If your energy bill is high during the summer your air conditioner may be to blame.

It's tempting to run the air conditioner on full blast during hot summer days. While that might make your space more comfortable, it comes at a cost. Air conditioners use a lot of energy so the more you run your AC, the higher your energy bills. If your goal is to reduce your energy bill this summer, there are a few basic strategies you can use to save energy on your AC, while still keeping your employees and customers comfortable.

Below are practical ways to keep your business cool without heating up your energy bill.

Set the temperature a little higher

When customers walk into your business during the hot summer months, they expect a respite from the heat and appreciate a chance to cool off. The ice box effect is optional.

Because air conditioners kick in when room temperatures rise above the set temperature, the simplest way to reduce your AC energy bill is to adjust the temperature a little higher. Setting temperatures in the range of 24–25°C should be acceptable for staff and customers. (Cooling costs increase dramatically when air conditioners are set to 22°C or lower.) Also, when the humidity is low, a higher temperature will be more comfortable. Setting your thermostat in the higher range will lower your costs considerably.

Managing how often you run your AC is another way to reduce your energy bill. Instead of running your AC all day, run it during your business's busiest hours and turn it off or down during the other hours. Shut the system off after hours.

If you’re using an AC to cool your space, keep windows and exterior doors closed.

Install blinds or curtains

Direct sun through your windows can contribute a lot of heat your space. Keep your business cool by closing the blinds or having sunny windows tinted. If you operate a storefront business, tinted windows will still allow customers to see into your business while keeping the sun’s hot rays from penetrating.

Program your thermostat

Instead of keeping your business's temperature icy-cool, program your thermostat to 24°C. Switching to a smart thermostat gives you more control over the exact temperature of your space, helping your AC work more efficiently. It also allows you to control your business's temperature remotely. Program it to shut off after hours.

Ensure your cooling system is well-maintained

Proper maintenance is key to keeping your AC running as efficiently as possible. Clogged air filters are the primary cause of heating and cooling system problems. Filters are easy to clean or replace. A clean filter significantly improves an air conditioner’s efficiency and lifespan.

If you've noticed your AC running for long periods and struggling to bring the temperature down, it might be time for service. For optimal efficiency, have your cooling system serviced annually, before the start of the summer season. A service technician will clean your filters and also check for leaky ducts and low refrigerant levels, other common causes of AC problems.

Upgrade to a high-efficiency cooling system

Switch to a high-efficiency air conditioning unit to lower your energy bill. An ENERGY STAR® rated central air conditioner uses 8% less energy compared to standard models. If you've been using the same system for a decade or longer, switching to a new efficient model could result in over 30% in energy savings.

Insulation and air sealing work hard during summer too

Your building's insulation can also affect how often your AC is running. Proper insulation prevents the hot outside air from coming in and keeps the cool air inside. Proper air sealing will do the same. Proper air sealing also helps to control humidity, and will make your space more comfortable.

If creating an energy-efficient business is one of your goals this summer, commercial energy efficiency programs can help you find ways to make your business's building more energy efficient. The Commercial Buildings Retrofit Program can help with up to $1.1 million towards upgrades.

FAQs

Do fans lower electric bills?

Fans are an excellent option for cooling your business. Use fans by themselves in smaller areas or with a cooling system to spread the cool air over large areas. Although fans don’t cool the air, air that’s moving feels cooler than it is so will make your space more comfortable at a higher indoor temperature. Setting your AC blower on a low setting combined with one or two fans uses less energy than having the AC on full blast or many fans. When looking for the best energy savings, ENERGY STAR ceiling fans are 60% more efficient compared to standard models. Remember, a ceiling fan should rotate counterclockwise in the summer, to push cooler air down.


Why is my energy bill so high in the summer?

Many factors lead to higher energy bills in the summer, and air conditioning is one of the biggest. An AC uses a significant amount of energy to keep a business cool. If you don't watch how often it's running, it can quickly add up. Freezers are also working extra hard during the hot summer months.

How can I lower my AC bill in the summer?

Setting your AC temperature two degrees warmer, keeping your system well maintained, using fans in conjunction with your cooling system and installing blinds are just some of the ways to lower your AC energy bill. Even your choice of light bulbs can have an impact on the summer temperature in your business. ENERGY STAR rated light bulbs produce 70-90% less heat than incandescent lightbulbs. Click here for more information about making the switch to energy-efficient lighting for your business.

How can I keep my energy bill low?

The best way to keep your energy bill low is to reduce your business's overall energy consumption. The recommended temperature setting for your cooling system is between 24°C and 25°C. Businesses can use heat pumps for heating and cooling. Switching to a heat pump can lower your energy bill, especially if you have a smaller business.