INDIANAPOLIS (June 28, 2012) – With so many areas of the country looking at triple-digit heat in the next few days, folks might be worried about how they can afford to keep cool. Angie's List can help keep the air conditioning running smart and maybe even save consumers some money.
Heating and cooling costs account for about half the energy costs for a typical home. So even small savings add up quickly.
Myth: Shutting off the A/C when you're not at home will save you money.
Truth: Repeatedly turning the A/C on and off actually stresses the cooling system and requires more energy to get the house cool again than if the system runs continuously.
“It's better to increase the temperature when you're not going to be home rather than to shut the A/C off completely and then dial it down when you're actually in the home,” says Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List, which offers consumer reviews on local service companies. “Leaving the fan in the "on" position instead of "auto" will also help evenly circulate air throughout the home.”
Highly rated service specialists tell Angie’s List the majority of their emergency repair calls can be traced back to poor maintenance of the system. Typically, the earlier in the season you schedule a maintenance check, the less you’ll pay. Annual maintenance calls range in cost from $40 to $100. Emergency or weekend repair calls often carry fees of $50 to $150 above the cost for labor and materials needed for repair.
“Another easy thing homeowners can do is keep their air filters clean, and most of us can do this ourselves,“ Hicks added. “Just as smart is an annual system check-up to be sure your unit has the coolant it needs and isn’t on the brink of a breakdown.”
4 Reasons to keep up with your A/C
- Dirty air filters burden your unit’s efficiency and could allow dirt into its working parts, which can lead to a breakdown.
- Clean filters can reduce your annual energy costs by 15 percent.
- Each year your unit operates with a dirty coil, over-heated motor, insufficient coolant or other maintenance issue, it will need about 5 percent more energy to keep running.
- Many companies offer maintenance plans for regular service checks, which can help you develop a good relationship with a pro and possibly get you on the list for quickest service calls – even in a heat wave.
4 Signs your A/C is due for service:
- Your A/C runs constantly.
- It feels unusually humid in your home.
- Ice on or condensation around the outside unit.
- Your unit is more than 10 years old and fails repeatedly.
Angie’s List collects consumer reviews on local contractors and doctors in more than 550 service categories. Currently, more than 1 million subscribers across the U.S. rely on Angie’s List to help them make the best hiring decisions. Members get unlimited access to local ratings via Internet or phone, exclusive discounts, the Angie’s List magazine, helpful online articles about home improvement projects, and help from the Angie’s List complaint resolution service. Take a quick tour of Angie’s List and view the latest Angie’s List news.