Know Your Unit
First and foremost, it’s important for you to know a few key characteristics about your air conditioning unit. Depending on your unit’s efficiency, you may have to take more precautions to keep costs down. Whether you’re shopping for a new unit or familiarizing yourself with your current one, pay attention to its efficiency ratings.
When trying to stay cool in Florida without a massive utility bill, the first thing you’ll want to look for is a unit’s SEER rating (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). SEER is a way to describe your unit’s cooling output capacity in comparison to how much energy it uses up. Usually, states will have a minimum requirement ranging between a value of 13 and 14 and going up to 26. To put it into perspective, older AC units can have a rating as low as 8 (which is not great at all). The higher the SEER rating of a unit, the lower its energy expenditure. Though high-SEER units are usually more pricey up front, they end up saving you a lot of money in utility fees over time.
Energy Star Certification
If an air conditioner has an Energy Star certification, then it has met the highest standards of energy efficiency available. These units are the most likely to help keep your utility bill low while keeping your home or business cool.
Large windows that provide a home with tons of natural light can be a homeowner’s dream – but they come with a catch. In Florida, where sunlight hits with a vengeance, large unblocked windows can be a recipe for high heat in your home. Letting direct sunlight in will make the interior of your home warmer – and, in turn, will make your air conditioner work harder.
To offset this challenge, invest in good curtains or blinds that block out the light, and make sure they’re closed often (and always when you’re not home to enjoy the light). Something as simple as light-blocking curtains can lower the temperature of your home by several degrees, making your air conditioner work much less to help you stay cool in Florida.
Set the Temperature Strategically
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it’s still worth mentioning: always remember to regulate your thermostat based on your needs – especially in the summer. On warm days, keep your thermostat higher while you’re at work or out of the house. For instance: on a 90 degree day, setting your thermostat to 78 degrees will still require that your air conditioner put in some work, but it’ll be much less of a strain than if you were to set it to 68. Setting your thermostat to a higher temperature when you’re not home is an easy, low-stakes way to use less electricity.