a break in the thick of the heat.

HVAC technician replacing air filer in central AC system to save energy

Change Air Filters Every 90 Days (Minimum)

By committing to regular AC filter changes, you’re not just ensuring cleaner air—you’re also saving bigger on the bill than you may realize. A clogged, overworked filter forces your HVAC system to labor harder, guzzling unnecessary energy.

Every 90 days, changing that air filter out will allow your unit to breathe easy and operate efficiently. This also helps to expand the life of your HVAC system and spares you from unnecessary repairs or replacements. If you run your AC consistently during the warmer months of the year, you may even want to change it on a monthly basis.

Check out our FAQ about air filters, finding the right one, and maintenance of your air filtration in the home.

Homeowner setting smart thermostat to save energy on air conditioning

Use Smart Thermostats

If you don’t have one already, replacing your thermostat with a “smart” thermostat may be one of the best moves you can make to save energy while running your AC. These devices adjust temperatures and adapt to your lifestyle by learning your needs and preferences over time. They detect patterns, like when you’re home, asleep, or away, and control your HVAC equipment’s output accordingly.

You can also control these thermostats remotely via your smartphone or tablet. If you forget to adjust before a week-long vacation, don’t worry—you can simply raise or lower the temperature at a distance and relax, then set a comfortable temperature to return to when you’re on the way home.

Clean Your Outdoor Ac Unit

We don’t recommend covering your AC unit to protect it from extreme heat—but we do recommend that you cool it down throughout the summer months with a quick rinse from the hose. This helps protect the system from overheating or overworking.

A simple spray-down can also help to remove dirt, debris, or anything else clogging the unit and hindering its performance—another way to expand the life of your equipment!

HVAC technician repairing outdoor AC unit

Service Your Unit

It is essential that you are servicing your AC unit regularly. Hiring us for professional annual air conditioner tune-ups is the best way to become aware of any present or impending issues and ensure your system is working at optimal levels—which saves energy and money by preventing emergency issues down the road.

Here at Cencal Mechanical Heating & Air, Inc., our team can run detailed diagnostics on your cooling system and tune your air conditioner for peak performance. This will improve your energy efficiency and ensure that you can run your AC smoothly once the heat hits. Pro tip: call us for a tune-up before the summer months arrive.

Rearrange The Furniture

A simple bout of feng shui can lead to big energy savings, because rearranging the furniture in your home can actually make it warmer or cooler! If you’re looking to create a cooler home and a happier AC unit, all you have to do is strategically place your furniture out of reach of direct sunlight. This reduces radiant heat absorption and prevents your system from having to work as hard to keep the home chilled throughout the warmest months of the year.

Utilize Shade

Pay attention to those sunny spots in and around your home. This tip coincides well with our previous suggestion—once you rearrange your furniture, you should also ensure that you are properly creating shade and reducing the need for extra cool air in certain areas of the home.

This includes but is not limited to:

  • Installing blinds or shades on the windows
  • Hanging curtains
  • Planting trees in the front or backyards to break up direct sun exposure

This purposeful positioning allows your home to be shielded from those strong (and hot) UV rays.

Man installing ceiling fan in home to save energy on air conditioning

Install Ceiling Fans

Installing ceiling fans is one of the quickest ways to ensure that your AC unit won’t overwork itself throughout the summertime heat waves. This helps save energy and reduce your electric bill.

Ceiling fans help to circulate air, creating a nearly natural breeze that makes your home feel cooler without actually lowering the temperature in the house. That means you can actually set your thermostat higher during hot weather without feeling uncomfortable.

Turn Off (& Unplug) The Lights

Lights and electronics generate heat—so, if you’re not using them, they don’t need to be powered on in any way. Cool off every nook and cranny, and your AC unit won’t have to work as hard to cool down your space. It’s an easy way to reduce the need for additional cooling.

Make Your Ac More Efficient With Help From Cencal Mechanical Heating & Air, Inc.

The tips above can all help your air conditioner use less energy during hot weather—but investing in a high-efficiency AC unit can lower your monthly cooling costs even more. For help installing a new air conditioner that brings down your energy bills each month or tuning up your current cooling equipment, contact our team and speak to a team member who can provide you with an accurate estimate. You can also browse the FAQ below for more information.

Frequently Asks Questions About Saving Energy With Air Conditioning Units

Is it cheaper to leave the AC on all day or raise the temperature while you’re away?

There is some debate here, but it is generally more energy and cost-efficient to raise the temperature while you’re away rather than leave the AC unit working all day long. When your home is empty—especially during longer periods like vacations—there’s no need to maintain lower temperatures.

What is the best or most efficient temperature to set your AC to?

The answer to this might hurt those of you who love to set your thermostats at an extra cool 65°F—but in actuality, the most efficient temperature to set your unit to in hot weather is 78°F. However, this may be too warm for most, so we recommend that you try a happy medium around 75°F to minimize energy consumption without sweltering.

Does auto-mode save electricity or energy?

Yes, the auto-mode on your thermostat will absolutely save both electricity and energy. When your system is in “auto” mode, the thermostat’s fan setting will automatically adjust based on the temperature setting you’ve selected. When the desired temperature is reached, the fan will shut off and conserve electricity (and energy).

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