AC energy-saving tips

During the summer, air conditioning can account for 50% or more of your total electric bill.

Follow the tips below to increase energy efficiency and save money.

  • Leave most of the air vents open in your home. Closing air vents in more than 10% of your total conditioned space creates a pressure imbalance and reduces the effectiveness of your cooling system.
  • Do moisture-producing chores when it is cooler and your cooling system won't have to work as hard. Wash clothes and dishes or mop floors in the early morning or at night. If you are on an SRP Time of Day Price Plan, doing laundry during the off-peak hours will help you save money.
  • Prevent heat gain inside the house by taking these steps to lessen the load on your cooling system.

Air conditioners and heat pumps

  • Set the thermostat between 78 to 80 degrees when you are home and up to 85 degrees when you are away. For every degree you set your thermostat above 80 degrees, you can save approximately 2 to 3% on cooling costs.
Graphic showing typical home energy use: Cooling accounts for 51%, pool pumps account for 13%, water heating accounts for 12%, the refrigerator accounts for 5%, an electric dryer accounts for 4%, and the remaining 15% is other.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. Set it to allow the temperature in your home to increase by 5-10 degrees while you're away and to return to a comfortable level an hour before you return. If you are on an SRP Time-of-Day Price Plan, set the thermostat to return to a comfortable level during off-peak hours.
  • Turn your air conditioning fan to "Auto." This turns the fan motor off when the unit is not cooling. Using "Auto" rather than "On" can save you $15 to $25 each month on your energy costs.
  • Schedule maintenance service on your cooling system once a year by an SRP Certified Contractor to maintain its efficiency.
  • Buy a higher-SEER unit when the time comes to replace your cooling system. The efficiency of heat pumps and air conditioners is indicated by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The higher the number, the more cooling you will get for your dollar. Ask a qualified air conditioning contractor what level of efficiency is right for your home.
  • Buy the right size cooling system. A unit that is too large for your house will cause frequent cycling, inefficient operation and higher operating costs.
  • Set your ceiling fans to blow downward during the summer to circulate air rather than lowering your thermostat.
  • Clean debris and obstructions from around outdoor air conditioning components.
  • Replace disposable air filters or clean permanent ones at least once a month. A dirty filter forces your equipment to work harder, causing higher energy bills.

Evaporative coolers

  • Change the pads on your evaporative cooler before each summer. Make sure the pads are evenly installed in the frames with no gaps around the edges.
  • Do not run your evaporative cooler and air conditioner at the same time or even during the same day. The evaporative cooler increases humidity in your home while the air conditioner works to remove humidity.
  • Install the baffle plate (cookie sheet damper) in the unit before you switch over to air conditioning.

How to install a smart thermostat