According to the EPA, the HVAC system in a typical home accounts for approximately 48% of that home's energy use. That's easily the largest single source of energy use in any home, so it's a good idea to focus any energy saving efforts on lowering the cost to cool your home in the summer. By taking steps to reduce the strain on your AC in the summer, you can lower your overall cooling costs, keep your home more comfortable, and even prolong the life of your unit.
Reducing Thermal Load
Reducing the amount of heat in your home will also reduce the amount of energy needed to maintain a comfortable temperature. In some cases, heat is merely a by-product of additional energy use, but the net result is the same. Remove a heat source and you cut down on the amount of work your HVAC system has to do to counteract the heat it produces.
One of the biggest heat sources in your home is your oven and cooking range, which throw off a considerable amount of heat, so whenever possible, try cooking outdoors. A good gas or charcoal grill will more than pay for itself after a few seasons, just as a factor of lowered energy costs inside. Smaller reductions include unplugging unused device chargers, limiting the use of artificial lighting, and drawing the blinds during the brightest parts of the day to reduce the amount of heat coming into your home.
Improving Cooling Efficiency
The more easily air can move through your HVAC system and your house, the less work your AC will need to do to lower the temperature. The first step is taking care of your overall HVAC system on a semi-annual basis with basic maintenance and essential upkeep recommended by a professional HVAC contractor, like those found on sites like http://rbincorporated.com/. However, there are things you can do to further improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your air conditioning.
Make sure that the intake and outflow of air is unimpeded by replacing your air filter and cleaning the vents in each room on a monthly basis. You can also use fans liberally, even if that means going out and picking up a cheap oscillating fan, so that air circulates and cools more quickly throughout your home.
A good HVAC contractor can give you further information on reducing the cost of cooling your home through lowering energy use, improving efficiency, and prolonging the life of your HVAC system.