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Keep your AC from Working Harder Than Needed

Southern California Edison offers tips for cooling your home while saving on your bill.

A telltale sign of summer is the sound of the air conditioner humming as it kicks on. Central air, mini-splits, window and portable units all consume much more energy than other appliances, which means increased usage leads to higher electric bills and added strain on the power grid.

Take steps to keep your air conditioner from working harder (and using more energy) than necessary. Here are some cost-effective ways to stay cool while also supporting a stable power supply.

Air filter: Replacing an old or dirty air filter can improve an air conditioner's energy efficiency by up to 15%.

Fans: Little-known fact: Fans cool people, not spaces. Using fans, which consume less energy than AC units, allows users to raise their thermostat by two degrees and maintain the same comfort level. Time-of-Use customers can use fans and reduce AC use during peak hours (4-9 p.m.) to save energy and money.

Block the sun: Sunshine coming through windows raises indoor temperatures significantly. Close blinds and curtains at the start of hot days to conserve energy. Use exterior roller shades, adjustable awnings or even tall plants to shield your space from the sun.

All about flow: Ensure clear and clean air vents for AC efficiency. Obstructions and dust can make your system work harder.

Pre-cooling: Time-of-Use customers may save money by setting their thermostat 5-6 degrees lower during off-peak hours in the morning and early afternoon, then during peak hours shift back to at least 78 degrees. Installing a smart thermostat can make it even easier to cool your home during the best time of day.

If it’s time to replace your old AC system, consider an electric heat pump that can offer cooling and heating, which comes with rebates or tax incentives.

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